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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, December 12, 2003
    Permission to be inspired
    Reading the latest Coracle today, a tiny phrase sprung out at me, nearly knocked my specs off. A simple line from the contributors biographies page: "Rosie Miles stayed on Iona in 1999 and has been writing ever since."

    It hit me because I remember that time on Iona in 1999. I was there too; spent it with Rosie and many others I'd never met before, shared that epiphany with her, shared her delight as all of a sudden words began to flow from her heart to her pen, to the page, to performance... too profound.

    It was a creative week for me, as well. I wrote a satire that week, on the church's double-standards in the way it discusses sexuality. And if I remember this correctly Rosie was one of those who brought my sketch to life, acting it out at a typical Iona amateur nite concert. Someone has a photo of our group rehearsing in the only 'private' space we could find in a Macleod Centre buzzing with creative activity - huddled in the downstairs bathroom.

    Rosie really did get the muse - her published work is consistently good (I included Godawful Bits in a blog last year). The bio goes on to say that "as well as on occasions trying to write in ways that hold the churches to account for how they treat lesbian and gay people she also has written blessings for cats and graces for mosquitoes."

    The Iona Community's centres do that to people, somehow, connecting them to the muse, making the island a place of inspiration for many who visit. It's part of the Iona Community's mission to find new ways to touch the hearts of all. Perhaps because of that, people there feel they have permission to be inspired. You don't get that in a lot of places. It's one big reason why I'll be signing up for membership for another year using the 'With Us?' card which also arrived today.