"... the acceptance we all had for everything.."
Poet Ana Špehar writes about Wild Ones Conference 2023
Tune in to Wild Ones Conference Podcast
“ As long as we are doing something to help one person in this world- we are doing enough!” – Leen Jamal Maarouf“I hope we can create society that understands and sees people for who they are.”- Fionnuala O’Connell
After the most interesting discussion we were divided into 4 groups and were asked to make a manifesto. Prompt was a quote from the book “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Working in smaller groups made possible for us to get to know each other and it was such an amazing activity that unleashed creative flow in the room.
The group that I was in, four of us, discussed the need and willingness, or unwillingness, to adapt. It was very interesting to see that in the end the four of us, who at the start all had different opinions, managed to agree and make a manifesto that we all feel comfortable with. In other words- we all adapted! It was an amazing exercise.
Just before the second session of the conference, we were blessed to have an opportunity to enjoy beautiful and spiritual music by Arundhathi Krishnan who is a Carnatic musician. She sang three songs, with the sounds of an instrument called tanpura, originating from the south of India. All song were written by men and they are about women- Goddesses! The sound of Arundhathi’s voice filled the room with the language that almost none of the participants speak but it seemed as we all understood, or at least we all had our own understanding and interpretation of the songs. It was such a great way to unwind a bit, relax, and just breathe to the sound of music. In one word- it was magical!
“What do you think which conversation is needed today?”
In the second session the speakers were Kel Menton and Margaret O’Regan. They shortly introduced themselves- Kel is a non-binary person who is a poet, they don’t speak much but let their voice be heard through their words. Margaret is a political activist for most of her life and a poet. The theme of the second session was My Rebellion, and the speakers talked about connection between rebellion and anger and the way to deal with the anger.
They gave us examples of how different rebellions can be and how we all have our own personal rebellion. They spoke about their struggles growing up and the ways they started and formed their rebellions. The speakers spoke about their plans for the future and Margaret said that she knows nothing will change in her future, she will remain a political activist and continue to have fun. Kel said that they hope they will be where Margaret is in the future. They both agreed there is no end to a fight for a better life and for their ideals.
At the end of the second session we were given another group activity. This time we got to choose a question that we would like to give an answer to and we were placed with other people who wanted to answer the same question. After some time, we switched. It was such an interesting activity and once again it gave us a chance to connect on a deeper level as we all gave answers based on our own personal experiences and beliefs.
Margaret said that she knows nothing will change in her future, she will remain a political activist and continue to have fun. Kel said that they hope they will be where Margaret is in the future.
… (in the 2nd session) the speakers talked about connection between rebellion and anger and the way to deal with the anger.
At the end of the conference we all sat in a circle and answered two questions: “What excites you?” and “What frustrates you?”. After that we sat in silence for a while, which was much needed after a day of conversations and brainstorming.
At the end we were asked what word are we taking from today and the answers were so very different: gratitude, love, sex-at-73, smiles, consideration, understanding…
At the start of the conference we were a room full of people who never meet, or vaguely knew each other. At the end we all felt connected and I am sure new friendships were born.
One of the participants, Shantie, from the 2nd session shared these thoughts about Wild Ones Conference:
“It was a very nice group for the afternoon session. I was a little late but didn’t feel left out at all. What I loved the most was the acceptance we all had for everything. Some women got very emotional towards the end, during circle time, and it was very powerful to experience that Jo (curator of Wild Ones conference & founder of Good, Day Cork) had created a space for them to share and allow themselves to be vulnerable, in front of strangers.”
What I loved the most was the acceptance we all had for everything. – Shantie
“I would say it was a healing space, spiritual and very therapeutic. There was a vibration you sometimes feel at church, temple or in a religious ceremony. It was beautiful. I feel truly nourished. I know that’s an overused word but the feeling is just that!”
About Ana Špehar
Ana edited a special edition zine for Wild Ones Conference. You can enjoy it online.
Ana Spehar is a poet from Croatia, living in Cork for last 8 years. Her work was published in A New Ulster, Boyne Berries, Solstice sounds, Good Day Cork and poetry anthologies “A Journey Called Home” and “Cork Words”. She read her work at the Cork City Library for the World Book Festival 2018, Winter Warmer poetry festival in Cork and at Many Tongues of Cork. She curated a poetry video for the Culture Nights 2021 for the Cork City Library, and is writing for the Cork City Library blog. Most of her poetry is either love-themed or with the theme of Ireland as she finds both to be endless inspirations.