Random Harvest 14: You’re Never Too Old

On the local news here in the Scottish Borders, viewers voted for their favourite Scot’s word and this actually tallies with the Scottish Book Trust’s findings. That word is dreich, (pronounced dreek), meaning long and sustained wet, foggy weather where there is not even a splinter of sunlight to shine a light. There is literally a dense grey filter in the sky. Well, it has indeed being dreich here for over a week, but just today, the frost and sparkle returned, and what a difference! When I first moved to the Borders I very quickly took to the word ‘dreich’ when I heard it being spoken, and if you roll the ‘r’ it sounds even better, with a hint of German in there too. But apart from that word popping into my head whenever I’m walking alongside the hedgerows in this weather, a nursery rhyme also drifts into my mind, proving that the inner child is always ready to stimulate us if we allow it to have a say.

Here’s the poem below, illustrated by Hilda Boswell (1903-1976)

This was in a  collection of nursery rhymes I was given for Christmas so many years ago, where the lilts and paintings imprinted themselves in my memory and imagination forever. And I know I’m not alone in this childhood memory delight. I went on to receive two more collections of illustrated fairytales and poems by Hilda in the following Christmases. Hilda worked in watercolour, which was the first painting medium I really mastered so many years later, and she loved the work of Arthur Rackham, as I do. Here is one of AR’s which I found to pop into this post to fit the mood of the dreich weather:

Now many people really don’t like this November dreich. It can bring down their mood, they may say we’ve got five more months of this to go, as if they want the time to just fly on by and then they can bask once again in whatever Mother Nature bestows upon us in the following summer months, and it surely must be sunshine. But of course, nothing is guaranteed, something we are all becoming very aware of these days with climate change so very obviously exerting effects  – like flooding, which we’ve had in the UK in the last few weeks. And at this time of year, some people are prone to seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as SAD, where depression can really set in and everything feels sluggish and oppressively dark. I know I was affected by this for one particular year.

So what can creative people do when dreich November ushers in the winter season and how does that relate to us never being too old?

Well, this is actually where creative people are quite fortunate because of what we are already predisposed to enjoy doing, and because our inner child loves to learn more. Without this inner child, I don’t believe actually enjoying, or even being, creative is possible. That’s why it has to be a case of us never being too old for new things.

So in this dreich, we can go for COLOUR. I always make sure I have a painting on the go with a daylight lamp blazing onto it. Here is the peony painting prepped for the marbling pattern to ensue.  You can see I haven’t got much further than the last time I shared this, but that’s fine, it sits there waiting for a bit more work.

We can give the light bulbs in our house a ‘review’ and see if some of them could do with a power boost to brighten the ambiance. We can utilise a bit of light therapy with a daylight lamp on our writing desk or painting desk.

We can get out and exercise when the rain stops. Just go for it before the rain returns,  you’ll feel better for it. In the misty moist you’ll be glad to get into the warmth when you get home. In the frosts you can savour the scintillating splendour and soak up some sunlight.

We can enjoy wearing scarves, hats, or jumpers, with multi-coloured yarns, that we may have knitted or crocheted ourselves, or have bought in a craft shop, or have been given by a friend. These have a cosy glow all of their own.

We can craft our way through the dull days, where one project soon leads on to another and another, as the inner child gathers momentum. It’s the ideal time to try something new.

This is my current crochet project :

I never ever though I could learn to do afghan squares. I never ever thought I could crochet a hat for myself, but I now have two. I know it must seem as if I do all sorts but I’ve been at this creative life for a while now. I’m 57, so I’ve had time to learn and develop new creative passions to express myself. The idea of letting one go because I have embraced the challenge of another is anathema to me, and creativity, by nature, doesn’t like being restricted, as I’m sure many of you know and understand all too well. I sometimes worry that doing more than one creative ‘craft’ can be interpreted as not taking each one seriously, or not deciding which is really ‘you’, with the subliminal message being you can’t be a committed writer as well as a committed artist.  Obviously, you have to prioritise one over the other when necessary – that’s a given. But there are so few blogs for people doing more than one creative pursuit, that it often feels to me that you must be purist to be professional. One creative person I know who springs to mind, relies upon being multidisciplinary – and that’s my online pal, Andy Pope, who writes, composes, and performs. That’s how he came to write a musical for the theatre. As my thinking escalates, maybe this is a topic best left to a future post :>) Well, I am bound to two purist pursuits and they feed eachother well for me. Writing and painting are my priority work, with crochet and sewing for leisure, and I’m very pleased to get this off my chest!

Going back to the dreich of the season,  we can write and escape into another world where the time really does fly by, but where you do not have to suffer the pull of the outdoors, where the sun marches through the window and taps on your shoulder saying Hey, you can’t ignore me! Get yourself out! With dreich weather we are sanctioned to stay in.

Another thing I never thought I’d be able to do is design ads and promotion visuals to advertise my novels or anything else I need to draw attention to. In the past I had the ideas but had to get my hubby to help, and that sometimes became quite fraught ;>) Arty versus techy can be a volatile mix. But in the last few weeks, I have found such pleasure in this design work, primarily due to a slow building up of skills over the years, and then finding the wonderful free designing website of CANVA. If any of you are curious, I urge you to have a play. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you. Another site that some writers amongst you may like (for those of you who don’t know about it already) is HERE  for 3D images of your books. So simple and free to use and the designs look great – I’ll share one next time.

And in the last few days I’ve been ready to press the publishing button for After Black – feeling this strange sense of tense suspended animation. Then this morning, I thought, enough is enough, and the button is now pressed! It will take a little while to become active, and I guess I will have to designate a ‘launch’ day, which doesn’t come instinctively to me at all. But at least my inner child has let go of their paper boat from the side of the pond in the park and the boat has sailed into the mist. And I’ve decided that the approach to Christmas time is a touch of serendipity as  the story begins straight after Christmas.

Here’s hoping you are all keeping warm, enjoying your crafts, whatever they happen to be, and remember to nourish your inner child – you really are never too old.

(PS the home flooring plans went from plan A to B to C  – but all sorted now!)























About lynnefisher

Writer and visual artist living in Scotland, INFJ type Writer's blog: lynnefisher.wordpress.com Art: lynnehenderson.co.uk Twitter @writeartblog Writers page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnefisherheadtoheadhearttoheart/ Artists page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnehendersonartist/
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14 Responses to Random Harvest 14: You’re Never Too Old

  1. galenpearl says:

    Dreich — another word for typical winter weather in the Pacific Northwest! All your coping strategies are very helpful. I used to use a special “light box” in the winter to simulate sunlight. But in recent years, I have begun to embrace the damp and darkness. Now I love the burrowing into the dark mystery, and nature’s invitation to rest and turn inward.

    And wow, you are multi-talented. I bet you are never bored.

    And finally, congratulations on your new book–can’t wait to read it! I so enjoyed the first one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thank you, Galen! I think I must be embracing the dark too – I adopt a different mindset now, the burrowing is brilliant for sanctioning staying indoors to create which I simply feel driven to do come what may. And I do hope you enjoy After Black, thank you for this too!


  2. Congrats on pressing the button. That must’ve felt good. I struggle with making time for any creative work these days. I feel like my writing, which is my work in the world, zaps some of my creative writing motivation. I used to love to craft and explore with all sorts of arts and craft medium. Alas, I’ve grown stale. Your post inspires me though, so thank you. I have a writing deadline today and one next week and then I’m giving myself some time off to putter and play! Dreich–who knew! Great word.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thanks, Cheryl! It felt strange to press the button after all the work, but needed doing to move to the next phase! I can totally understand why writing for work saps (as well as zaps) the creative motivation. I hope you get some mojo back with your time off, and in any case I’m sure you’ll get back to ‘crafting’ wehn you have the space for it. It wouldn’t work trying to cram it in, so go easy on yourself. Cheers for now!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rick Ellrod says:

    Cheers for the multidisciplinary. I love writing and also composing — and neither one is my actual job. The only trouble is finding time for it all . . .


    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are fortunate to have more than one creative outlet. Who defines “committed” anyway? I am fully committed to my writing even though I have to work a full time job. No one has the right to judge the priorities in our lives or decide what our commitments should be. The world has too many armchair critics, and I refuse to listen to them!

    Congratulations on the release of your book, and the painting is beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lynnefisher says:

      Many thanks, Alexander, that’s so appreciated. I am indeed lucky to have more than one outlet and the time in which to do them. It’s that old comparing oneself with others which hampers me sometimes, but I keep working on it! Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. G. J. Jolly says:

    I had to look up the word dreich because I’m here in the US. I think I like it better than our word, dreary. I live in Tennessee where the climate is similar to yours, although we dread ice storms more than floods. With that said though, the lower land will get rather soggy. I’m not a visual artist but I do love to write. On days of dreich weather, I turn on a light and run my fingers over the keyboard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Soggy fits dreich well! Yes, you have to watch out for so much more where you are. We get the flooding, but no ice storms. Having said this, the way the planet is going we might all be getting more extremes! Loving your last sentence – just perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

      • G. J. Jolly says:

        Way long ago I played the piano, flute, and guitar. Because of the disability I acquired though, my days of music are gone. Such is life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lynnefisher says:

        That’s very tough going for you. I remember my grandma had to stop playing the piano which she used to teach and perform, when she got Parkinson’s disease. I was really upset for her as a young girl, but we have to keep moving on through life, I guess, learn new things and ways of being and be grateful for our present abilities while we have them. A very grounding message for this post, G.J. and I thank you :>)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Bryan Wagner says:

    I think we are conditioned to be GOOD at something because we need a reason for doing it. We were never taught the value of Doing. Only doing for something as return. It’s so much more interesting to write a poem that will never be read, paint and draw those things that no one sees, sing alone, dance in the light of the moon, and realize that we are all just a tiny arc in a greater circle.
    Love the post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      That’s so nicely said, Bryan. That’s exactly it – we are meant to have a reason or have something to gain or prove. There is such pleasure in just doing and making something unique just for its own sake (because it has a kind of life when you bring it into being) and one’s own. Many thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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