The winter greys being what they are, I’ve been in a state of creative blahs. Written creativity has been pushed aside in favour of therapeutic beading of bones, doing laundry, reading Scandinavian thrillers and excessive sleeping.
Today I’ve decided to push through the murky viscous winter fluid that is blocking the word flow, and write a blog.
Flailing around for something to say, I contemplated writing about Bowie’s death then mulled on a discourse on public toilets (hey, as a past addict and bulimic and a present middle aged woman with a less than youthful bladder, public toilets and I have had an intimate and knowledgeable relationship that has spanned many years) before deciding that smacked of a surrealism that I wasn’t in the mood to explore.
Today, I simply need to write.
All of my life, writing has been a skill, pleasure and creative expression that I’ve explored and played with, albeit in a messy and undisciplined way.
As a child and younger adult, ‘being a writer’ was something that underlay all surface dreams and ambitions of becoming an astronaut, archaeologist, pathologist or lawyer,
Family dynamics being what they are, the roles allotted were my sister as the artist and myself as the academic. This family role-play crumbled with puberty, as my personal demons, chemicals and crazed behaviours unravelled my thinking and drive.
However I always hung onto the form of creativity that didn’t infringe upon the persona that I’d been indoctrinated to accept.
At school I wrote stories, and loved subjects and projects that involved painting a written picture.
I was into poetry for a while in my teenage years, but found they exacerbated my natural gloom and despondency and invariably ended up in repetitive downward spirals of misery.
I had some wonderful inspirational relationships with English teachers and have always been a voracious reader who is fascinated by the words of others.
There were moments of glory, such as when a teacher, unbeknownst to me, submitted my work for a competition and I won the Pen Young Writers Incentive Award. However by the time of the award’s presentation in the New Zealand Parliamentary Building, the Beehive, I was already lost in a drug haze, and had mislaid the invitation and missed the ceremony. I wonder what happened…was my name called? Was there a silence, a glance around, a muttering then a moving on? Or did they simply realise that I was a no show and perhaps made a brief acknowledgement before they progressed quickly onto the next possible bright young star of the literary world.
I wrote songs with lovers, graphic novels with friends, took acid and wrote in time to Reggae compilations, exploring words dancing in time and rhythm to music.
I became trapped in same old same old themes of death and loss and darkness (something that it is still too easy for me to do) and gradually my learned grammars and syntax, trickled away as time put a greater and greater distance between myself and my school days.
About seven years into my recovery from drugs/alcohol I decided to return to my creative process. To an extent I felt ready. I was adjusting to the strange world of being drug free, although the fear and anxiety that came with it, remained prevalent. However I felt as if I wasn’t me, and to be alive in myself I need to take a risk, go backwards and grab something that I’d lost or left behind. That ‘something’ being the creative spark that I expressed through words.
I started writing book and event reviews, then moved onto articles. I learned structure and as I progressed, discarded the structure in favour of a shape that seemed right to express myself at that time.
I had the highs that come with ‘an excitement’, an idea that hurtled me into energised flurry of activity and then left me in a trough of post production nothing.
I contributed to anthologies, put together anthologies myself, then wrote several books.
I reached a point of words not being enough. Language was limited by education, personal abilities, and culture. I started using three dimensional art work to attempt to express ‘more’.
The irony being, I was writing articles and talks to explain this work.
Thus, full circle, I need to work on my ability to use words, to trap them into structure to convey what I wish to communicate.
I need to be disciplined.
Even when I have a lovely pile of beads and bones and paints that are a pleasure to escape into, I need to push myself to my computer and write.
Which I have done, for today.
All without a discourse on David Bowie or my relationship with public toilets.