Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts – Guest Post by Felicity Sidnell Reid…


Have I mentioned the Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts that we are planning to put on October 24-26, 2019?

I am chairing the Festival Committee and we are pleased that our programme is set and that we are now negotiating with artists of all kinds, whom we have invited to participate.

Of course there is still an enormous amount of work to do on the dramatic and musical events, our multi-media show, the anthology, the art show and all the other activities we have programmed for that weekend.

And of course we have to publicise and stir up excitement about the Festival, so this year we decided to set up a festival blog, taking people behind the scenes and letting them into some of the madness and fun of turning ideas into actual events.

The blog has been designed by Lauren Reyes Grange and administered by Cynthia Reyes, author of the Myrtle the Purple Turtle books. Lauren is a digital strategist and also co-author of the latest Myrtle the Purple Turtle book.

We hope it will amuse and be of interest to readers from across the world (we have a couple of followers from South Africa and several from the UK already) and also alert our nearer communities to what is going on and encourage them to come and see all the free stuff and also buy tickets for our performances!

The address for the Spirit of the Hills Festival Blog is: https://spiritofthehills.wordpress.com

The short piece below is a contribution I made recently. I hope you enjoy it and visit our blog.

My interview with Nosy Newshound, C R.

I’d like to get into your head, she said, only for about 520 words. Nothing to worry about.

What? I thought, as my brain cells cringed and trembled. My head is already filled with some mixture of mush and fluff. Now someone wants to take a closer look. I don’t know whether my calm persona will withstand the scrutiny.

I’ll just ask you a few easy questions she continued pulling out a notebook (a notebook?!) from her pocket. I’m the one who writes the notes—that way at least I know what I’m supposed to be doing.

You chair the festival planning committee. How do you hold all the pieces and people together?

Yikes, is this one of her easy questions? I really don’t know! I guess I’m just lucky to have a phenomenal committee to work with. We keep the core committee as small as possible and ask the organizers of the various aspects of the festival to come when their events are to be discussed. I’m constantly amazed at the inventiveness and creativity shown at these meetings, which always throw up innovative ideas. Others play a crucial role in analysing the practicality of our plans.

Keeping notes of our discussions and decisions is an essential task, so I have a series of computer files which cover all the separate events we’re planning. Though I’m not the best at keeping files organized (I’ve learned to be really secretive about the contents of my computer) I can manage these better than masses of paper. After the festival, I’ll run off all the minutes and correspondence and put them into a nice fat binder, in case someone is mad enough to put on another festival.

NO! NO! I don’t mean it. The NN, when she doesn’t like an answer, has a terrifying way of shifting in her seat and growling. And of course she’s right. I love chairing the committee and seeing the festival slowly come together and naturally I hope we’ll organize a third.

Do you, she enquires severely, have little tricks and tips to keep yourself sane? Better not sound too flippant. I’ve always suspected she thought I was a bit off the wall. Well, I don’t have post-it notes all over my house because it’s messy enough already, I’d never find the right bit of paper when I needed it.

I summon up a nervous smile. I play Lexulous with my daughter, which requires concentration, and lessens my stress.


But then I can’t help but confess: it’s my animals who keep me sane. Danny and Lucy are so patient, sitting beside me, snoozing off and on, while I tap away at the computer. Even though they like a little more fun—a walk in the park or a cuddle is more to their taste, they are always ready to share affection and give me uncritical love. And there’s always the garden.

The Nosy Newshound looks at me over her glasses, sniffs, then, smiles. Where would we be without our pets, she asks and lets me off her hook.

Felicity Sidnell Reid

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