I realised some time ago that I stopped writing poetry at about the same time that my first major relationship broke down. At the time I didn’t know whether to feel sad about it, or that it was too melodramatic. Did it even matter that I had stopped writing? And what did it say that without him I had nothing to write about?
For a long while, when I was much younger I hasten to add, all I wrote about was him: how he made me feel, what he was like, where we were going etc etc. and if I had stopped writing when we broke up, surely I wasn’t really Writing anyway, I was just being indulgent.
In the two years since realising this, I’ve written on and off, and started this blog as an attempt to get used to writing and sharing writing again. I thought that with an audience I might want to write more, and differently, and that mythical ‘inspiration’ might strike and make me into a Poet at any given moment and that you would all be pleased for me.
As you can see, it hasn’t really gone that way. However, today I think I have learned something about Myself as a Writer – and something about what that means.
I took an hour out from my sick bed this afternoon (once I stopped wondering if I was going to throw up every 20 minutes) and walked around the nature reserve across the road. I sat on the bench by the pond, perched on tree stumps, logs, fallen trees, took detours, ran – for the hell of it – and found myself writing. And the thing is, I know I couldn’t have done that if I’d have been with someone else.
This is, of course, not a slight on the people I spend my time with. They’re lovely and wonderful and keep me busy and stop all the introspection that has always caused me to write poetry in the first place. But today it was comforting to realise that writing these little snippets might actually be something that I do, and not just a product of indulgence and suggestion. And that I don’t need a personal trigger, I’m not just a person who write about Things That Have Happened To Her, I can think outside of the box.
I’ve realised that I can write on my own, in fact, I’m much better at this sort of thing alone. I can forget other people long enough to be myself, as the postcard in my bedroom says.
I fact, I could be learning, or re-learning depending on your point of view, how to write the sort of thing that could be read, and the kind of thing that reflects me. I’ve always said I’m no good at photography, and I can’t draw to save my life. So I was a little surprised today to find that what I was writing were little pictures caused by the things around me. Back in the day when I was writing about Feelings and the like, I would have laughed at the thought of myself writing poems about nature, and the world. “I’m not William fucking Wordsworth”, I would have thought. And I’m not!. So while the things I penned today are still Things That Happened, they’re (hopefully) more accessible, and more reflective of where I’ve gone with this. There is more to write about than Feelings, and I always knew that. It’s just nice to know that I can do that sort of writing – or at least, I have the potential to, as dangerous as potential is.
Learning to write again is a slow process, and it looks as though it will involve a lot of time spent on my own. But I kind of like that. I think I can work out how it’s done on my own. For the past eighteen months I’ve been hopefully carrying a notebook and pen around with my when friends and I go to visit nice places. Turns out, the nice places are irrelevant. It’s the being on my own that helps. Which explains why I always think of something to write when I’m doing something unconsciously; like driving, or washing up, or taking a shower – and not when I’m trying to do something complicated like remember how to co-ordinate all my limbs and breathing at the same time while at the gym.
Also, this means that NaPoWriMo may not be the terrible, painful, woeful struggle I expected it to be! But let’s not count the chickens yet…