When on the summer solstice it feels like winter,
all is dark,
the clouds are so dark that they obliterate that light that should mark this day,
everything goes to pots.
i cant pay my rent,
i don’t know if i still have a job to go tomorrow after that sore leg.
Summer solstice, darker than the darkest of midwinter,
No light in all those clouds,
no way forward,
and what is it that i do want,
do i know that what do i need,
do i know that,
to ignore the clouds and not wanting to influence them.
Those clouds are as dark as the darkest night,
No moon and a power cut has made that night just as the nights used to be before electricity was invented,
when you would stay at home as soon as the lights was darkening.
There was safety at home when that darkness was threatening,
Safe in my little life.
That darkness frightens me. I live through it and am not happy. Too much of it and too dark erasing all the known parameters.
Where does that leave me as a person,
i want light.
But light from the inside,
light that brings a promise,
a promise of a future,
a promise of a tomorrow,
A light like at Christmas,
but in all that darkness, there is no light.
But in all that turmoil ,
all i truly worry about is when i will be able to afford a coffee again.
When will i be blessed by money,
enough and more to spend on myself and the children and my boys.
The darkness that engulfs the summer solstice,
all those attack by terrorists
and the fire in the tower
what does that mean where does that leave me, us
I do not know, trust,
I am not good at trust but getting better.
But that darkness,
I am still safer in my little home for now anyway
and then my eyes will open and
I will see and go into the darkness
That can turn to light with just a match,
with just a switch,
with just a smile.
Write about what matters, go for what is important. Find the extreme describe and define that extreme, there you might find the truth of yourself, your story,your character. The deeper meaning can only lay somewhere far beyond. Make it far enough and people will follow you and help you look for and then find what is the meaning of your story, your article, your character.
Push boundaries. Go places where you are not safe. Go places where you have never been. Places you are afraid to name. Go there and give them a name. Find yourself and that barren and unfriendly and lonely place. There you too will meet the raison d’etre of your story, of your effort. You will help define who you are as a person by exploring what you didn’t want to look at or write about. Find a space you can call home, tell yourself what your place is on this earth but you will too help your reader to get closer to his and her own self by making them face their fear and anxieties. Give their despair and loneliness a name.
Help them cope with the fact that we are all lonely but that there is an invisible community holding your hand, walking with you in the barren and unfriendly land that is your life in the dark hours of the morning, in the darkest of your daylight hours.
I miss my father. Eighteen months after his death the wound is still there, deep. I won’t see him again or share our little jokes together or share our acerbic comments on politics or neighbours. It wasn’t always kind but always very funny and we shared so many laughs. We truly made each other laugh a lot when we were together. And we had ourselves a bottle of wine for every lunch when i was visiting and then we would have a nap, him laying on the sofa and me sitting on an armchair with my feet on the coffee table.
The last years of his life he suffered from dementia. Didn’t remember any of us. He was an unhappy dementia sufferer. He looked as he was constantly trying so hard and harder still to remember what can’t have been deeply buried in those brain cells which had let him down. Left him bereft and isolated on a lonely island with no before, no after and certainly no today.
Even the moment in which he lived, he wasn’t there with us. He was on a quest of remembering and a lot of the time he seemed to remember only the bad bits. Being buried under the rubble in post war Europe for three days aged fifteen with just a couple of strangers.
Or when he was eight and his family moved from a place he loved and was at home and felt safe to a new build house close to the village school and his best mate living next door but it never became his home just a place he lived.
He never made his and was always a stranger in that house with all the mod cons and loving parents and a mischievous sister but he left as soon as he could. Remembering bits of a marriage which with the routine of the every day had become stale with lots of shouting or cold and heavy silences and then the family breaking up. The children grew up and left one after the other.
On this year’s father day, i realise that i was the closest to him. We were quite similar. Had lots in common, words, ideas. We spoke to each other without speaking. But I notice that i am the one who left as soon as was possible and moved the furthest away from him. Went visiting with the grand children as often as i could travel half way across Europe with two small children and then the visits became fewer and fewer especially the last few years before his death the visits needed excuses as birthdays or family get togethers. Dementia was my excuse.
Stopping for a visit and being greeted as a complete stranger by a complete stranger who thanked me profusely for having brought his favorite chocolate and cakes. Just as i knew him enough to know what he liked and enjoyed and to do it just right for him. And it made him so happy.
He asked about my life then he wanted to know who i was visiting and wasn’t it time to pop in with the people i had really come to see before i entered the wrong door and visited with him.
I send him weekly post cards with our news. I knew the nurse would take the time to read the cards to him and talk about me and my news and the grand children. It made him happy and he listened to stories of what by then for him were complete strangers and i was sitting at home crying after having send another of my cards into the void that had become my relationship with my father. I was a daughter to a father who didn’t remember that he had a daughter.
Writing as the essential of me. Writing is what makes me as a person and defines my humanity. Writing is what makes me a better human being. Writing is a way to connect and to construct my relationship with the world close by and at large. Through writing i communicate with people and places i will never see and never speak to or share their bit of earth with for a time.
Writing creates my link with the environment and with the people on this world. I write about them, talk to them, sometimes create them to suit my current ideas and concepts.
Writing is what establishes me as a person. A person who cares and observes and notices things that are difficult to live with at times and who needs to observe the reality of being alive on a deeper level to understand what makes the world go round and what makes our fellow humans do what they do.
Writing helps me to understand and explain to myself the unspoken rules that rule the world. The spokes that turn and turn us around with them. Why do we do what we do and why do we say what we say?
And we overhear people talk and we laugh with them and sometimes but not cruelly at them. We cry with them and we are angry with them. Writing is what being me, is all about. Writing is how i communicate with other
and why am i writing? writing feels just like a virus, a habit that has overcome you. Writing dominates your life and your thoughts. At times a bit like a soothing blanket, a comforter, a hand to pat me on the shoulder and say you know everything’s gonna be alright. Something that makes me talk and think about things so as not talk or think about others things.
Sometimes things appear on my page which really disturb and trouble me. It looks off and not really something i recognise. Things that affect me on so deep level and take me places i had forgotten or didn’t know existed. They are there hidden under layers of experience, years of self doubt and wanderings in the desert.
Writing like an entrepreneur. Writing with a business plan and timetables over one or two or more years. As in knowing where you are going and what you want to present. Writing as a business, as a serious grow up thing. A bit like school and a bit like you really mean it and you want it and you would do anything to get there.
But then there a writer like me who write a lot, bucket loads of words. They flow. They are not called. you sit down and they happen and then some more and you cant stop. There is no switch to stop yourself as there was no stop switch to get yourself start. I becomes a habit. Something you do and some days it is like a chore. Something you wish you had never started. Something that should somebody else’s burden. Take that chalice away from me. But no i will drink of it the sweet wine of words written and thrown out. Raw and fresh and still alive when put to paper or a screen.
What do i wish to write about. I have two novels on the go and loads of poetry that needs revisiting and reshaping and making more for today although just a few years, months days old. Notice i avoid reworking. I don’t talk about doing anything useful with them. I just want to see them again and remember the feelings and the moments that made me sit down and take notice and write till i was ready to move on and to accept that those things happen. And then you move on. The poems stay behind but your life has gone other places, met other people. you no longer are the person who did the writing. But is yours and it is there but unlike and adult child or even an infant child. You cant make changes to them they are their own people. They walk their own path. But poems are more flexible. The children we can manipulate, make ours more over time by going back and editing and making them say what you want them to express now and not the things that were burdening, upsetting or making you sing for joy. All those are in the past. in your past.
Now there is a new you and those poems are like old friends or a neglected garden which you make yours by telling them they haven’t change one bit and then very gently and you insert new meanings and new memories and you rewrite you own history.
When we have money we spend it and when we don’t we pretend something important came up and look somewhere else for cheap fun and food with special stickers after 8 30 when all the good folk are already home eating the full price food or pull up some pretense at having it and wallowing in it. And then there are credit cards, we love those a lot. They help us go through some days, weeks, keeping up appearances, paying bills and paying for our rent. Although some people have so many credit cards, it is shocking. And then debts and the more debt and the bigger the pretense, the bigger the screen and the masquerade. They wonder why they cant survive.
I am at my limit if nothing changes over the summer months that will be it, I will be bankrupt and be living of spaghetti hoops on toast but will be able to afford a toaster, again is anybody’s guess. I really do not know and then what, once i have my posh toaster, five pounds in the white goods collection. What do i do?
I will always remember that old guy who had loads of tea through the day and two buttered slices of toast about every two to three hours and then a proper dinner. Often ready made. He lived to an old age but then he was tough and just got with it and didn’t listen to things and people he wasn’t interested in or he didn’t find useful. He just did what worked best for him and that was the end of that and nothing else or more but it worked for him as it would have worked for some and what that teaches us is that we need to find what works for us what is best for us and how to use it and help us live better and easier lives.
And maybe for a time it is ok to be very low on money to be beyond borderline. Does it tell us about the importance of money? No it doesn’t but it tell us about living in others ways and setting others priorities and discovering journeys and meanderings, we would never have known and found.