Keeping sane with Firefly Creative Writing…
Once upon a time, there was a couple who lived in an apartment in the city. One was happy, he loved living in the city, and one was unhappy because she could no longer find a quiet still place to go anymore.
then one day, like a lightning bolt from the sky, she realized all she had to do was open her mouth and tell her partner, this does not make me happy, I need to leave the city.
So they talked about it and made a plan. They carefully decided where to go, and searched for a place to live. It took a while, but they finally found the perfect house out in the country. They were both very happy on the day they got the key.
Later, after they had moved in, they sat around the fire pit early one evening, watching the flames in companionable silence, listening to the wind in the trees. The woman smiled to herself as a huge bumblebee bumped into her leg as it buzzed past.
They would live happily ever after here.
Writing last night. I didn’t really want to be there, really. I didn’t bail though. Who knows what epiphanies I would miss, what would spark from someone else’s prose. It wasn’t easy. My internet was messed up, with just enough of a delay that made responding to anyone awkward, that after I read something the pause was long enough to make me think that it was crap, no one liked it and was trying to think of something good to say. (I know that’s not so, its just my brain being an asshole).
I did a fuck poem from one of the photo prompts. The photo was of what looked like embroidery or stitching, white/cream on a rust red background saying what fuckery is this. There were other pictures that called me, a river, a graffiti’d blue door set in old stonework, but I went with the fuckery, so I could write a fuck poem.
And for the first time, the fuck poem was very unsatisfying. It felt obvious. Instead of being a cathartic purge of the negatives, it only seemed to highlight them, and make them sink deeper into my skin, to become more real.
Fuck that Shit. (See what I did there)
I’m going to switch it up for a while, to write delight poems. Look away from all the little things that annoy and anger. Look towards those things that will help bring a lightness of being, that will make me smile and feel ready to combat the dark.
Delight x 19
Delight in the forsythia cuttings flowering as they take root in the green room.
Delight in the taste of sourdough French toast made by my dearest love, topped with maple syrup, berries and whipped cream.
Delight in the blue blue sky visible between the clouds scudding by.
Delight in the shimmer of glitter dust as it swirls around in a glass of Pilsner, giving the beer life and dimension.
Delight in the silence of the house, so quiet I can hear the soft snore of a sleeping cat.
Delight in the warmth inside.
Delight in the garden, in the alienness of the rhubarb unfurling itself pink stalk by pink stalk, each containing a knob of wrinked green leaf that slowly stretches to catch the sun.
Delight in a new writing space neither inside nor outside, but in a liminal loveliness where I can be in the outdoors without black flies and mosquitoes.
Delight in the garden taking shape under our hands, the overgrown thickets cut back and replanted, restoring an order that is pleasing to us.
Delight in the hammock outside under the magnolia tree.
Delight in the goldfinches, now almost fully yellow again, swooping and diving around the back.
Delight in the ominous grace of the turkey vultures soaring in the updrafts.
Delight in the little purple flowers that spill over the flower bed on the east side of the house, and pop up all over the lawn.
Delight in the first dandelions, yellow and bright.
Delight in the tight bud of a red tulip.
Delight in soft alpaca yarn running between my fingers as I knit, taking shape into a wide shawl to wrap around my shoulders against the spring chill.
Delight in the 100 Day Project progress, embroidered circles containing small benchmarks. This is not what I planned but it has morphed into something I need, not unlike the origins of the photo-a-day project.
Delight in the taste of a Hermit cookie, subtle spices and sweetness and memories of childhood and another little yellow house.
Delight in the how my body responds to manual labour, muscles easing and contracting as I shovel dirt from the trailer to the rock garden, the warmth and smoothness of the shovel handle in my hands.
Once upon a time, there was a woman who thought she wasn’t creative. She knew she used to be, when she was younger, but a lot of us were other things when we were younger, before sex and productivity and consumerism narrowed our focus.
The woman knew she had skills, she had logic. She could program a computer, troubleshoot a problem, follow a pattern or a recipe. But talent? No. And you need talent to be creative, right?
Then one day, because a colleague had a crush on a TV star, the woman found herself in a room with a writer. Not just a writer, a writing coach. Not just a writing coach, a woman of easy charm and smiling eyes, who through writing a few simple lists, showed the woman that she is creative. That a skill practiced enough can be a talent. And that the purpose of creativity is to not be perfect.
Over the years, the woman worked with the writing coach, delighting in the layers of herself she found underneath the responsible adult. She learned to scribble in the pristine journals, to start anywhere other than at the beginning, to finish before the end. She learned that sometimes close enough really is good enough. And more importantly, the she learned that the knowledge that the first efforts will be crap is the exact reason to make those first efforts rather than the reason to never start.
Wabi sabi, bitches.
Preachy and judgey.
And that’s just me to myself. Social media expands this. Expand your horizons. No, whatever you feeling is fine.
Witness this! No, not everything needs to be witnessed! Self care! No, look after others! No, stay home! And I could go off EI if I got paid by how much I had to listen to “when this is over” and “normal” and “new normal”.
Fuck. This. Shit.
All I can do is shut it off. No one wins, and it’s all just big a circle jerk with no happy ending, everyone leaves frustrated and tired.
You do you. I’m gonna do me.
It’s 9:18. I missed the Morning Coffee Sessions with Chris that started at 9.
Why did I miss it? Because I started watching a series of stupid Facebook videos and didn’t stop. Oo look, another one, maybe this one will be funnier than the last. Oooo and another. And another.
For fucks sake.
My first thought when Chris said what poem she was reading for the first Morning Coffee Session write was, “oh no that one.” Wild Geese is not my favourite Mary Oliver poem. But as with all things Firefly, I seem to get what I need at the right moment.
Meanwhile the world goes on. Those five words turned into these words.
The forsythia taking root is ready to bloom, long skinny buds ready to burst into joyous yellow. It doesn’t care that humanity is losing its shit.
The red-winged blackbirds and sparrows and robins and grackles trill and swoop around, finding food and building nests, completely unaware that there is a shortage of toilet paper and all purpose flour.
A small brown rabbit eases across the yard, nosing aside the greening grass to get at any seeds scattered by the chickadees at the feeder. He has no knowledge of mass graves in New York City.
But I know these things, and more. And each thing pricks with a small pang of anxiety and steals a little more calm until I can’t get off the couch. Again.
But. But but but.
Not everything has to be seen, to be witnessed. No one is forcing me to be immersed in the collective grief and uncertainty. I can turn away from that which is so anxiety-inducing, and should not feel guilty for it. I can turn off the TV, the radio, the internet, and go sit in the green room taking delight in the sunshine, birdsong, the little purple flowers on the lawn and the look of words written in cherry-blossom pink ink. I can be grateful, so grateful, for the good fortune that led us to this place, acknowledge our privilege, and help those I can how I can when I can.
We are such a blip, an eye blink sized slice of time in the history of the world, this last month even less so. It’s good for me to remember this. Meanwhile, the world moves on.
I wrote a blog post that I was proud of (the previous one) and decided to share it. I put the link in my Instagram bio with a picture of my new list of fun things to do.
And then things got weird. I started to feel anxious, wonder who was going, was anyone commenting? I updated my StatCounter email and checked it a few times; only several visits from myself to check it and a recurring visitor from Dublin (*waves across the Atlantic). I got more anxious…what if they don’t like it? what if I open my soul, link to it, and no one reads it. Oh no, only 5 likes on the IG post!
And this, dear friends, was in the first hour after posting.
I took the link down, changed the IG post. This is not why I write here.
It’s been just over two weeks since the Queen of Craft event where the reality of this began to hit me, this new reality of hand sanitizer, social distancing, Zoom video conferences and anxiety. Time has gone weird…feels like longer.
I’m anxious as fuck. I tell my anxiety to chill. We are lucky here, in our yellow house in the country. There are things to do, and it’s easy to stay away from other people and each other when we get one each other’s nerves. The snow is mostly melted away, and we can look forward to spending time outside in the garden. There is baking and sewing and knitting and writing and beer making and napping and reading. Keith has his motorcycle project in the garage. We are getting a taste of what retirement might be like. It’s good.
But there are days when the anxiety doesn’t chill. We are not ready to retire yet; I need to work for at least 7-10 more years. Will there be a brewing job for me when this all settles down? Will there be any job? What is the economic landscape going to look like? Will there be an opportunity to reshape the landscape into something better? Or will we be stuck with the same old same old that doesn’t really work for everyone anymore? What if, what if, what if.
Sshhhhh, I tell the anxiety and make it a cup of tea. All of this is well beyond my control, and no one knows how it’s going to play out over the next month, 6 months, year. Those are the days I just pick up my knitting and watch something goofy on Netflix (thanks Ren for Tiger Kings!)
I made a list of things I can do to occupy my mind during the day, things to distract or meditate on. It was loooooong list with the letters TO DO on the top in big block letters and numbered by importance. It was a stressful list. So many things, too many things! I couldn’t decide what to do, I just knew that I should be DOING SOMETHING.
Indecision and anxiety had me curled up on the couch for a few days, alternating between aimlessly swiping through aimless shit on my iPad and staring out the window. I wallowed. It’s ok that I did…it’s obviously what I needed to do. But it’s not sustainable. I got off the couch.
Now my list has no title, no numbered and ordered bulletin points. I look at it as suggestions, and give myself permission to pick what I feel like doing, and to stop when I don’t feel like doing it anymore. There is no real rush to complete anything in a day. Well, except for my photo a day blog. This has mutated into a gratitude blog, sorta kinda. It’s a work in progress.
I’m in the green room listening to it rain on the roof. It’s still a bit too chilly to use, but not if I’m layered up with a fuzzy blanket and fingerless mitts, and have the heater turned up high. There’s been a few rumbles of thunder, deep enough to make the windows rattle. The cats are unsettled by it but it makes me smile for a reason I can’t explain. There is birdsong from the back yard; blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, and the occasional crow. Winter is over, the last of the snow is melting away.
Delights: many, Happiness: mellow.
- Still unemployed
- have made 2 home brews and 1 large scale
- but a lot less stressed out about it all
- because, well COVID-19
- And social distancing is like permission for introverts to be unapologetically themselves
- everything is closed and could be for months
- which sucks huge
- am ok though, my EI is good until September.
- completed some ongoing projects
- have added more projects to the list (mending, sewing)
- I am writing again!!!
- technology lets me be close to people without being close to people.