Words dance in my head, occasionally assembling themselves into momentary coherences, only to scatter when I sit and open the laptop to write. Can I call myself a writer with such little commitment to giving the words time to properly coalesce on a page? As for poetry, not one stanza has made it onto a page since… before lockdown. The poetry is there, in my head. I can almost see it, hiding somewhere up behind my right temple (the place where poetry hides)
It’s not that I don’t write. I regularly submit 3000 words of carefully referenced Theological argument to generous tutors who confirm that, yes, I am really quite good at this. But, there are only so many hours of staring at a screen and moving sentences around and inserting footnotes that one can do. When there are dogs to be walked and dinners to be eaten, and even a job to go to, the time and the energy left are more often given to Netflix and wine and remembering to cut my toenails, than to the business of creativity.
Like many of us, I am exhausted. These past two years have been deeply challenging, in so many ways. For everyone. Last year was probably the hardest working year of my life, and it changed me. It changed everything, in ways that I am only now beginning to recognise and integrate. At some point, I developed a weary, cynical, and radical loss of patience for things that don’t matter.
The things that don’t matter are numerous. Of course, this is utterly and wholeheartedly subjective. What matters is what matters, I suppose. I think what I am saying, is that maybe I got it into my world-worn head and heart that writing half-arsed poetry, and blogs that nobody reads (Or any of the other ways that creativity is expressed) don’t matter. That all of … this… is a distraction from what is really important.
I’m wrong, of course. I want to be wrong.
But I am also right. Because there are things that don’t matter. Facebook… Shopping… Opinions… 🎶‘These are a few of my (least) favourite things’ 🎶
What happened was that my gaining of perspective took on a skewed, hard-edged startle, before a more integrated settling of the dust. It had the shape – but not quite – of disillusionment. I have come to ground in words once again, and in the process, some things – things that I once thought mattered – have gone.
And among the things that have gone – for reasons I do and do not understand – are some people. Two beloved animals. As I have found myself professionally navigating the themes of death, and loss, and grief, my own losses are inevitable, necessary punctuation. It isn’t something any of us get away with.
Yes, some things have gone. Some things have deepened. Some have softened.
I have softened, into a much deeper well of grace and compassion. I am reminded here, of a song I used to play (A LOT) I haven’t played it for some time, but as I write this, it is asking to be played, and quoted here.
To give my life beyond each death
From a deeper well of trust
To know that when there's nothing left
You will always have what you gave to love
From 'Deeper Still' by Beth Nielsen Chapman and David Wilcox
All photos from Pixabay