Hmm, creative hinterland. Yesterday’s post was a biggie, but it’s not exactly an evolving topic – it is what it is and I feel how I feel. At the heart of it though there is still a tension, once which exists in much of my achievements or breakthroughs – whether or not this actually makes any difference at all to me.

Immediately after talking through it all with W2B (I needed a reusable moniker) I felt solemn, and she felt elated. But I’ve been here before, or at least to many moments where I felt as if I’d crested a huge obstacle, only to look up and see with falling heart that the real challenge still lay ahead – the DOING or CARRYING OUT of what I’d realised.

Because I guess I still feel little trust in myself not to backslide, or not to go through a realisation and then fail to act upon that, or in a less self-punishing way, that the realisation was external or not really natural and that in itself it doesn’t change me at all. That it was just a thought, and had no power. So that’s how I felt last night.

She was pretty alarmed, distressed, whatever that I wasn’t jumping around for joy. But I was already looking up and seeing that climb, sensing that the hardest task was now unfolding, already sensing the effort that would be needed to translate the distance we’d gone in talking into real effects by taking action. I was already doubting I had the stones to do it.

I think as a rule I’ve been pretty hard on myself for an awfully long time. The way that affected my writing was I demanded something that was ‘worth it’ immediately, that I couldn’t possibly pursue writing unless I clearly had something major going on. And since I was hard on myself, I was never going to see anything but super-perfection as ‘worth it’.

This, perhaps, goes some way to explaining the honesty thing – I was trying to be better than myself, to echo what I’d decided was good, instead of exposing what made me, me, the issues I wanted to write about, not just what I’d enjoyed reading or watching. For the longest time I couldn’t think about writing anything to ‘say’ anything, because I had no idea about anything to say, because I wasn’t exploring what I wanted to say.

Tonight I’m not going to enforce the wordcount or time. I’m exhausted, and not just from exercise or work (having got home at 9pm). There’s so much going on with our long-distance communication, with my hopes for the poem (which I haven’t worked on this week) with my fears that I won’t ‘live up to’ this latest realisation, with a lot of issues that have nothing to do with writing but everything to do with my future. I have to know when to stop, recharge and come back refreshed.

About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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