2.11a.m


Its 2am. Later

But what do I care – when did I ever care about Time, Constraints, Schedules, Must-be-there’s, Have-tos, – but I am thrilled its 2am – gone – and I am finally WRITING again.

Because I DID it you know?

I finished the NaNoWriMo with an almighty final push that nowhere near equals giving birth – sorry ladies – and actually finished around this same time on the final deadline date of 30th November. And then I slept at last….and slept…and slept.

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The following day I had booked into a Writers Retreat on the island and intended to start editing this pile of sludge I had manifested from my weary mind. No way. I cancelled that and all other plans the entire weekend, and slept.

I didn’t write a thing. I didnt even look at it. I couldn’t .

It was akin to some mad passionate fling you may have, all obsessive, all consuming and yet finally, spent and weary you realise you cannot continue in this mad unrelenting vein!

November has been a blur. Starting NaNo holed up at my friends where he kindly proffered much tea and snacks, if not much sympathy! – I then retreated to my island haven and spent the final 19 days of the month completely immersed in my plotting, my weaving, my tapestry.  I lived it, ate it, breathed it. Even the poor dog was tired of me hunched over my laptop day and night only pausing to finally walk her and myself, or to reluctantly throw some food together. It was sheer total indulgence but it worked! Some days I wrote nothing – but still mused and thought lots, planning in my mind as I walked over the fields and in the woods near the cottage. Each day I updated both Instagram and the NaNo planner online for word count and running total, sometimes checking in with other Southampton writers, even joining in the odd sprint prompted by the teams mentor or on NaNo Twitter feed. Those sprints kinda saved me!!

Everyday too my outer world slipped by unnoticed. Bills and post piled up as did dirty cups from continual caffiene fixes, but still I wrote on. I would break up the day as it headed into night – I think, who knew? – by lighting a real fire in the grate and using it as futher inspiration as I gazed deep into its flickering life, and traced the splintered sparks fizzling into the chimney with sporadic outbursts. Who knew how many hours passed by. Who cared.

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Years and years I had dreamt of  having this luxury. I had seen myself, invariably alone, in my rose adorned cottage by the sea. Writing.

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If you can manifest your total dream – your Heart’s Calling – into reality then I have done so. Oh, it was not at all simple. Yet it always felt inevitable, if not imminent.  It took years.

Years of study, travel, heartache, family, relationships, bringing up children mostly alone, studying again, teaching, travelling, constantly moving but always, always that one constant throughout it all. My Writing.

Cliched. My Love. My Passion.

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Yes I make a living at it too. I teach writing skills, I persuade others to love Literature with the same zealous abandonment I always have, I even entice some over to the joys of poetry. I help them prepare for and pass exams. Sit through endless group and 1:1 tutorials; I help novice teachers find their feet, gain their certs and head off into the wide blue yonder of modern teaching. I loiter on Skype, and Webex, and Zoom trawling through online lessons but always conscious of my main purpose behind it all.

MY Writing.

My dream, long held, lovingly nurtured, and often rescued from the depths, dusted off and resurrected to its original pedestal.  To be away at last, isolated, indulgent, wake up when I want, write for as long and as late – or early – as I want. No demanding kids – although I adore you all and do not regret a minute – no more demanding husband 🙂 urging me to turn out the light, to stop rustling papers, to put down the book. No noisy street below or bellowing neighbours each side. No school runs, no pick ups, no teacher meetings or report days, no football matches to attend, ballet to watch, knees to patch up, tears to dry, faces to scrub.

No nothing . A nothingness. Which sounds a little sad but that is Nostalgia. I have travelled his beguiling path before and where does it take me? straight back to the Present. The Here and Now. Where I am.

The time I always longed for while I was still ostensibly living my life has somehow finally arrived. The coast. The Cottage. The Roses. The Writer.

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Let’s see if I can do her justice somehow at last.

I owe it to her

I owe it to Myself.

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Associative Memory Syndrome


Is that a real term? label? condition?

Or did I just coin it myself at almost 4a.m on a frozen, snow-blasted morning –  somewhere betwixt the witching hour and dawn?

I just went to sup some water – too cold to brave downstairs in the scullery as it would have been back in the Victorian hey day of this cottage – brrrr! – and my modern day scullery has heating! I found myself cupping my hands under the cold water tap in the bathroom.

Suddenly, I am back in the ’70’s – with the senior sister’s skirts swishing ominously past as my playmates and I spend that little bit too long at the cute little washbasins after using the toilets at break.

“Class!” she barks. “Now!”

We scuttle by, hastily rolling down shirt sleeves and surreptiously avoiding her keen eye.

Except me.

I never avoided her eye.  As my paternal grandmother often said in her dulcet Irish brogue – ” You’re a bold, bold girl – so you are!”

Yet in that formidable senior sister, who most cowered and hid from, I saw something far softer.  I never forgot her. As a simple trip to the bathroom to drink from my hands proves.

She inspired me.

She took me seriously. In a home where my passion for writing was highly ignored and even scoffed at, my random musings dismissed by my mother as mere scribblings of a half wit, to go to the school with such offerings and have them applauded and praised was pure balm.

Somehow, too, with the Mother Petronella’s sanctimonious blessing they seemed to matter more to The Adoptive Mother too.

So is associative memory syndrome real? Our brain never ceases to amaze me – its breadth, depth and capacity to harbour such long-anchored moments, to glimpse in an instant that scuffed corridor of Our Lady & St. Hughes, to audibly recognise Mother Petronella’s fearful swishing approach!

 

 

Yet without AMS where would we be as writers?

Nostalgia is my main tool, and adds poignancy to memory – even if, as suspected, memory is somewhat rose-tinged, polly-fillered over the cracks of Time, and loosened of its grip in that very present back then.

Sound, Touch, Smell, Taste, Sight – eternal olfactories – unending Muses.

 

 

Wow…one whole year on! Nameless, blogless, many!! #procrastination


Should I be ashamed of my absence here?

Has it even been clocked? Unlikely.

My excuse is rather salubrious – I have been living, working, dreaming, travelling … and spending time with a new family addition!

So, although I may have denied myself the escapism of  solitary penned outbursts, I can at least say the last year has been somewhat decadent, somewhat crazy, but forever interesting and valuable.

If such indulgence adds to my offerings then all the better. One lives in hope!

Each time I returned home however, my redundant laptop stared balefully at me from its far flung corner of what should by now have manifested into The Office in this not so new {now}  abode of mine.  One great excuse lent itself to the fact that the charger had usefully gone walkabout…  Another that I was ‘just too busy’ – familiar? That earning a living doing my vocation took precedence now over doing my dream as a living.That I had such long ‘to do’ lists they took priority…even when they lay in tatters or failed attempts to tick them off left me in shreds of pointless frustration…..and the house, the garden, the lists, took on a jaded ‘we told you so’ look of their very own. Not unlike my treasured companion – the laptop.

Ok, Ok, Ill just get Christmas out of the way, the pesky thing, and then writing shall resume. Yet like my endless lists, my excuses raged on.  I feebly consoled myself with my enthusiastic signing up to a local writing club – well, not so local, therefore only a few out of the 9 months meetings since joining last year have actually been attended. I then kid myself that I do keep up to date on events on the linked website. Perhaps my guilt at not writing – and my confession to it – at the last meeting solidified as I heard account after account from other successful published writers.  Most were either on their second or third novel…even newbies finishing manuscripts in record time and being offered all kinds of tempting deals. I slouched, rather than walked out later, more mortified than inspired…

Guilt and his capital G  then hung above me across September and well into autumn  – another family death following hot on its accusatory heels. No, definitely not another excuse of course, but Death and I have never been fond bedfellows. So even though he gracefully returned Insomnia to me which had only just left me from the ravages of the last loss, I was – and am not – overly impressed. Particularly as this time Insomnia did not bring the gift of Inspiration with him and aid me in waxing lyrical well into the desperate jaws of Dawn.

If you could even be bothered, and why on earth would you? you would see from my entries here that Eagerness canters in around Jan/Feb of most new years, only to gallop out again by the first blooms of spring! Ironically, my most prolific period was in the month before and directly after losing my wonderful father…good old Grief with his double-edged scythe.

Yet if Death of the physcial body and its aftermath of Woe and silent, sacrificial Sorrow can oddly inspire, then why would I use my writing at that point as a familiar escapism? I welcomed it as a confident, compassionate crutch to escape true Pain and her cutting incisions… so why not now?

Am I the only writer here who feels a knawing emptiness when writing is bereft, when words are hemmed in our mind behind mental barriers that we alone refuse to break?

This is NOT writers block. No. This is almost like a ‘losing’ of oneself. An indescribable urge to break free from the restraints we self impose on our cathartic needs. Almost a resentment at having to blind Creativity with our myriad, pathetic excuses.

If, for me, it equates with other losses in Life itself I am not entirely sure. I do know that the gain, the utter release I feel when Freedom strides on in again and mentally acknowledges its time to release Angst again; to pour those miserably chained consonants, those vexed vowels, onto the waiting, expectant page;  – I know for certain that no amount of counselling or ‘much needed time out’ could ever compensate for this.

 

Writing is my Salve.

The laptop is feeling quite good too. It even got a dust off.

The Office & its own brand of Guilt can wait till tomorrow though…..

 

Watch this space Folks! 🙂censorship-limitations-freedom-of-expression-restricted-39584.jpeg