Starting the day

What’s weird is that having set up the blog I now find myself reluctant to add to it.  Why?  I’m not sure but it’s something to do with the reflection of a public voice I think.  I have kept journals for over fifty years – there are about 70 battered exercise books, notebooks, the occasional lovely binding, sitting on my bookshelves waiting for me to trawl them.  What will I discover there and why is it taking me a long time to do this?  What I find difficult as I read the journals is the disagreement that I feel with the ‘tone’.  Not so much with the words, although they plough their way through all kinds of labyrinths that maybe I’d prefer to lose or ignore – but having hauled them round the world for so long, rescued them from the white ants in my jackwood desk in Sri Lanka and eventually at least put them in date order there is a reluctance to face the person who wrote them I think but also a reluctance to ignore or destroy them. So the same reluctance seems to face me with the blank page to post.  I think about writing by hand then putting on a Word document, then writing on a Word document straight away.  Both approaches seem to be a bit like cheating.  What is the reason for having a blog?  Well something to do with communication and  a sense of giving voice – and , like journal writing, this seems to be closer to stream of consciousness than well articulated and structured writing.  On the other hand who wants to read stuff that is wincingly self-conscious, it always seems self-congratulatory when I read it in others’ writing. But- if I had yet another hand – if I don’t get on with the writing down of things time will run out.  However opsimathic I might feel there won’t be too much time for more learning.  I read Geoffrey Hill’s Mercia Hymns VI and found his lines ‘…..But/ I ran slowly; the landscape flowed away, back to/its source.’ provoked a lot of thinking and writing about early memory.  Not yet worked on but a resource waiting.  Now I’ve started I feel better about writing here – and just hope that the voice that comes out is accessible and true.  Although what that means is a bit dubious too. There is stuff to send off to magazines and competitions (I am hesitant about these but in the current situation for print it seems a legitimate way to try to fund struggling magazines) – Maitreyabandhu wrote excellent  articles, one of which addressed this, in the spring and summer Poetry Review this year.  I increasingly enjoy what he writes and it touches on  delicate chords, on my own Quaker beliefs and on the writing of Joko Beck that I find so important.  This prompts me to add a category now about important books that affect/ed me closely.  So writing this was not such a struggle after all.  Will anyone read it?  I guess this is what all bloggers wonder.  Anyway its enjoyable to write like this, early in the morning as light struggles through a deep grey mist over the orchard;  after I have put away my journal, drunk the coffee and looked forward to the new copies of LRB, Agenda and Granta that arrived in post carried over from England by Kay yesterday.




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4 responses to “Starting the day

  1. Well, I read it for a start: I love this kind of rambling blog! Old notebooks: mine are a shambles of scribbles, with the odd gem of a word glinting here and there. I mostly write directly in Word nowadays, though I still write odd lines here and there – on the bottom of crosswords, in the Radio Times, whatever comes to hand! I set about tidying up my computer documents files this morning to release space on the laptop. Some hopes – immediately side-tracked into reading (and editing) old poems!
    Love, ViV
    Do enter competitions, Brigid – your work is so good. There are a lot closing about now, so you’d better get a move on.

  2. Hello Brigid, I found my way here via Viv’s pages. It’s a small world: as I read your absorbing piece I found the name Maitreyabandhu. Well – I was with him on a Buddhist writers retreat last year at Vajrasana, in Suffolk, (he was full of cold I recall) and he had the room next to mine. This world is so vast, yet we find ourselves in little loops of contact.
    best wishes

  3. Hello Brigid

    And I’ve read it too – if late in the day. I threw out all my journals some years ago, and don’t regret it, the past is the past and there was something both banal and too poignant about my earlier self … but when I discovered my then husband had destroyed all his letters to me, I felt tremendous loss – so double standards, Hope all’s well in the Swampy Desert and the writing is happening – it certainly looks like you are reading …

    Vicky xxx

  4. june jefferies

    Destroying old journals is very satisfyling. When I came to Canada I journalled every day for about five years.They sounded so much more depressed than I really felt that I put them all through my new shredder–bought for ridding precious space of bank statements and income tax returns. Journals, income and expenditure; there must be a poem in there somewhere!

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