If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the fact that very rarely are one’s thoughts, feelings, and dilemmas, entirely unique to oneself. And this can be immensely reassuring for us all, as well as being a great form of human connection between us. It’s a massive reason why I feel happy and suitably ‘qualified’ to write realist fiction at this time in my life. So I was wondering what I could talk about in this Christmas post and the word ‘stuck’ popped into my head. So what do I mean by this?
Well no matter how constructive I’m sure many of you have been during these times of restrictions due to covid 19, no matter how resourceful, I’m betting many of us have been feeling stuck, stranded, stymied and at a standstill. Because if we are being responsible living with the virus in our midst, then we will have been following the rules, and following these rules has been restrictive, confusing, literally at times stifling, with mask wearing, and ultimately we’ve been forced to stay where we are, both geographically and socially. No new places to go to and explore and no new interesting people to meet. For many it has been brutally lonely and isolating, and for all of us it is, and has been, a threat to our well-being both psychologically and emotionally. Just knowing that the barriers are there has an oppressive subliminal effect. We’ve used our heads to cope with Covid 19 and the prospect of a workable vaccine, along with all the political upheavals but what about our hearts? The heart we put into our creative life and the heart we put into our well-being, our personal growth?
If we think of ourselves as a boat on an ocean, navigating our way through life, moving in new directions, following fresh currents, discovering and exploring new coastlines, new cultures, while fishing for new creative ideas and inspirations along the way, then we can see that our 2020 Covid life has forced us to remain high and dry on the shore, far from the reach of the tide and all that the ocean of life has to offer. We know that a vaccine might help to make that tide creep towards our boat, so we can get it moving again, and that is something to be so immensely grateful for, but we have no real idea of how long it will take and when that will be possible. We just don’t know. And after all these months of restriction, many of us won’t even be able to visualise it on the horizon, not with new strains of the virus making an appearance like an actor taking his cue to walk on stage and add further tension to the dramatic arc of the play. Just the other day, it was confirmed that here in the UK, in England and Wales, is a new variant of the virus, with a higher infection rate, so on Boxing Day here in Scotland we are pretty much going into full lockdown again for at least three weeks, as superbly guided by our first minster, Nicola Sturgeon. It’s so hard to take this is in, never mind the repercussions that will reverberate from this new development for people’s jobs, mental health, and the economy. And at times, it feels like life has seriously changed for many years to come. So where do we find any forward movement in our lives?
Now, I’m sure many of us have been carrying on with our creative projects regardless, because a lot of that drive comes from within and the creative nuts we may have stored previously for ‘rainy’ days. I know I’ve been painting and writing as usual. I have been going along at a slower pace though, because family relationships became very important throughout the year and that’s been a really good thing – a high priority thing. But increasingly, I find myself yearning for more freedom, or just the knowledge that the freedoms are there, should I feel so moved to make use of them. And I think this need is an aspect of personal development and the desire to reach our full potential. We need to feel a sense of forward movement. You could call it, a sense of flow. It’s in our human nature and our creative nature. And this flow is accessed through tangible stimuli. You can see, taste, smell, hear, and touch aspects of our environment to trigger our flow. You can’t find these on Zoom, Twitter, or Facebook.
So my Christmas wish is for some forward movement for myself, for you, and for everyone who has been feeling stuck. Until our tide comes in, all we can do is keep the faith, stay as safe as we can, keep others safe, and know that freedom will be ours again and that we will relish it all the more after its absence. What we can do in the meantime is to explore the shore we are stranded on and learn what we can from there.
Just like I happen to be doing in my current WIP painting, where I’m defining the sand, pebbles and shells in the foreground, while the sea lies calmly waiting.
But we can also look out at that sea and decide where we might like to go, what we might like to do, on our near or far horizons, when the time is right. Until then, we wait, but carry on creating.
Here is the finished wall hanging I showed the stages of in my last post and I’m so happy I went back in to enhance it.
Wishing you all this and a Happy Christmas! I’ll be back with some more topics in 2021. Until then, a Xmas card from my part of the world, in a cottage in the Scottish Borders, from me to you. There’s no snow yet, but it might be on its way in the weeks to come. Take care of yourselves, and do let me know how you are doing :>)