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Annie Kissack

Annie Kissack's #MyBiosphere

In a regular feature in Manx Life, published by Mannin Media, authors from different walks of life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Annie Kissack writes:

I was born and raised on the Isle of Man and I do feel fortunate to have this place as my home.

The Island has always inspired me creatively. Its colours, texture, and moods are forever changing. Although it is small, you could spend a lifetime here and never see everything, never find out everything.

Over a hedge is another world. You need to be prepared to look carefully, of course; to be sensitive to atmosphere, to people and to story, and to invest some of yourself in the place and you will be rewarded.

I have many favourite places and it often depends on the time of day and the season and also the associations they hold. 

The scenery around the cliff tops at Groudle on a summer day, the long Viking-tinged perspectives beaches and skies of Jurby and the Ayres, the surprising flowering lanes of Maughold in the late spring are just a few.

To me, scenery is never just scenery, though, no matter how attractive. It carries with it, in it and on it the stories of the people who lived here before us.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of Manx National Heritage, Culture Vannin and many other individuals and groups, it is easier than ever to find out about our history, culture and heritage.

I teach at the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh, the Manx language primary school in St John’s; a school that grew out of a grass roots realisation that we have our own language that must be both preserved and developed for future generations.

Every day at the school, staff and children use the old language in new, creative ways. When I was young, I couldn’t imagine that such a thing would be possible, let alone successful, or that I might be privileged enough to play some part in this. Yet it happened. It is a school unique in the world and I’m very proud of it.

What I really like about living here is that you can be yourself and there’s nothing to stop you pursuing the things that you want to do and might be good at.

For me, that has meant that I’ve been able to follow up my interests in writing and arranging music and, more recently, poetry.

I was thrilled to become the fifth Manx Bard last year and the position has involved performing my own work at all sorts of venues great and small. People have been very receptive and encouraging.

There is a palpable air of confidence running through the Manx cultural communities at the moment. Many people are involved in playing music of all sorts, in creating art, drama, poetry and the sort of things that make life interesting. If you wished, you could go out to original and quality performances in all of the arts most evenings.

So this is my Isle of Man: a vibrant community with a fascinating history set in a beautiful, varied landscape. I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

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