Island Blog – A Gentle Circle

When I write I feel better than I did with all those words and feelings and observations twinging about in my head. They circle like planets, a circumcircle within triangular sharps. As I move to sit here at my desk and lift my fingers to the qwerty keyboard, I sense freedom. From here I can fly my words , no, not fly, because flying is random and words must needs sentence up, find rhythm and then there’s grammar and punctuation and la la tiddly pom, all sharping their own sense of self, of importance, of an importance to the whole and quite right too. The one who drives the forward beast, horse, bus, train, plane is no good on his or her team. Every other who takes a part takes a vital part. I mean, just imagine the world without full stops or question marks or spellcheck? Well, I can, actually. Many and I mean ‘many’ letters (did I sound old fashioned there?) or emails astonish me with their obviously random dance into the world of grammar, spelling, sentence building, the verb in the right place, ditto the noun. For me this is basic material but, and but again, I am one who believes that language moves on and changes and so should we, even as I squeak at grammar ghastlies. But I am not a grammarphobe. Jeez no. Life needs to move on and btw She is not moving on without me.

No matter the day or the previous night. No matter the weather or the to-do list, or lack of one, I find joy in so many things. No, not things, although the things are things. Like the rose bush outside my window. I watch it. I see the blooms bud, open and fall in just 3 or 4 days. Something I could miss if I wasn’t watching. I go out barefoot (it is essential to feel the wet grass under my feet) and smell the fragrance. I know is isn’t perfect for these sentient plants, they know the climate is changing and that they need to burgeon quickquick before another and unseasonal gale wheechs their beauty into nevernever. I walk and see 3 bullfinch, such a gasp of beauty, lift from the undergrowth, chirping danger and warning to their one chick. They are teaching it to fly. I knew it. I hear gulls in a frenzy and know I will find a big bird somewhere out there, a sea-eagle, a buzzard, maybe a kite. The dingdong goes on until they wild into the sky, the big bird and the hecklers, white white against a grey skyfold. And then I write. Not about the missing, about the emptiness or the triangular sharps, for within is a gentle circle.

Like grammar. I must move on.

Island Blog – The Sky, Skerries and Staying

Today it is falling, the sky I mean. Earlier the pocks of deeper grey sat like skerries in a white sea. A few spots of soft rain fell, hardly worth a mention, but the wind was cooler than of late. Now the sky is leaking down onto the land, covering the hills, blanking out the trees, undefining contours of a land I know like I know myself. But do I know myself, I wonder? I think I do, and yet, there are times I catch my reflection and stop, mildly astonished (oxymoron). You do know, I tell myself in my best English student remonstratory voice, that it is impossible to be mildly astonished. This is lazy ‘speke’. Astonished, is, after all, a superlative and ‘mildly’ does little more than dilute with too much milk. It blands itself. And it thinks me.

I studied and loved language. English, French, German, even Latin, and am still a devotee of the way language flows like a river. Or it can do but, if I am honest, less and less nowadays in the ways learned by me. I remember my old dad with his linguistic brilliance, puffing like an old pipe should he encounter poor English, poor grammar, the ‘wrong’ use of punctuation. I also recall a conversation with him about acceptance. As cultures collide and collude, language shifts. We adopt and adapt and before we know it, words fall away like birds. When I read a classic novel, superbly crafted and written, it seems effortlessly and in lingual confidence, I can see that without incursive verbalism such writing would indeed flow like a river for a creator of stories. So do we, the now ‘we’, who must work with the fast moving changes of our world, go with what is, or resist and remain in academic slippers? We could, but we would risk losing a load of readers because language is changing. We might find ourselves moving up a floor, and up again, until the only person left is a lonely one. All the rest have died off, and their slippers are too worn for a charity shop, and burned as litter.

I find new language dynamic and fascinating, even as my eyes roll at much of what I read. Get with it old woman, I tell myself, because if you do, you remain in the game, the game that is life in motion. To refuse to abdicate the throne of those torn and floppy slippers is to choose loneliness. As writers, and we can all be a writer if we just pick up a pen and are ready to learn and grow in the world of words, we are duty bound to be gymnasts. Not actually gymnasts, the thought exhausts me, but acceptance gymnasts. There is another type, the one that holds on to the slippers for grounding, and who does a lot of eye rolling and pipe puffing and shuffles from room to room as if there is no world out there and if there is then I want none of it. I am not this person.

We live with danger, threat and menace. We are hacked and hi-jacked. We are compromised, surprised, confined and defined. Out there racial and sexual prejudice is alive and kicking, literally. The sky is falling. But wait. Look at how the sky reaches down both to confuse and to alter our perceptional lens. See how, in the not-seeing of what we know invites us to look at something another way. We can dismiss this as an opportunity, ignore it, even, say Mist, say Fog, say Close the Curtains. Or we can actually look and if we do, we will marvel. It is the same with words, with language, with change and with people. I get that it is exhausting (nearly said pretty exhausting #oxymoron) to be always required to adapt and adopt, but it is the way the world is spinning, faster and faster. New technology brings both healing and death, the whole circle, and the greys in between are like the skerries in a white sky sea. There are millions of them and each one offers footfall. They are like stepping stones. We might not know where they lead but if we don’t keep leaping from one to the next, we remain lonely, in slippers and pipe puffing at what only we consider lost.

I can write into the mist, or it can blind me. I can see banks of clouds or I can see skerries in a white sea. I can allow new cultures to enhance me or inhibit. I can hold to the old or I can estew the new, allowing myself to simmer and to blend with whatever comes in. Together we can make a delicious meal. I am not a new writer. I am honed from past teachings but I am curious and interested and I want to stay in the game.