I used to write, a lot. Back in 2012/2013 I was blogging 3 or 4 times a week on here, and writing frequent guest posts in various other places too. My written output has steadily declined since then. I’ve only written 10 posts in the last six months, and several of those have been written primarily to show new and emerging art.

I feel rusty, yet for some time there’s been a loop playing in the back of my mind, telling me to return to writing. I feel a need to stretch this form of creativity again, but a decline in my mental health over the past couple of years in particular, has helped make it all too easy to ignore. I might write on the theme of doubt, depression and burnout once I get into my stride, but for now…

Thanks to the support of family and friends, and regular counselling, I feel ready to go again. I put this note on Twitter a few days ago:

I am going to write a series of ‘active’ pieces about work. Each piece will have an ‘ing’ title, for example: Giving. Asking. Making. Facilitating. Connecting. This will be a way for me to restart the writing process, and get back into a habit of sharing stuff. I am currently struggling to commit – I think I need to embody the Consulting Artist tag more wholeheartedly, and this feels like a good way to get better at that.

So here it is, the introduction to a new body of work, this series of active posts. In itself it’s not much, and yet it feels important to me, the right way to (re)start. More to follow…soon.

The Writer and The Archivist

The Writer

This is my 801st blog post. Eight hundred and firrrrrrrrrrssssssssttttt. That’s a lot of words, pictures, songs, and even the odd verse. There are times when the writing feels good, and times when putting fingers to keyboard feels like choking on sand. I once wrote every weekday for a month, and more recently, I see bigger gaps, longer spaces appearing between the writing. I worried a while about these gaps, not any more. There are times when I feel useful ideas, thoughts, and feelings stacking up in joyful abundance, and times when I feel it’s all been said. As Neil Usher puts it so wonderfully here in his penultimate post, that feeling is the Elemental Block.

Maybe it has all been said, Maybe the song remains the same, maybe the tune is different. And maybe not. I wrote a lot about death when my Dad died. That song, those verses, they’d not been written, spoken, sung before. I recently discovered a copy of the eulogy I wrote and read for Dad at his funeral. I’ve previously shared what Keira wrote and spoke at that time, and my words are currently not published. Maybe they should be…

The Archivist

…put out there, into the online archive. This simple opportunity that we have to write, publish and be damned, feels useful. I spotted a tweet from Gary Cookson a few days ago, marking the one year anniversary of his blog. Milestones matter. His tweet drew me to my own situation, 800 down, how many more to go? It struck me that I very rarely look back at this work. In rectifying this today (an experience i have largely enjoyed), two things in particular are dawning on me.

A lot of the writing itself is clunky, poor even. In the spirit of working out loud that’s fine – and I’m conscious too that writing is an art form, and is therefore subjective. Spelling and grammar aside, it isn’t right or wrong, it is right and wrong. Scratch that, it just…is.

There are threads, single strands from long ago, now woven into something stronger. There are seeds, planted way back when, which now stand as plants – more fully formed ideas. I’m thinking a lot about legacy at the moment, and I hadn’t previously appreciated the extent to which those things which currently matter to me, have probably always done so.

Update: I received some kind feedback from Broc Edwards, via Twitter. He tried to post this comment directly but couldn’t due to ongoing tech problems I’m experiencing on this site. Thanks Broc – I really appreciate you being in touch.

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