Posted on January 18, 2016
I read a beautifully written piece of writing on DumboFeather about writer and extraordinary woman Maya Angelou this morning *, and I took so much away from it. Having just opened Google Docs and having had a tiny tinker with my manuscript (the word manuscript seems, in my head something that can only be a thing made of paper and words, covered in scrawled notes and scratched out bits. Mine is not that), I sighed, being tired and stuck on one scene that feels inauthentic, and so I moved to my default position when I feel a bit hopeless: Facebook.
Facebook, modern day sapper of time and inspiration (though the word sapper takes my mind off on a dance in the Italian countryside via the pages of The English Patient, and that’s not a bad thing) kills night upon night as I trawl though articles that I have little interest in, or worse, the comments section on Buy, Sell, Swap pages, before I catch myself in the total inanity of my actions.
I should be reading (books). I should be writing, I should be working, but I’m weary in the way of someone for whom a decent nights sleep is a distant memory, and the bottom(-news-)feeding is mindless. You know the drill.
Except when Facebook comes up with the goods, like it did this morning, with the aforementioned DumboFeather piece. The stories of Maya Angelou’s life are enticing, in the way that she weaves poetry sinuously throughout those accounts, which are alternatively powerful, sad and joyous. The article concludes
It is still terrifying to craft memory into writing, to transform the chaos of being alive into the wisdom of literature. And yet she persists, because, as she’s learnt after a lifetime, a bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
It is helpful to remember that we write because the stories are there, and they only emerge through hard work, but they are a song, and a great long embroidery of a hundred vignettes of memory and observation along with the confections of narrative and character.
I loved the description too, of Angelou’s marriage, and life becoming too “dry”, and I took from that the idea of remembering to add moisture, to water our loves, and not only relationships, but those things that nourish us deep inside; our friendships, our families and all of our creative endeavours. It helps, getting through the days, and the long, truly restless nights, to think of ways in which to fulfil the sources of true content and accomplisment in our lives. For some of us, that was never anything that we got paid for.
So sing, sing your heart out, for all that it’s worth.
* Not actually this morning, since it took a few days to get this to the publishing stage…
Linking up with #IBOT at Essentially Jess