Jealousy

Jealousy strikes,

irritates,

illuminates,

reveals the path

I wish to travel.


Jealousy. It gets a bad press, but it can be really useful. It can point the way to what we really want.

I don’t often feel jealous, but when I do, it’s usually because someone else is doing something that I want to do. Something I have told myself is impossible, or too hard, or not for the likes of me, for someone older, or younger, more talented, better educated….the list goes on.

This morning, while I was reading an article about a writer and explorer, jealousy bit hard. I read about one of the ideas in his new book, something I remember thinking about years ago. ‘It’s not fair’, I thought. ‘I could have written that’. But I didn’t.

Jealousy showed me that writing about these ideas, and writing a book, is important to me.

Then came the excuses. ‘Oh but he’s probably a much better writer than me. He probably studied literature and writing. He’s probably rich and can afford to be a writer and not need a real job.’

This may, or may not, be true. The point is, he did it, I didn’t. The point is, more clarity on what is important to me, what it is that I want.

Jealousy is not a pleasant feeling, but it gave me a little nudge into action. I could choose to take what I want seriously. I could take some writing courses. I could start redrafting the novel that I wrote a few years ago.


What do you think? Has jealousy ever made you stop and think? Pointed the way to a new direction, adventure or creative project?

Rough edges

My garden,

like much of my life,

a little scruffy,

a little rough around the edges,

beautiful to my eyes

but perhaps not everyone’s

cup of tea.

Today I watched

a queen red-tailed bumblebee

dusted in golden pollen

feasting on a dandelion,

mother of next summer’s bees

sustained by my laziness,

my dislike of weeding.

Perfection may ensnare us

but it is a sterile thing,

there is treasure

to be found

in the wild,

in the untamed,

at the rough edges of life.

Inspiration

‘I want to write a poem’

never works for me.

I have to wait.

I have to go to the places

where inspiration lies.

Sometimes I glimpse it

quietly sleeping

in a grey sky full of rain,

or shouting for attention

through the flowers and birds.

Sometimes I glimpse it

within myself.

And I have to be quiet enough to hear it.

A blog post from a writer I admire

sparks a train of thought,

or I glimpse an old quote in

a book, inspiration travelling

across time and space.

Or I walk.

Usually I just walk,

and the world nudges me

into attention.

The spaces in between

The train to Manchester was busy.

Next to me, leaning against the window and not making eye contact, a young man with a backpack. He kept his backpack on all the way, and his coat. He hunched uncomfortably on the seat, moving constantly; cracking his knuckles, jiggling his legs, sighing, yawning.

The train took its time, and I distracted myself with my phone. Both of us would rather be anywhere but here, squashed into a train with strangers.

The kind of train journey that doesn’t have space, physically or mentally.

This one does. This train, from Manchester to Norwich, is blissfully empty. Hours of countryside pass by; tunnels, rivers, mountains, woods. I barricade myself into my seat, coat on the chair next to me, bag in front, daring anyone to sit next to me. My own little cocoon.

Then the journey works it’s magic.

The rocking of the train, eyes relaxing over the long views, grey skies giving way to silver, then blue, then back to grey.

The train sings nothing to do, nothing to do, nothing to do.

Space

To think

To relax

To breathe

To dream.

Ideas appear, then drop behind. Contentment spreads.

Ideas reappear, then blossom. The future appears more fluid, more malleable.

And all I have to do is sit here and be transported.

How rare it is to find this space, the space between. Between departing and arriving, between dreaming and becoming, between beginning and end.

The space where possibilies expand with the horizon, where new futures can be envisioned and old bonds can drop away.

My most audacious goals seem possible

And yet isn’t all life lived in this space, really?

How good we are at distracting ourselves from it, filling our lives up with busyness.

As the land flattens out and the towns get closer together, I start to weave my dreams into reality, mapping out actions for the coming months. Dreaming into doing, breathing thoughts into life.

The train arrives. I depart into the cold night air.

_

I would like to find ways of inhabiting this in between space more often, instead of leaving it to chance.

How do you find the time and space to reconnect with your dreams and to plan for your future?

On blogging

I’ve been in this peaceful corner of the internet for nine months now.

I wanted a place to write, to explore ideas, to experiment, to see what this blogging thing was all about.  To share, maybe, if anyone found my blog.

I started out thinking I’d write about creativity, and how to fit it into a busy life, about nature, and the importance of connecting with the natural world.

I ended up writing poetry.  Poems about everyday life; the first snowdrops of spring, anxiety before a hospital appointment, the first canoe trip of the year, tai chi.

I luxuriated in language.   I wrote about things that I don’t usually talk about, feeling safely anonymous among millions of bloggers.

I haven’t been trying to promote my blog, but somehow I now have some followers.

♥ Thank you! ♥

I follow some of the people who have commented or followed my blog and now every weekend my inbox contains poetry and stories.  Some of my favourites so far:

The Cedar Journal – adventures of a Cedar Canoe

Elle Guyence, who writes a beautiful poem every week

Paperbark Writer Australian nature meets science & art, which combines many of my favourite things in one blog!  Actually I’ve been following this blog for a few years now, it’s really inspiritational and makes me want to visit Australia again.

 

So, I’m going to keep on writing, exploring, experimenting and reading and see what the next nine months bring for Life In The Fresh Air!

Inner Worlds

Imagine yourself

as an unusual kind of Russian doll.

A little plain on the outside

features worn away

wood chipped

colours faded.

Not really fitting in

with the colours and fashions

tastes and preoccupations of the world.

But inside

Oh! it’s like walking into a temple

There is a painted dome, midnight blue

studded with stars

And if you look really closely

you will see the stars are real

twinkling

stretching out into

infinite space.

The inside of this doll is bigger

than the outside,

like a tardis.

Time and space mean little here.

Rich fabrics and jewels shimmer on the walls

but also trees, landscapes

an ocean.

Birds flit from tree to tree

and an imaginary cast of thousands

act out plays, ideas, novels

while music flows like wine.

At the centre, not a nest of smaller and smaller dolls

but a heart, beating in time with the universe.

Images and ideas flowing in from outside

are turned, shape shifted, into something beautiful

or something terrible,

and this place goes on for ever.

Imagine this is you.

Now, take that shimmering  inside

Create

Project it into this world

say what needs to be said

Light up our lives.

 

This Creative Life

There were holes in

This one wonderful creative life

It had got a little threadbare

Over the years

In need of darning

Tarnished

A light had dimmed

And now, I’m adding threads

Wild snatches of music

Experienced from the inside

Part of a circle of people playing

For themselves and for each other

Sharing tunes and memories

And weaving a richer life

The warp and weft of friendships

Reacquainted.

Stories, rhythms, rhymes

And the hills of the Lake District

My hills

And a scattering of colour, paint on canvas,

Feeling the lines and texture flow from the brush in my hand

The peace of deep, relaxed movement

Taking time to reconnect

The wake of a canoe across the lake

Adding a silvery thread

All combining

All absolutely necessary

Now I know what I’ve been missing

All of this is what I need

Now there are no threadbare patches left

In the tapestry that is

This creative life