Yesterday, I found this badge amongst all the clutter on my kitchen windowsills. It's from a show I saw in Edinburgh many years ago. I can't even remember much about it, except that it was quirky and whimsical and we all liked it. This funny little badge has somehow stuck with me through several moves, including the big one to the other side of the world. Many other, more treasured things, have been lost along the way. How on earth do I still have it in my possession? And why is it hanging out on my kitchen windowsill? Anyway, whatever - it got me thinking about connection and quite how unconnected I feel right now. If studying creative writing taught me anything, it's that being part of a community of writers is so much better than not being part of one. That year was ridiculously tough (I spent a lot of time crying over my laptop), but I loved all the discussions we had about each others work, the hours spent drinking tea and coffee very slowly in cafes and scrawling in our notebooks alongside each other. It was a special time and obviously, life can't always be like that, but I miss those connections over writing. I have some gorgeous friends, who I love talking to about books, but I guess what I crave is colleagues; people who are trying to create art and dealing with the same struggles that I am. I want to make those creative connections because even though writing is a solitary pursuit, friends, especially ones who share your passion, really do make life so much better.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
I have a scar on my foot and it's been getting to me. Last week, I was forced to look at it more than I normally do. We were on holiday and spent most of the time barefoot and playing with the children on the beach. I've had this scar for about 18 months - it's not that big but it's ugly and in an annoying place, right on top of my foot. There isn't even an exciting story behind it - it was from a mosquito bite that got infected and for some reason turned into an angry red lump. I've been trying to decide whether to do something about it because I like being barefoot and I don't like having to look at it, but it just seems so silly to be that vain about something so small. And I do kind of like scars: obviously not the awful, tragic, disfiguring ones, but the little ones that we all collect throughout our lives. They make us unique and they tell the tales of our misadventures and misjudgements. I have so many scars; maybe more than some because I am rather clumsy! There is the tiny white line under my bottom lip that I've had since I fell over as a toddler and bit into my lip; the raised web on my knee from a teenage experiment with copious amounts of gin and a joint; the two inch line on my belly from a mole I had removed a few weeks after my daughter was born. There was nothing wrong with it - I just didn't like it - and the scar is so much worse. Then there is the silvery flow of stretchmarks from growing fast and growing babies. And all the many other tiny marks, here and there. My scars aren't very interesting - their stories are little, inconsequential - but they are mine, and they are the details that make up a person and the life they live. Like our memories, they fade and change; they become less vivid, less defining. They take their place alongside the others. Troubled with "bad" skin, I used to wish mine was as white and perfect as milk. If only I had no spots, no freckles, no distinguishing marks. But, of course, that would make me look like some strange alien-creature, airbrushing out all that makes me human. I am not a new born baby after all; I am a 34 year old woman. So instead of blank perfection, I think of my skin as a map of experiences and emotions, charting my journeys. And I've decided I'm just going to have to learn to live with that strange little scar on my foot.