So I had a week to record and send an acceptance speech and there was only one sunny day forecast, so Grace and I headed up to the Ramp, at Sea Walls, Avon Gorge, Bristol to be with the rocks and share my thanks. There’s quite a lot of traffic noise, and a fair amount of mud. But the views! Brunel’s Suspension Bridge! The gorgeous limestone!
Watching this ceremony I was pretty staggered by the immense staging. It kind of sunk in how tremendous it is for the book to get this award. A lovely introduction by Heather Dawe, and fabulous words from the sponsors at Mountain Life: “…it’s our intention to keep supporting creatives doing adventures, like Sarah-Jane Dobner. And ones brave enough to enter the ring of sweat, blood and toil to bring their vision to our lives. Thank you for doing what you do”.
Very honoured that my poem ‘Hands’ (p.236 in A Feeling for Rock!) was the winning Adventure Poem at Shextreme Film Festival 2021. Here I am reading the poem! The Festival, a “cinematic celebration of women in extreme sports and adventure”, was held last Saturday at the Arnolfini, Bristol, and was a total joy. Thank you especially to the brilliant Dr Ruth Farrar for organising it, and to the marvellous women who chatted to me afterwards and cut the Feeling Cards for a free book – out of 7 players, 3 chose DEVOTION and 2 chose LOVE. There is a 1/57 probability each time you cut the cards.
Head West, always. As the Joad family in Grapes of Wrath or Otis in Dock of the Bay. Adventurers, pioneers and runaways. The dreamers and desperate. Years ago, hitch-hiking the deserts, flagged a ride with New Jersey kids jumping bail. Headed to California. Drive West. Leaving Llanberis, light rain closing in on the windscreen, peppering the glass. Not forecast. But there it is. Nature of the mountains. Keep driving. Roundabouts. A bridge, squat and self-promoting. Irksome to the island, one would think. Centuries of the Menai Straits thwarting casual visitors and conquerors. Drive over. Look at the state of the tide. You’ve checked online. But seeing it, the mud or gleaming water, confirms the iPhone’s information. Drive on. Through the town. Beyond all conurbations. Beyond fields and into heathland. Sea beyond the passenger seat. Sea ahead. Only sea, and the end of the track where the road runs out. The Western edge of Wales. Crumpled cliffs, high cliffs, red cliffs, yellow cliffs, mud cliffs, crystal cliffs, lichen cliffs, loose cliffs, clean cliffs. It’s all there. You can reinvent yourself, out West. Be whoever you like. Be who you are. Start again, each time, and hope for better results.
It was an honour to model the Cape of Clouds, a community project gathering embroidered clouds made by women across the globe. Shaman, Trickster, Warlady? Thank you, Louise Gardiner, http://lougardiner.co.uk/projects/stitchACloud/stitch-a-cloud.php.
The Salty Dance Floor got a Highly Commended! Sat next to Sandro at SHAFF and it was fun and everyone was friendly and the panel was great. As is this ace quote from Niall Grimes, one of the three judges:
“I love it when people try to do something different. What made The Salty Dance Floor stand out for me was its attempt to express an emotion that I have felt as a climber…and it used the medium of film to not try to explain or verbalise this feeling, but to put the feeling across. What was the film saying? I have no idea, but I understood it”.
So I’m a quarter of my way through the Masters, based in Linköping, Sweden, in Gender Studies, Intersectionality and Change; am just starting to make some short films; wrote 4 poetry collections in 2016, three like EPs, one like an album; my new year’s resolution is to tell people about them; especially you Alan, who upbraided me for my lack of communication at the climber’s party in the Miner’s Arms. Happy 2017!