makar [ˈmækər]
n (Literature / Poetry) Scot a creative artist, esp a poet
[a Scot variant of maker]

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I find it so tricky to balance the dreamy, withdrawn, almost trance-like state I'm in when I'm writing, with the quick, super alert (stressed), one-step-ahead-of-them state that I have to be in to look after my kids. Sometimes I feel like I'm physically present but my head, and even heart, is somewhere else. I guess all mums (and some dads too) struggle with balancing their own preoccupations with the requirements of their children, but I frequently feel so distracted by the fictional world that I want to inhabit and explore, that I wonder whether I'm just this replica mum, doing the things I need to do, but otherwise emotionally absent. I've been finding time (hey, who needs sleep?) everyday to be on my own for a while: it's kind of addictive because it feels so amazing to have that space. It seems to mean that I can be more fully present the rest of the day, although not all days are as successful as others. My minds wanders a lot and I often have to pull myself back to the here and now; to a small insistent voice asking me a question, or explaining something that happened to them; to focus on the details, the little things that can easily pass me by. I want to be be in this real world and I want to be in the other world of my imagination. Sometimes I feel so tired, endlessly trying to move between the two, but I know I need them both.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today I got to write for three hours. It felt so good. And then I read this amazing essay, which just explored all these things I've been thinking about lately, in such a beautiful and succinct way, that I pretty much had to underline the entire thing! I need to have sessions like this more often. They make me a much nicer person; they make me feel like me, and not some empty, exhausted excuse.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

So, I've been thinking for a while about writing a post on relationships and having children, and how much pressure parenthood puts on couples, but I've been struggling to find a way to write about it. I consider myself an open book about most things but my relationship is just not something I want to share with the blogosphere. And yet, I feel it's a subject that needs to be discussed more: I wonder why we're so reluctant to be honest about the pressures of family life; are we all complicit in presenting a masquerade of perfection? Even amongst friends, I feel like it's a taboo subject that people occasionally allude to, but which they are reluctant to talk about in any depth. Perhaps, we're just wary of expressing things that then cannot be receded. I'm not sure. All, I know is that it's possible to forget to really see each other, when you are consumed by the needs of little ones. That just as it's easy to lose yourself in your children's lives; it's also all too easy to lose each other in the whirl of our somewhat chaotic, time-poor existence. I think we have to remind ourselves, over and over, to really look and listen, to be truly present. And above all else, to be kind to each other.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

For the last couple of months, I've been on a roll with my writing. It's just poured out onto the page every time I've managed to grab a moment to devote to it. I'm not sure it's great writing; in fact, I know a lot of it is nonsensical, stream-of-consciousness, overly indulgent tripe. But I have more than 15,000 words of my novel and I'm hopeful that not all of it sucks. In the last week or so, the words have dried up: I feel kind of empty. Partly, this is because the writing is getting a little trickier now, and involves more craft and skill. I also need to get on with some historical research to figure out a few issues before I can write certain parts. But I'm not panicking because I've realised that I've been here before, and that this lull is part of my creative process. It's a bit like refueling. I need to fill up on ideas and inspiration: to read, take in some interesting art, listen to music, walk and think. I read a quotation from Rumi today and it made so much sense to me:

Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance, when you're perfectly free. Struck, the dancer hears a tambourine inside her, like a wave that crests into foam at the very top, Begins. Maybe you don't hear that tambourine, or the tree leaves clapping time. Close the ears on your head, that listen mostly to lies and cynical jokes. There are other things to see, and hear. Music. Dance. A brilliant city inside your soul!

I'm going to bide my time and just allow myself some space to get back to that place where the words flow.

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