Audio-Visual Collective. 100 Words of Solitude

100 Words of Solitude Podcast & Readings

As 100 Words of Solitude continues the online project, we jointly host the 100 Words of Solitude Contributors’ Audio-Visual Collective here on Rare Swan Press. Just as the contributors celebrate receiving their copies in Cover Stories, here you can sit back and enjoy either audio recordings or video clips of the voices from across the globe, as you’ll read in both the Hardcover and Softcover Editions.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Rare Swan Press collaborated with ALTERNATIVE STORIES & FAKE REALITIES PODCAST to bring something of the collection to life. In this special broadcast, voices from across the globe share their experience of solitude and isolation and the curators and editors of this remarkable online project, Philippa and Simon Holloway share some of the background and inspiration for the project and the book.

featuring Brumation, written and read by Hannah Ingeborg

Attracta Fahy (Co.Galway, Ireland)

“For Robbie Brown New York

It was Saturday when he passed, eight days after he tested positive, fighting cancer, he intuitively knew this would mean death. We spoke Tuesday.’I’m almost done here, he said,’I’m ready to roll, grateful for our friendship, our time, we did many lovely things. Slipping between worlds, he sent two cocktail glass emojis, twenty x’s. Later, I had an insight, text my son to play Green Tara Mantra – minutes he flew. On Sunday, I walked to Lough Corral, watched wintering swans prepare for their long flight, home, feet skimming water,wings whooping through the air, flying high

Daniel Andrade Amaral (Massachusetts, USA)

“May Hail”

It’s May in Massachusetts and it’s hailing out with the sun. Pellets blitz me. Those hitting the pavement roll along sweeps of wind. This should surprise, but last week too, a cloud relieved itself on an unsuspecting black, back where my grandfather lived, back when he was alive and I’d deliver him groceries.

At my seance, his cough clears. Unmasked I tell him little has changed since his Weather Underground days. I propose left-right theory on separation. Surrealists unleashing the unconscious versus Solipsists confining it. He sighs and admits the cold war has become much, much colder.

Christina Parisi (New York, USA)

“People Watching in the Age of Self- Isolation”

I watch the waif-like preteen exit her parent’s two-story brownstone; face glued to her phone. No mask. She fails to notice the door doesn’t click shut.

I watch her bounce down the stairs that empty onto a leaf-filled sidewalk, heading toward the deli.

I watch her bump into a face-masked senior citizen using a walker, not taking her eyes off the phone.

“Excuse you,” she says, under her breath, nothing but a blur to the elderly man trying to regain his bearings.

I watch as she trips over a curb and goes down: Headfirst. Screen shattering in her face.

Shannon Kenny (Durban, South Africa)

“Deadlines & Cuddles”

“Oh, Mum, is this work really that important? It’s like we’re here but we’re not together.” 

She crawls into my lap and I place one arm around her while the other is still wearily poised to continue with my pressing assignment, elbow on the desk, wrist raised, fingertips tapping the keyboard. 

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be,” she opines. 

“If I get this work done, I get paid,” I say.

“But money isn’t more important than love, Mum.”

I agree, remove my hand from the keyboard and snuggle in close, taking in the fragrance of her freshly washed hair.

Brian Kirk ( Dublin, Ireland)


Kids almost grown but the house more crowded than ever. I’m clearing out the room downstairs, full of accumulated junk, half-forgotten remnants of a life, tokens, totems, of another person’s life. I come across all these pages, some typed, some handwritten, that I can’t remember writing and among them I find the stories that you wrote, typed on the sad Underwood with the sticky ribbon, and on the back of one, a poem I wrote, about you sleeping, when we knew or cared nothing about futures, in the flat in Canning Town, after a night of drinking in The Scud.

Oz Hardwick (York, England)

“Everything is Connected” after Peter Liversidge

When I consider (alles is verbonden) the distance (tá gach rud nasctha) between inside and outside (todo está conectado), I think (kaikki on yhteydessä toisiinsa) perhaps (mae popeth yn gysylltiedig) that although (tha a h-uile dad ceangailte) there are borders and guards (he hononga nga mea katoa) on all sides (tutto è connesso), every word (tout est connecté), whether understood or not (hand allt hänger ihop), is a passport (alt er forbundet) and (alles ist verbunden) there are dazzling ships (bсе связано) disembarking (allt er tengt) with each (wszystko jest połączone) nod (sve je povezano) of a passing stranger’s head.

Tony Osgood ( Kent, England)

“Barrier Nursing”

Through clear glass: love. Between machines And you, love, Lies A hard-tossed glimpse Of soft skin disappearing, And ball-shaped hope Thrown over a garden fence Then taken in by neighbours. Sad-eye masks. Green-gowned. Shake heads, Say, sit: This is Ventilated goodbye, An unkind farewell, Not love as you might name it. Through clear eyes: love. We wade Paused-time soil And marshland, Over a drowning bridge Toward sad summer. Among absent crowds At shore, on street I see you waiting In an endless queue, Alive with clean-eyed patience. After this Holding of breath We’ll breathe easy, Knowing Life support

Is touch.

R.J. Kinnarney (Buckinghamshire, England)

“Lenses & Laughter”

I look into her eyes. This student I’ve worked with for four years now and yet, I’ve never looked into her eyes. I’ve always sat next to her before. It’s less confrontational, more inclusive, closer. But now I’m looking through lenses. The lens of the webcam, the lens of her glasses, the lens of a frightening, uncertain world.

She’s not smiling. Not a trace of a laugh. We’ve always laughed before. Even when she was at her most stressed and the exam was imminent, we could find something to laugh about.

The exam stress has gone. The laughter has gone.

For more from our Audio-Visual Archive

Video & Audio Readings from Stories from the eyes of an owl Ekphrastic Competition finalists 2021

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