I write best early in the morning. It’s when my brain is at its most creative i.e. half asleep. However, recently I have been only scrapping at poems and barely snatching at stories because I have found a position in the centre of my queen sized bed with the folds of my duvet all but crowning my head. My face is feather nested in a goose down pillow which is resting between two other pillows so that feathers and cotton tumble around my ears giving me a sense of floating amongst heavenly clouds. It is an extremely comfortable position, and particularly difficult to wrest myself from in order to face the blank of a page.
By the time, I do emerge to do battle with kettles, fish food, dog biscuits, lap tops and get the pillows restructured to provide the correct support for writing, the morning is half gone and other activities are pressing: dog walking, life admin, workshop prep, swimming, reading, news, cooking and sprawling. My brain has disengaged with its creative side and checked into the pragmatic and practical ‘to do’ section of the day. It’s as if my brain is on a conveyor belt and the hours are the machinists fine tuning its operation. I don’t write in the afternoon. I edit, but if I’m not writing, there is nothing to edit. I wonder if this routine is an ‘age’ thing. As you get older, change becomes more alarming. For instance, travelling never bothered me. I got my passport, ticket, got on a bus to the airport, moved through security and looked forward to eating mixed nuts at the Gate. Now, suddenly, I have become aware of everything that could go very wrong. Wisdom has got the better of me.
The only poem I have written, recently, is about this feeling I have that a ‘mantel of wisdom’ has descended upon me since my mother died. I feel as if I have absorbed her perception, insights and acumen about the world (sadly, much of which was negative) and it is rather disturbing. I preferred being a child of learning which had a more positive, naive perspective. Maybe this is all nonsense and it is only Brexit, the EU, Trump, and Facebook playing with my head. Nothing to do with getting old and cranky, or descending mantels of wisdom. However, it is unsettling because what do you do with wisdom? It is appreciated by no-one!
I have also been dabbling with painting, this year as I got paints for Christmas. I have been trying to draw flowers and copying Ravilious’ water colours. It doesn’t tax my brain as much as writing, but the end results are alarming. The flowers are flat, my Ravilious bridges and trains are wonky and the South Downs positively misshapen. I always knew my perspective on life was a little weird, but when it comes to art, it is frightening. Very Brexit. I do like the colouring, though, and I while away the hours, content. It also distracts me from my new-found wisdom! Focusing on shadows and depth, I don’t have to think.
And, may be that is what I like at the moment. Not thinking. And that is why I am not writing because writing forces me clarify my thoughts. After all, this year I celebrate 60, and thirty years of marriage, and, surely, that is clarification enough! And really, who can think about Brexit anymore?