It’s been 28 posts and this is the first one I think I’ve sat down to write in order to actually get myself writing, and writing other stuff. Having said that I’ve just spent 10 minutes looking at roman numerals and making sure that I’ve got it right. So my procrastination isn’t exactly vanquished.

So that’s the situation now – with a lot of help I’ve systematically swept away all the nonsense worries which gave me an auto-procrastination… something or other. All those daft doubts which kept me away from thinking about what’s really interesting, or to be less damning, I’ve just cleared my desk of all the baggage that was cluttering it up, and revealed the blank pages I can now start on.

At which point I start worrying about roman numerals. I’ve caught myself though, and got started spooling out whatever is up there right now that needs to come out, not forcing myself to re-examine similar ground, but listening to where I am. As a result, I’m getting less rehearsed lines, less well-worn examinations and conclusions. This is very haphazard now, not that this is a bad thing.

I haven’t written a post for days, much less actually done any writing at all in more than a week. In fact the last thing I wrote was after a very intense few days, and what I produced was also quite haphazard, unformed, but there was something worthy at the heart of it, something I was trying to achieve. It’s not an idea I’ve worked at in my head for very long, so we’re talking the first moments of a possible story, trying to breathe.

I’m not pushing it, perhaps because I expected more of it from the off and I’ve found it’s actually just as unpinned as the poem became. Again, the competition being no longer an issue has meant I can take a step back and breathe in the ideas, the distance I’d taken them, see what they do in my head without attempting to force something – a deadline, a turn of narrative, a sense of atmosphere – on what I’ve got, clumsily.

Yet. It’s a cycle I’m familiar with, which if I can draw a lazy example from I *heart* Huckabees (which I just finished watching, thinking it would prompt me to want to write again) what I’ve got now is the Pure Being. Or, as we’ll all remember it more fondly, The Ball Thing. And, soon enough, it’s human drama whirling back in on the scene. Or, in my case it’s going from a relaxed and open listening to myself to myself somehow taking that so far I’m not attempting to do anything with the relaxed and openness.

Am I making any sense? I’m in new territory here, I’ve not really grappled with this particular cycle with such awareness before, I’m asking basic questions – in fact, no, I’m not asking questions. That’s part of the peace I’ve achieved at the top of this cycle, a sort of escape from the questions I’ve made a history of asking, “Why is it?”, “Why am I?”, “Why can’t I?”, all those questions have gone, because I finally became able to absorb the answers I already had.

If I’m at the top of this cycle, there’s only two ways to go. One way, though I’ve never done it like this, with an alertness to the cycle itself and where it’s leading me, one way is to be hurled again once more around the circle, breeding doubts about the answers I hold and returning to the same questions, struggling to find or invent different answers which never take hold because they’re fabricated, struggling to accept the answers are, literally, me. Until if I’m lucky (and given the new awareness it shouldn’t be unexpected) I have another moment of clarity and pull myself back to this point.

That’s not particularly healthy, I don’t think, even if I have got a new perspective on it – though that’s not 100% guaranteed, much like a reincarnated soul who resolves to do everything differently the second time around, only to lose hold of all that previously won experience and knowledge in the unstructured baby/child/hormone-fulled-teenager development, and end up making the same mistakes and have to go through the entire realisation process all over again.

So there’s only the second option to choose, which is to step up to a higher cycle. It’s like that game, Downfall, where you twist the dials and the pieces pass from one to the other, or get stuck and go around and around… It’s nothing like Downfall. It’s like something I can’t put my finger on, but the only thing to do at the top of the cycle is break from it, let’s call them curves instead, it’s to break from the peak of one curve and begin along the path of another, constantly moving upwards, always seeking new ground, always discovering.

About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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