Over the past few months of Lockdown I've been spending a lot of time in my home studio, The Barfly (so called as my partner built it for me by dismantling an old wooden bar). Apart from the work I've been recording for my clients in Ireland and abroad, I've been thinking of creative ways I can use it for personal projects, doing some of the things I've longed to do for years but have never quite gotten around to.
So, I'm in the process of recording the audio version of my first novel, The Glass Door, as well as my short stories, among them Compost and The Letter.
But before I begin releasing my books and stories, I thought that what might be most helpful for people just now would be something soothing and escapist. With so much chaos in the air between the pandemic and, now, the campaigns for racial justice across the world, we need it. Necessary as this chaos and protesting is, it is enormously taxing on our nervous systems to be exposed, through traditional and social media - as well as by simply feeling the air around us - to consistent messages of violence, pain, suffering, injustice, cruelty and oppression, and all of us need to take breaks from it to be able to continue to fight, campaign, educate, or vision the brighter, equitable future that will benefit us all, everywhere.
So I have created The Happy Place - a collection of meditative escapes to soothe troubled minds in trying times. Escaping to these 'mind palaces' is a technique I have often used over the years whenever I have felt as though I'm gasping and barely keeping afloat, and I thought they might help others in similar states. They are nature-focused, sensual, escapist and calming, because these are the tools that work for me. I have tried to create soundscapes and imagery with my words, voice and the supporting music and sounds that create beauty and harmony for the listener, and I hope I have managed to achieve this. I am currently selling them on my Etsy shop for the price of a fancy coffee, and 10% of every sale will go towards MASI, the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland.
For more, visit My Happy Place. And I hope you are all taking care of yourselves out there.
RM Clarke is a writer and voice-over artist. She has written for various literary mags and anthologies and won awards. She has put her voice to most things she can think of.