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Thursday, 19 February 2009

Losing It

For most of my life I have been like a child wandering barefoot through a wild garden on a warm summer's day. I've gone just where I want to, stopping to pick daisies and buttercups, blowing dandelion clocks and breathing in the fragrance of honeysuckle and roses. I've chased butterflies and listened to the buzzing of various insects. I've been perfectly happy, playing in my garden, alone. I've needed the company of no-one. I've been content.

About eighteen months ago I tiptoed outside my little garden and was delighted to find some playmates. We skipped along together and frolicked in each other's gardens, we became friends and found that although we liked to play with different things, it was good to spread our wings and run free within the security of our own little community. We built up trust with each other and one day we decided to try and step outside our safe little world. We knew we were good - well at least as good as some of the other people who had gone before us and had made their way in the wide, harsh world outside the village boundary. We said we'd stick together, and give support to each other on our individual journeys. We've collected some more friends on the way and have never lost sight of what is important to us.

It's hard outside the village. People you don't know tell you not to wander aimlessly, and stop dawdling and dragging your feet and to ignore the little things that take your fancy, but that others won't understand. If you want to make it in the big world outside you must stop playing with the frivolous things you like and concentrate, listen and take notice of the rules.

It is the way. The only way.

Since I stepped into the world of the big boys and girls I've come to realise how precious my little garden was (and still is). I want to be able to visit my own little piece of paradise and not have to worry about all these silly rules. I want to run as fast as I can through the long grass, feel the wind in my hair and not have to think about anything at all. I want to be able to sit cross-legged in the grass and pick petals off daisies, one by one if I so choose, and then close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on my face and hear the buzzing of the bees and the singing of the birds.

But I can't find my garden any more. I've searched and searched. I know it's still there - somewhere.

I'm stuck outside, in this vast world where people I don't know are talking about the things I created while I was alone in my garden, and didn't have to worry about what other people would think. I've listened to others and manicured, chopped and pruned. I've got rid of the greenfly and picked off any withered, imperfect blooms.

These people I don't know are judging my creation - right now. They are passing it between themselves, turning it over in their hands and prodding and prying at every aspect of my work of art.

Until they tell me whether they are going to keep it or give it back I know I won't be able to find my precious garden again. And right now I am wondering if I will ever be able to go back there.


Dar said...

Hey, it's right here. Just breath deeply and you'll smell the honeysuckle and the rose, ahhhhh, I can smell them. You've written this so well, I'm right here in the garden with you. The sun is warm on the back of my neck, and there's a hummingbird flirting from one sweet smelling blossom to the next....

Breath in deeply, close your eyes, you still have your garden; no one can take that from you, not even the big boys.

Amanda said...

What a beautiful way with words you have, Annie. :) I can relate to very sentiment.

Debs said...

With the ability to write words like these, you'll never lose your garden. No one will be able to take that away from you, it's too deep inside for them to be able to.

Anonymous said...

By writing this post, in such a flowing and beautifully metaphorical way, you've already proved yourself wrong!

These grown-ups seem to be taking forever to make their decisions, so why not play in the garden while you wait? Write anything you like and have some fun! You don't have to submit any of it. Yet. That can come later when you're famous and then you'll be the grown-up telling them all what to do.

HelenMHunt said...

I agree with Captain (a rare event! :)) I think you should use this time to write anything you like. Go a bit mad if you want to. You don't ever have to show it to anyone - just do it to enjoy it xxx


Beautiful words Annie. Whilst you're wandering arounding in the wilderness use the time to harness your creativity. Some of the greatess creative work can emerge from moments of despair. Let go and ride the storm :) TFx

Lane said...

Annie you were brave to ever step outside your garden and in doing so you entered an unfamiliar world where I don't think we will ever learn all the rules. But outside is a different world where (for the moment) you have little control on what they do with your work. But your garden is yours and yours alone and you can do whatever you want there. They never have to know unless you want them too, just like last time when you decided to step outside.
A couple of days ago, you said this to me
let's not ever lose the pure enjoyment of writing.
It's still there Annie. You've just written it in this post.

Anonymous said...

Thats very beautiful. I can picture it in my mind now and that says a lot about your natural talent.

Tam said...

The ivy grew over the gate whilst you were away, Annie, but you'll find it again. Keep looking.

And ignore the grown ups prodding at your work. The right person will see it soon. Maybe they'll even come visit you when you're back in the garden because they'll be a playmate too :-)

Annieye said...

Dar - thanks for that. It's good to know I'm not alone. I think it's not knowing what is happening that is so unnerving.

Amanda - My agent told me not to even submit any short stories for the moment, so I can't even dabble (although I haven't stopped writing them).

Debs - thanks. At the moment I think I must look just like Grumpy.

Captain - I don't want to be famous or anything. I don't even want to be rich. Thanks for the compliment about the post (you really are rather good yourself you know! I think you'll definitely be published soon)

Helen - I tried yesterday and wrote the piece for Sally's workshop and a draft of a short story. It's just that everything is so slow. If the publisher is going to reject it I just wish they'd tell me. They have had it for four weeks now and I have heard nothing.

TF - I know you're right. I think I might be wasting time. Some of the best writing I have ever done was when I was 25 and had just lost a child through anencephaly. I retreated into my own little world for a few weeks.

Lane - I don't feel brave now. Just a bit of a idiot really. I know I'm lucky to have an agent but I can't get back into enjoying the writing: I can't practise what I preach!

Mother X - I feel such a toerag mithering about something so insignificant as a touch of writers' block! Please give me a hefty kick up the bum.

Tam - you know, don't you. You know what it's like. Do you feel the same? Just waiting, feeling down, wishing you'd never started rolling the darned thing because now it's gained so much momentum you can't stop it, and people might be pulling it to shreds before saying a big fat No?

Anonymous said...

sorry ment to say you will find your garden again as that is who you are!