‘Voice’ launch

August 2, 2021 at 8:29 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

In the heart of Brussels in the Canal of Wolves

Wolvengracht

Rue du Fossé aux Loups

The box landed on my doorstep in time for Imbolc, the Witchcraft festival marking the end of winter and the approach of spring. I knew what it was straight away. I set the box on my altar, not knowing what to do with it, and the flurry of emotion that had landed with it.

It didn’t last long.

There are few finer experiences than opening a box of your own books for the first time.

‘Writer Rijn Collins’ VOICE is a moving, honest and, at times, darkly humorous three-part memoir. She knocks on the doors to belonging, identity and love through the power of language and her innate desire to understand both herself and others. Drawing on Rijn’s linguistic background in Flemish, Irish and Icelandic, VOICE is both a curious tour of foreign places and words as well as a triumphant journey to the heart and light.’

‘Voice’ (Somekind Press)

Travel seems long ago and far away thanks to Covid, which is why I absolutely loved writing about my time with these lands and their languages. But what I loved most – what I’ll always love – is writing about Brussels.

I lived there for a year in my teens, and for nine months in my thirties. Deciding what to include in the Flemish chapter of my memoir was so much more challenging than the Irish and Icelandic sections, though I love both those languages too. Memories of Brussels keep floating up, and I hope they never stop.

The Witchcraft store where I’d buy amber and myrrh incense wrapped in wax paper, and tiny bells to plait into my long black hair.

The bar on Schildknaapsstraat, Street of the Squires, where at seventeen I met a Swedish backpacker whose recent inheritance was allowing him to travel far and wide across Europe. When he invited me to join him, fully funded, it was a temptation beyond belief. When I eventually and regretfully declined, he tied a bracelet around my wrist to remember him by. Decades later, I still know which box in the garage it’s in, nestled next to a deer skull and antlers, snake skins and velvet dresses.

The library where I found a huge volume of Sylvia Plath’s journals, and painstakingly handwrote whole chapters into a teal notebook, week after week.

The hairdresser where a devastating breakup led me to cut off my waist-length hair, like a myriad of heartbroken women before me. When the owner asked if I’d like to keep the hair, I told him about the relationship. He murmured sympathy and asked ‘Would you like me to stomp on it instead?’ Mais oui, monsieur, oui. He gathered all his staff and to my delight, led them in a wild dance across the studio, grinding my hair into the floorboards.

On my doorstep in Street of the Candlesticks, Brussels

I could go on (and I probably will, somewhere).

Or you could come along to my launch this Sunday in Melbourne and pick up a copy yourself.

When: Sunday 8th August, 3pm-6pm

Where: Sloth bar, 202 Barkly Street, Footscray

If you have an interest in Icelandic spells or feminist punk, linguistics or Goth girls, or just supporting local authors…would love to see you there.

2 Comments

  1. MAC said,

    YAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • inkymouth said,

      Well, it WAS a huge yay…but then Melbourne went back into lockdown 48 hours before the launch.So disappointing. But I have a box of books, a new frock, and the hope that we’ll come out of it soon so I can reschedule. Thanks though, Martin! Hope you’re doing well and keeping safe.

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