Thursday, 8 October 2009

on life and difficulty

What was the first line of Scott M. Peck's The Road Less Travelled? Something like 'Life is difficult'.

Interesting opening line to a book. One which I agree with overall - from my experience as a social worker and in my own life. It's why I'm drawn to write, and also why I veer towards difficult subject matter in my writing.

But, when life is difficult, reading (or writing) about life being difficult is not good for me.

This week has been particularly hard, for various reasons. I've struggled with anxiety more than usual. I've had to take a few days off work. I've had to cancel reading poetry in Blackpool today (which is so annoying, as I was really excited about it). A few other things have been put on hold, while I wait to see whether things get easier.

So, I turned to good literature. I'm reading Sarah Water's The Night Watch. Brilliant novel. Only, I found it impossible to read the scene where Viv goes for an abortion and it goes horribly wrong. It made me feel sick reading it, and I had to skim my way through it, avoiding any details. Perhaps it's a particularly gruesome part of the book anyway. But, with the way I'm feeing right now, I couldn't stomach it, it made me feel more anxious.

I tried writing, but my inner critic was wailing at me, you're no good, what you writing that crap for? I guess other writers might be able to relate to that?

So, I decided that perhaps I needed to get out of the house and not read or write at all.

I went for a walk round Chorlton Waterpark, along the river Mersey to Jackson's Boat. It sounds more beautiful than it is, what with the motorway close by and the power plant, but it is still beautiful. Especially with all the Autumn leaves, and especially at dusk. I took this photograph as a reminder that sometimes books and writing are not the answer, but there are many other answers out there, I've just got to get out and find them...


Anonymous said...

Oh, the inner critic. Despicable character. Didn't you once refer to it as your inner ferret? I remember going to Jackson's Boat as a kid, probably because it was strictly out of bounds. No motorway then of course, in fact not much of anything other than a river and rickety old bridge.

Megan said...

beautiful. autumn dusk, love it. and you're probably writing even when you're not writing Annie.

But mostly, sending love and thoughts. Hope things get easier soon

sonia said...

yes I recognise that feeling - that inner critic. i sometimes get stuck and don't want to feel better but my friend suggested a walk and without expecting to i felt better. the yellow and lime leaves made it feel like it was sunny on a very grey day.