Lindsey Holland's Blog
Welcome to My Blog!
In this first post, I’ll talk about the rocky path that’s led me here, my hopes for the blog—I hope you’ll come along for the ride!—and my connections to both poetry and photography. You’ll also find news about my semi-regular blog ‘The Poet’s Photo’, which will feature a different poet each time.
This website is long overdue. I delayed because I’m too often a perfectionist (although I’m sure there will still be glitches), because I wanted to have striking news to share from day one but the timing was never quite right, and because I wanted a clearer vision. I now have the vision but… well, for the rest of it my hope is that you’ll join me from this beginning. There’s a subscription form at the top left of this page (or at the bottom on tablets/mobiles) for you to receive The Poet’s Photo straight to your email, and I’m really hoping that you’ll feel drawn to it.
My creative work
I’ve been writing and editing for years but, as many of you may know, this doesn’t necessarily mean much, even though I’ve had some successes.
I miss photography. I was three when I first took a photograph—it was surprisingly well composed!—and seven when I first won a photography award, a commendation in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
More recently, I was also a professional photographer for several years, running my own business first alone and latterly with my ex-husband. I won’t go into the details but the photography became impossible when he sold all of my equipment and walked out.
My blog: The Poet’s Photo
Poetry—both the work of a poet and the act of writing—is for me closely linked to photography. Obviously both poets and photographers work with images, but there’s more to the connection.
My blog will explore this connection in the semi-regular feature ‘The Poet’s Photo’. Each poet will tell us about a photo they’ve taken and how it relates to their current thoughts about writing. I’ll also post my own recent photo and accompanying thoughts about writing. The first of these will appear very soon!
I feel a deep need to document through both photographs and words. The part of me who wants to record, who views moments as precious and sees what is resonant among what is not, that part is the same whether I’m wearing my Poet or Photographer hat. I hope that the coming months and years will see me exploring this far more than I’ve been able to until now. It hasn’t always been easy for me to see this future as a possibility.
The rocky path
In 2017, I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type III (hypermobile type) and at that time I was unable to chew food or walk unaided. EDS is a lifelong illness affecting connective tissues—ligaments, tendons, skin— which are too stretchy. This causes dislocations and frequent subluxations (partial dislocations), muscle strain, fatigue and pain. In my case, my jaw, neck, shoulders, knees and ankles are particularly unstable.
The diagnosis explained a lot but I was terrified: of being unable to travel, unable to work doing the things I love, unable to do simple things like go to the cinema because I had to kick my legs every few minutes and couldn’t sit in the chairs without subluxations. It made me realise that many people can’t do the things they love, and just how hard that can be to accept. I realised that I’m lucky.
I’m lucky because although my illness set me back by a couple of years, I was able to get it under control through a lot of hard work at the gym. I’m now fitter than I’ve been in years but this level of exercise is something I have to sustain forever because it’s not my joints or tendons but my muscles that hold me together.
You may see photos of me at a rather odd-looking set-up which I call my bike-desk. It is simply a cheap exercise bike with a keyboard shelf and mouse rest slotted through the handlebars, and an adjustable-height desk. On hot days, I move it outside and work through the window! I work whilst cycling (I’m typing this whilst cycling) not only to prevent my illness spiralling out of control but because it hurts me a LOT less if I am moving.
So this is where I am now: strong, and believing that although writing curled-up for hours may not be smart for me, although some camera lenses might too heavy to carry along the Inca Trail, and although long train trips may sometimes be painful, if I work hard I can still do the things I dream of doing.
At my worst points, I often thought of the pilot Douglas Bader with his two metal legs, determined that he would not only walk again but also fly. I insisted that I would walk unaided, without my two walking poles. I would run. We have a long way to go in terms of the support offered to people with disabilities but the internal battle is the greatest of them all. We each fight it in the only ways we can.
But this is not, and will not become, a blog about poor health or about struggling in the face of disability. I think such blogs can be very beneficial, but for me personally, the thing that got me through was an absolute refusal to give in or to grant the illness mental space.
What I want is to document people, places and wildlife, in words and photographs. I want to travel to do this. I want to meet EVERYONE EVERYWHERE. Do you feel this way too? I imagine you may.
Photography is an addiction for me. If I go on holiday and have a good camera with me, everything becomes secondary to the photographs. I will ignore people without meaning to. Sometimes, for the sake of my family and friends, I have to be disciplined and leave the camera behind.
Another concession I made was to embrace phone photographs. As such, many of the photos you’ll see in this blog will be from my phone, even after I start using a professional camera again. I love the ease and simplicity of phone photography. It forces the perfectionist in me onto the back seat.
My hope for the coming months and years is that I’ll be involved in cross-platform projects. I’ve organised, led or been involved with various projects over the years—there’s information about a few of them on my ‘Projects and News’, ‘Lindsey’s other work’ and ‘About Lindsey’ pages. I continue to edit and design The Compass which keeps me pretty busy, and I have ideas for further developing it in the future. But I also hope to create my own new work and to organise exciting cross-artform projects which I’ll write about here.
You may have seen that my Instagram and Twitter are quite active. In particular, I post about my reading of poetry. I try to read something every morning and manage this most weekdays. It helps to keep things in perspective and I recommend it!
While I’ve been working on this website, my writing has been largely on hold, so I’ll be glad to start writing poems again! I won a Northern Writers Award last year (2018) and am finalising my manuscript; I have a lot of poems that are ‘complete’, even as new ones continue to grow in me. My manuscript includes mostly poems about relationships and people—it’s quite confessional, particularly the newest poems, because I forced myself to be direct and honest, pushing the boundaries of my own comfort. There are also some poems about photography. You can read a few of the poems on my Poetry page and I’ll post more about them there, and on this blog, when I have news.
Most of my blog posts will not be as long as this one. You can look forward to hearing from lots of other poets in future, in The Poet’s Photo!
If you enjoy it, please do subscribe, share, or get in touch with me if you’d like to talk about poetry, photography, or your thoughts about my posts.
Thanks for reading 🙂