Blog Post: Writer’s Block

There are few things more disheartening to a writer than acknowledging and admitting that they are experiencing writer’s block. Yet, this is where I find myself. Once again I am staring at a screen trying to find words to tell a story that I know every minute detail of. Trying though to put the words down is like writing in a foreign language, the words I use never seem right, nor do they do justice to the story I am trying to tell.

Like all things I know this time will pass, but now more than ever I am ready to embrace writing as a focus within my life. Indeed my work has improved, and been published this year, and I have found in poetry a means of expressing myself that I never truly believed I’d be able to access.

With time away from college, and prior to starting University in September I wanted to reflect on where this inability to engage with my work comes from, and the only correlation I can find stems from my experiences of depression. It is often when I am most depressed that I turn to writing, and in some respects that may be what happened last year.

Last September I was faced with my worst nightmare, and though I lived through it, my mother did not. My family lost her to sepsis, suddenly and gave us no chance to say goodbye. Twelve months have passed, enough time for the people around us to return to their lives, forgetting that ours would never be the same, nor any of us the same people.

As a full-time carer of a sibling with significant support needs, I had to step away from work and the burden of supporting someone with limited understanding through grief has been harrowing and beautiful, much like my mother’s death itself. I returned though to college even before my mother’s funeral, because I knew that if I gave up on writing then, I would never return to it, and not only did I complete my course, but got the A required to study at my university of choice.

I did all of this either sleeping on a floor, or a couch or eventually sharing a bed with my other brother. I have a flat twenty minutes from my parents house that I have been to seven times in the last year, and have slept in once since my mother passed away. The displacement which has come with facilitating the need of my family, has inadvertently stripped me of my entire way of life. No home, no possessions, no time to myself. Two or three hours of sleep per night, and no income other than student bursary. This is just the tip of the iceberg that has been my life, but it is something I have had to acknowledge and doing so leaves me with little else other than my pride.

And yet pride, is probably the thing I struggle with most. I find it difficult to commend myself, but this is something that I am working on and when I do stop to acknowledge the things I have done in this year alone I realise I have the potential to do so much more, but first I had to give myself the time to mourn, to grieve and to recover. Once my course was over, I found myself at home almost every day, with no work, and no time to get a job I was forced to acknowledge how hard this has been. But doing so was as necessary for the benefit of my own mental wellbeing, as it was for those I cared for.

I will start writing with purpose again soon, of that I’m sure. Until then, I will write. Whatever comes to mind, and when it becomes purposeful, I shall remember that time doing nothing can still be time being spent productively.

Zanze: Where Am I ?

Where am I now? Still lost at sea,

In an ocean of my own tears.

Lost like light on the horizon;

Then returning to sink again.

Where am I now? Still lost.

Have I been here before?

Asking the same questions

And answers do not change.

Where am I now?

I’ll ask again.

I look for

Finality.

Where am

I going if

Not forward? Ever on.

Where am I now? Lost at sea.

Sonnet: Hear the Silence

Sometimes the silence is too difficult

To listen to, to hear, to acknowledge

It can be filled, but it always returns

Every return harder to filter.

 

Each time that you are forced to acknowledge,

That the only voice, for that you listen,

Is the voice you must accept, you cannot

Hear again, as it is already gone.

 

Last words mouthed, but not spoken aloud

And then you were gone, though I sat with you

Surrounded in love as you said goodbye

To us, to life, to the world that you knew.

 

Rejoining your family, already

Departed. You will wait for us to come.

Response to: On Holiday

My response to the post: On Holiday

 

I’ve been in a cottage in Skye now for three days. A holiday that was almost cancelled at the ninth, tenth, and eleventh hour. Yet one which thankfully went ahead.

After mum passed in September, we had no choice but to pull together as a family. This wasn’t hard to do. Crisis and personal sacrifice seem to be the norm for our family, but without mum with us to guide us it has been so much harder than ever before to feel like what we are doing is right, and that we are doing enough.

Having to build your day around the support of someone else, regardless of who that person is, and regardless of the love you may have for them, you can’t help but feel when your life changes as a result of someone else needs.

Despite this, my family, both of my brothers and my father are closer than ever, but hard hit by the magnitude of what we have lost. Mum meant so much to each of us, as individuals we mourn her loss, but stand by one another ensuring where possible that we are there for each other as much as we can be.

But a part of caring for another person, is making sure you take time to care for yourself, and my older brother and I took advantage of the cottage I had booked for my one year anniversary. While the relationship that the holiday was meant to mark did not last, the holiday itself came at a time in our lives where it could be properly taken advantage of.

Already three months have passed since my mum passed, and in that time we have had so little time to stop and do for ourselves anything that we require.

Throughout my time mourning, I have channelled my focus into creativity. I am lucky, I had just started a new and exciting college course just before my mum passed. I returned as soon as I could to continue with the course. I found that the focus and channeling of energy into producing the content required for my assessments gave me a means of pushing forward, productively, even on the hardest days.

I have pushed really hard to meet deadlines and finish tasks as close to the original timeline as possible, and although I have only a couple outstanding now, it is now that I slow down, that I allow myself the opportunity to switch off, that I find myself unable to focus on the things I need to write. 

I will likely miss more deadlines, and I am disappointed in myself that I have let that happen, but I am also proud of what I have accomplished so far, and look forward to continuing.

So for now, I will take a break, deserved or not. And after I am rested, I look forward to being ready to write again.

Sonnet: Goodbye Mother

The difference between sickness and death,

The same as breathing and that final breath.

Remarkable in its finality,

Comfort and grief, a strange duality.

 

From my world of hurt, pain unlike any other

Repress the pain of losing a mother.

It cannot be done I have come to learn

To get by yourself you have to discern.

 

A new path. Unlocked, without her guidance,

Staying true to course, avoid subsidence.

Darkness awaits the hearts of those who fall

Those who obsess over that final call.

 

Goodbye is hard, but suffering harder,

Permission to pass, no need to martyr.

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