I imagine myself in the future, on the boat, living a life of discovery spread between periods of sailing, and while doing both I will make my own chart – an experiential, emotional, visual journal of my insights and experiences, the little things I notice, the beauties I have time to draw – I will be creative and free, have time to read and watch and absorb, I think to myself. But not now – now is the laborious slog towards the dream, in which I make and do to survive the boredom of this beige and grey person I have to be to go to work each day. I work and work out and have nights out and read the odd book and sometimes do a doodle to pass the time. This is the boring bit of the adventure.
Tonight at the book festival we had Sir Andrew Motion, and I stuck around after my shift to hear him read his poetry (one poem in particular, inspired by cartography, had my imagination soaring) and answer questions from the audience. He spoke quite beautifully, humbly but great knowledge on various subjects including the best ways to write and his own methods, quoting other poets and writers along the way. I found myself fascinated and wishing I had brought a notepad because I can never remember these damn phrases that make it all make sense once I’ve left the lecture theatre.
But one impression that I have managed to retain in this sieve is to focus on things – rather than describing emotions or telling your reader what to think, let the things bring them to it, be ever observant of them around you. And on my way home I thought yes, yes, that’s what I want to do! I want to do that, and make something from it, and if the boat goes nowhere then I’ll do it from the mental institution to which I’m sectioned by the frustration. And then it occurred to me, of course, that I could do it now. That this isn’t necessarily just the boring bit. It’s the bit in which Rich and I fall ever more in love, it’s the bit in which I get to see one thing transformed slowly into another, in which I learn more and more every day. It’s a bit in which I too could give in to noticing the things, the impressions, the now, and worry less about the strains of a job that I’m only doing to pass the time.
Of course, this sort of impression comes every time I see a damn writer, or a beautiful musician, a comedian I like, artwork, whatever. I am not creating enough, but oh how they make me want to. Oh how my life is lifted by the very notion that I could. It has its end. I just thought I’d write it down while it’s still there. I wish it could be cooked up and injected straight into the brain on demand.