Blog Beginnings: Why do Writers Write?
Today I finally begin a blog. It's a funny thing. I have never had the push to write a blog before today, except in the form of material for different novels I have written over the years, in compulsive efforts to capture moments in time and pin myself into a sure and out there narrative. But today, after a heart searching few months, I have finally made friends with the idea that writing some kind of journal of thoughts, being more transparent with the everyday weavings of the happenings of my outer theatre; participating consciously in the living autoethnography of my every day life; laying myself bare and keen; putting ideas out there on a regular basis and following the pulse of creativity and an inner call for connection is a good thing to do. I have a love affair with reading the writings of people who share their souls and help illuminate mine. There is something cosy and heart affirming in sitting down with a cup of tea on a frosty morning, radio on quietly in the background, devouring with my eyes and feeding my spirit with the honest transcript of sharing from certain writer's souls. I have found a lot of grounding and holding from hearing what makes others tick, reading the truth about what people grapple with day by day and perhaps more truly what makes others feel compelled to write or to immerse themselves in a creative process. The time has come for the birthing of my own unglamorous and honest blog writing pursuit which will have no other remit but to begin a communication process with the story scape of all of our shared worlds. I am grateful also for the gentle push of one of my Publishers, Moon Books and the truth that a blog is a good way for writers to reach their readers in a more intimate and available way.
So, sitting here in this top floor cafe space on Byres Road in the West End of Glasgow, in the midst of writing this first paragraph, and wondering what diary event will start a ship sailing, a cog whirring, open up a connection to what is longing to be written about right now, perhaps unsurprisingly, reaching out and into the diary of my life, comes a phone call from my daughter. In a hushed voice I say hi, I am writing a blog. She laughs. I giggle. She knows how much of an edge this putting out my voice in the world has always been for me. I mumble about my state of being as I hold the transitional space of author, educator, film maker in study and finding myself as a mum of grown up children no longer able to hide conveniently behind the role of being a mother anymore. In writing this now, I remember how, in 2019 I wrote an autobiographical study about being bipolar for goodness sake, I mean how exposed can one be really? It was however, controlled exposure within an academic setting. There was a container that ultimately felt ok for it. But still, it was for the good of the world and it was for the good of helping others who come so close to death too at different points of their life. It was for the good of staying alive. It sounds dramatic. Yet drama is the edge we walk on, those of us who feel the transitional edges in the way feed back can come from a speaker being held too close to the mic. For me, being bi-polar has been managed through careful research of what can help me to return to centre and through allowing myself untampered access into the imaginal realms with my life's work and then, importantly, living as much as possible the style of Radiohead's 'No alarms and No Surprises.' The latter of course is never entirely possible because shit happens or new roads can suddenly open. It hits me now that perhaps this is why it has been hard for me in the last months as I feel two more of the books on the brink of going out there. It is really important for me to in some way feel a sense of control about how many people I can connect with at one time because in connection I can feel so much and easily feel overwhelmed. This quickly affects my state of balance. I have spent the last month in a state of fear of looming overwhelm as this Cancerian ascendant shore line loving personality with the conjunction of an Aries sun and moon sign in 11th house, pioneer for the greater good, finds herself letting go of the apron strings of her safe home-holding role and dropping spectacularly into a much wider, taking-her-away-from-herself ocean.
So going back to the phone call. Are you still feeling as you were at the beginning of January mum? Tsen asks. Ah no the week away in the Canary islands did me so much good. I feel like I have a window into my soul again and I am trusting in something bigger at work. One of the Lecturers at uni said something really good a couple of weeks ago, you know. What did they say? Well I was talking about the books going out there and worrying about the film making not having the space to be in my life. And he said you know Carrie, it might be that the books help the films. Ah that's so good mum. I really get that. I know it's true ay, isn't it? I mean, where did this idea that the different creative aspects of myself can somehow be at war with one another and not help one another along? Where did this idea that one of my dreams can be usurped by another? Constellation work comes to mind. Maybe my warrior nature Aries sun and moon could both do with some deep listening.
But that is for another day and another story I think. Let's go back to the phone call. Tsen started speaking about the Bronte Sisters and in particular Emily Bronte and Wuthering Heights and an acting project she is working on. I was obsessed with the Bronte Sisters as a child. I had a book about them with cartoon pictures of their lives as children growing up in the Haworth Parsonage and then their later lives. I would dream about them all the time. I knew I would be a writer when I grew up. It was years later as a teenager that I finally began to read one of their novels for English A level: the very same Wuthering Heights. But I couldn't read it. I felt the vibration of the ensuing words and pages before my eyes would touch them and this completely freaked me out. It was like a deeply disturbing supernatural experience. So I took a solitary path reading Thomas Harding's Return of the Native instead, and never really worked out what was going on there. In my 20s on my return visits to Leeds, I would visit Haworth and made the walk to West Witherns, the inspiration for Wuthering Heights, whenever I could. And here was my daughter now with the same depth of connection and wonder, following threads of inspiration and synchronicity. Well I am sure the fruits of this story will be in whatever Tsen creates, but it is interesting how Emily Bronte has walked into my first writer's blog post today. Emily Bronte: the very first girl/woman who inspired me to be a writer.
Why do writers write and artists make art? Why do musicians make music? Last night I went with Greg to see one of the Celtic Connection acts at the Glasgow Symphony Theatre. I was reminded how it was the music that brought me to Scotland. The fiddles and the drones, the harmonies and the ballads that hit me deep with a remembrance and plugged me into the land, the archetypes and the collective unconscious of art, language, human emotion and wild meaning. One of the acts were Welsh and the other a hybrid of Northern Irish, English and Scottish. I remembered my pull to Wales and my Art degree years in Cardiff. Also the anchored surety of my English homeland Leeds, nestled in the centre of the country with the Bronte Sisters ghost lines and rugged landscapes not so far away. I recall my trip to the Canary Islands last week where I met the different nations of the British Isles and how all of a sudden, as always out of Scotland, my twenty seven years/ half a life time in Scotland and parenting of two Scottish children dissolves and I am the English girlfriend of a Scottish man in technicolour. I love being English but it this is only a part of me now. These Scottish landscapes have drawn something out of me that is so deep and healing and comes from the earth, the weather and the spirits of Scotland. Another aspect of my soul has been birthed here, and yet it is invisible. The warring of these stories of identity crash through me again, reminiscent of the war between the archetypal space holders of my creative outlets. I have to stare this warrior within and outside me in the face, I know. She pushes me to create healing spaces. But the wars break my heart and I can't understand why we have to live these stories. But I guess this is why the books support the film making. The books are about healing. The films are about letting the stories come out brash to meet the world with their truths.
In 2004, I manifested a dream to for 3 months be a singer/songwriter in a band. All of my songs, were, like my art work for my degree show in Cardiff years previously, about being trapped and stuck in an identity that didn't enable my true expression. They were about roles and systems clamping us, taking charge of us. My children often laugh at my song Electric Fence, which I still have a recording of and its simplistic lyrics. Here you go, below! They make me smile now too. But at the time, they were written from a space of feeling trapped. Being isolated in the countryside with no friends close by, being in partnership and being a full time mother with the sudden and now four years constant inability to access my muse and have time for my Artist self:
Eeeeee - lectric ffffencccce
Eeeee lectric Fence
Days Running Wild
Nights Running Wild
Days Running Wild
Nights Running Wild
My books 'Story Compass' 'Trees are our Letters' and 'Shamanic Dreaming' are nothing like that. As are not 'Drum' and 'Wheel' previous self-published material. The books for my work are about instilling hope and ritual in a world where disharmony and corruption can seem to take the reins. They are about healing the war. When I write these books, the voice comes from a layer behind the lived anguish and a steady place of love and compassion that is available to us all of the time. Maybe if I wasn't so in touch with the sense of war and divided-ness within myself and the wider web of existence, I wouldn't be so compelled to dig to this place and bring it through. So many guides come from behind the veils and I am reminded how they weave so tenderly through the hearts and minds of we humans all the time. Story Compass and Trees are our Letters are both written as books to enable the process of changing the story through creative and written tasks. I am so lucky that Moon Books took them on to put them into print. Trees are our Letters breaks my heart whenever I pick it up because I know if it wasn't for my tree friends I wouldn't have found my way to my deeper nature and a balance that is essential for my being. I wrote Story Compass to help story to be understood. I wrote Trees are our Letters for the trees to be able to be known more truly and our stories to weave together on this earth more truly again. Shamanic Dreaming was born into this world through my Buffalo Woman guide who appeared mysteriously one early Summer's morning with the message for visioning a harmonic world again. I think she is so much more than I will ever know.
So why do writers write? I guess you can see from my words, that I have two writers. One of my writers digs deep from places of unrest to bring through the calm and inspirational voices of a deeper truth - that we are always connected and that it is through creative and inspirational acts that we will help mend the tears and fights in the illusional realm we habitually hang out in. My other writer is deeply lonely and repressed. She constantly feels the aches and torments of living in a world of disconnect and hate. She doesn't want to bring more pain into the world, yet she knows that it is only in allowing this expression and in holding a mirror to it to allow certain storylines and emotions to be present and to be felt that in some homeopathic way souls and stuck-ness can be released and communication paths woken up to let important stories be told and deeper power within accessed.
This writer writes because, like Emily Bronte, she feels so much more than the society rules of today can stretch to hold. She writes to break out of jail, open windows, knock down walls and replace lies with truths. This writer writes because she wants to know you and your freedom fighter too. She wants you to write if you would like to. She wants your soul to write your own story free.