April 18, 2021•631 words
The first words can be daunting. It's something that I haven't touched on for many years, and to go back to it fills me both with fear and excitement.
Both sensations are obvious and understandable. The fear comes from not being sure about what I will write. Will I have creative ideas? Will my writing be interesting or captivating, in the same way that I find myself captivated by other writers? The excitement born out of the ideas of rediscovery and exploration. Reconnecting with something that opened my emotions, served as an outlet for frustrations and joys, and helped make sense of the world around me, and my place in it. The possibility of taking it further.
My reading habits have varied hugely over the years. When I was younger I read fiction almost exclusively. As I got older I found myself, or the logical part of me, being less enthralled by creative writing and I developed a hunger for knowledge, facts, reality. I started consuming non-fiction.
A combination of history and science. Everything from biographies of pivotal historical figures, to anthropological studies in areas of history about which I knew less, to books on the theory of relativity, quantum physics, and the atomic bomb.
With my full-time job taking up my weekdays, and writing music at the weekends, my reading time was restricted to bed time. Inevitably I would read myself to sleep after a few pages, and my reading pace dropped. Long non-fiction books would take me months to read.
Since quitting web development work and focusing full-time on music, I now have free time at the weekends. It took time to adjust - I would find myself wondering what to do with this time, and the feeling that I should be working on music was overpowering. It required strength of will to strictly ban myself from going back into the studio.
Now I look forward to this downtime. I found myself drifting away from non-fiction and rediscovered science-fiction novels in the form of "hard science fiction", a genre which tends to stick to the laws of physics. This satisfied the logical side of me, the one I'd been feeding a diet of ground science books. I didn't realise it at the time, but it was a bridge between non-fiction and fiction, satisfying both sides.
I found my reading pace increased, with Saturdays or Sundays on the couch listening to records and consuming chapter after chapter. It was refreshing.
Now I find myself back reading regular fiction, and enjoying it. This triggered memories of how I used to write regularly when I was younger. I wrote reams of poetry, and delved into short stories. I'm not sure of the exact point at which I stopped writing, though I feel it coincided with working full-time and trying to earn a living. Funnelling creative energy into music composition and production would have played a role.
Time. Having time to think and reflect. For ideas to percolate. For sentences to float in the mind and mingle and splinter. This feels to be the key for me. It is nearly two years since I stopped developing websites. To say it has taken that long to recover sounds over-dramatic - it was not something I loathed. I found it innately satisfying. It fed the logical part of my brain, and my creative side snacked on my musical endeavours.
I have re-learned how to be at rest. To not feel guilt that I am not doing something. Writing again does not feel like I am finding a thing to do, it feels like it is a part of being at rest - allowing my mind to travel freely and openly.
It may come to nothing. Importantly it doesn't need to be anything. Exploration, enjoyment, self-discovery.