Begin Again – the creative process

 

It’s that time of year when the promise of light is in the air. For those of us who have been sat in the darkness for too long – this one is for you.

Hacking through bracken, words are tar and feathers – dense. I don’t see the features on anyone’s faces. Words hang in rusted barbed wire around necks of the bodies they are attached to. Dragging themselves along pavements. Day after grey day.

Sharp edged arrow words. Put things away properly. Sit up straighter. Only wear clean clothes. Don’t get too dirty. Don’t swear. Quieten down. Don’t – just don’t. Words written on my face in spit stink – invisible ink. I’m stained on the inside with congealed blood that doesn’t flow quite right.

Don’t speak up. Keep the words in.

Don’t stand out.

Speak when you’re spoken too.

Keep your mouth shut.

Shut it.

Keep the lid on.

Don’t let anything out.

Don’t break things.

Makes me want to do things that I shouldn’t. Makes me want to shout and scream and tip things over, pour paint on the floor – rip my clothes, feel fear on purpose as a way of gaining some kind of control. Does that make sense? And when I can’t feel anything and I find myself in the company of strangers that want me to organise myself, have the right clip board, or a different face or proper hair, or a proper thing to say, or a quieter laugh, or just be quieter and don’t laugh. That’s when things get messy. In my head. That’s when I have to shrink in order to grow fast, it’s like I have to crouch down small in a pretend game of hide and seek and then build my energy, build it and build it and build it until I can hide no longer and everything just bursts out.

Rip and pour and create in a whirlwind of not knowing what comes next because there is no actual order. There is no supposed to and right and wrong in this crazy fucked up world that we live in. It just is. It just is. And without starting from a place of mess I don’t know how anything could actually begin. Rip up all instructions and burn them, stand in the glow of the fire and wait until I know what to do next. If nothing comes, I’ll draw with the ash from the embers and spit into the dirt on the ground and that will be my fresh start. Because anything else is a lie. And if nothing else on this else earth holds true, I know I can tell the truth and start at the beginning.

And you?

What will you do when the words you bear on your back begin to squash you flat?

What do you do?

Put the children in bed and cry? Drink until you forget?

What do you do?

Burn things, make fires, read yourself into another world, change your hair, your clothes, your food. Or does everything stay the same? Roll in soft cotton duvets and drink tea until you cannot contain any more liquid. Stare at screens until the scene in front of you sleeps.

All these things and more.

Put away sharp objects and dance in spilt ink, tracing your footsteps to the next place.

All these things and more.

These words will go and days will pass.

You just are. You will find your truth and begin. Begin again.

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1. A good thing that has happened today, no matter how small.

2. Something that is going well in your life.

3. Notice something you really appreciated recently.

Go on, I challenge you to.

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