|Lost by Frederick McCubbin, 1886|
Though I am almost always reading something, I have felt a particular need for story lately, so I have turned to novels. They help to distract me from my own thoughts, and to feed my soul. There are two I would like to mention—the kind of rare books that not only tell a compelling story, but are also just what I needed, with much wisdom to relay; and both deal with shamanism:
They aren’t just entertainment.
Don’t be fooled.
They are all we have, you see,
all we have to fight off
illness and death.
You don’t have anything
if you don’t have stories. (2)
For her life, like human life everywhere on the planet, had speeded up and speeded up until peace was rarely possible. Always there was movement, noise, inevitable and constant distraction … A madness has seized earth. The madness of speed. As if to speed things up meant to actually go somewhere. And where, after all, was there to go? The present is all there ever is, no matter how you lean forward or back. (28)
For a few years I have been doing ‘Morning Pages’, as based on Julia Cameron’s model from The Artist’s Way (1992). Though I cheat a little, typing them, instead of handwriting as advised. And I don’t always do them in the morning either. But I’ve found that this year I have not stuck to my daily practice. Partly this was because I was beginning to get bored, and needed a change; and then when I started blogging I was doing quite a lot of other writing anyway. Nevertheless, recently I have returned to the work, realising (as I have known from the beginning), that regular writing not only helps to keep the River of Creativity flowing, but it is also therapeutic. It helps me to get irritating or upsetting thoughts out of my head and onto the page, where they do far less damage, and to boost my positivity and self-belief, so that I sail above negative feelings, rather than being dragged down by them. It may not always be the best writing—in fact, mostly it is terrible—but it is healing writing, which engenders motivation, inspiration and ideas, and therefore it is invaluable.
So, while I’m not out of the woods yet, I think I’ve found a forest path I quite like. I will follow it.