I’m in the relaxed, peaceful surroundings of the Norfolk Broads, on a comfortable enough boat, enjoying calming scenery and invigorating fresh air, and taking advantage of precious early nights.
Except something happens to my inner world when all is calm outside: my creative imagination takes over in my dreams – and not just its benign aspects, either. In fact, I’ve noticed that when all my physical, mental and emotional needs are taken care of during the day, and I’ve got nothing to worry about at all, then all my fears creep out while I’m asleep.
I know I don’t appreciate things until I don’t have them any more – that’s human nature. But boy have I missed a room of my own since embarking on a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads.
Boating on the Broads
Before departing, I had imagined a serene journey along the river network of Norfolk, gliding past wildlife and other friendly ‘sailors’ with their jaunty hats and jovial waves, and plenty of time and space to think and write.
I was right about the first two, but wrong about the second. Not used to ‘camping’ or managing without wi-fi broadband, hot running water, and the ability to Continue reading →
It’s funny how, when you set your mind to something, all the right things appear, happen, fall into place, and show that really you’re on the right track.
They say there’s no such thing as coincidence, which is why – when I was thinking of the power of writing in its ability to heal, and how I can work with other people to tap into that power – I get included in an online group called Continue reading →
I was touched to read an article by the author of Parentless Parents, Allison Gilbert, about how writing about grief, loss and mourning had made her happier. Touched because I have also lost my parents (my father to cancer; my mother has dementia and no longer knows she has a daughter), and also inspired, because I could use my experiences to write so much more about healing after bereavement.
I wrote an 80,000 word memoir about my dad, eight years after he died. I got up at 6 every morning to write 1000 words of stream of consciousness. The process made me feelcloser to him, less afraid of my feelings, and resolute in capturing a piece of him that was lost forever. I had never planned to publish this memoir, but I know I can turn to it when I need to. And I have a sense of achievement: I have completed a memoir, even though I haven’t yet completed my novel.
The sun was out in south London today. So were the tulip petals in my front garden. But such a thing of beauty has such a pronounced shadow, which is perhaps more bewitching than the flower itself.
I guess every person who looks at this photo will make his or her own interpretation of it. What perturbs me is that the raised arm on the right of the shadow could be cheering on the tulip for showing off her beauty. However, it could also be a persecutory gesture, an angry hand about to rain down blows to fracture the fragility of the tulip’s petals; to let rip because the tulip was audacious enough to turn its face to the sun and show its true, radiant beauty.
I was furious with someone today. On my high horse, I sat down at my laptop and trotted out an email, imperiously setting out why I was right and they were wrong. As the rage flew from the keys, I felt so much better about the entire issue.
I was just about to press ‘send’ in triumph when I paused, took a breath, and pressed save instead. Might I regret it – big time – if I sent it?