Wednesday, 25 August 2010

How to make a space



Why is it that when I’m despondent, when I feel trapped, I cannot write? The sense of imprisonment repeats itself over and over in my head, the words reducing to a smaller and smaller box of closed-in thought: I hate this. It makes me crazy. There’s no way out. Bored. Empty. Burdened. I hate this…

It helps if I focus on other people, shifts the energy, restores a sense of myself as more active, less isolated. But it’s also tiring, and there’s so little oxygen in the closed-in place. I hide away because my resources are so small.

It helps if I take my mind somewhere else by reading, watching a film, looking at paintings. This is a respite, but it dumps me back in the same place, because it’s losing myself and what I need to do is find myself – the self, the words, the visions that get stifled in the trapped place.

It helps if I move, walk, just breathe, pay attention to something other than the thoughts. But the thoughts are loud, loud: I hate this. It makes me crazy. There’s no way out…

I have to keep pushing and digging, keep the doorway open. Life cannot be this. I have to make a space to nurture stories, metaphors; a space to spin a multi-layered cloth; a space to spin and spin until I’m laughing and dizzy - I’ve forgotten what that feels like. I don’t think I’m too old. As long as I’m still breathing, I am not too old. I have to stop the trapped place getting so small I can’t breathe.

7 comments:

alembic said...

You just describe so much more beautifully the process I have come to know much too intimately this past year myself. It is, as if with the loss of space and the horizon, there is a loss of language, that oxygen for the imagination, which always opens the trap door and point the way to space. It is this loss of language that makes me crazy.

Fire Bird said...

(o)

marja-leena said...

Oh dear Jean. The odd thing for me is that if I just make myself do something creative, even if it's just to take some photos and blog them, it helps keep me from hitting rock bottom. Words are harder though, for me. Hope you feel better soon. Hugs.

Jean said...

Maria, it's comforting to me that you know the feeling (though I wish you didn't, of course) since I just can't imagine you losing your flow of words and images for ever, whereas that is what I fear for myself, however irrationally.

Marja-Leena, I always feel better, too, when I take photos, and am hugely grateful for it, for having something that doesn't depend on words - much as I long for words.

Firebird, thank you!

liliannattel said...

You aren't too old. It won't last forever. There have been times in my life I couldn't write. But it passed. It will for you, too.

Dale said...

Wow. It's hard for me to understand, because you're so eloquent, but I'll take you at your word.

I wonder, can you ever write your way out of it by making fun of yourself? That's what I do. I make it as pathetic as possible and then start poking fun, taking up other voices. There are usually other voices around (if there weren.t, I don't think I could have so much self-contempt boxing me in.) Then I bring in a voice to make fun of the voice making fun of me, and so on. It's sort of the coral-building method, you just keep climbing on your own skeleton.

Jean said...

Very interesting you should say that, Dale. I think the issue is precisely that my isolation extends to an absence of those 'voices', not just of physical people.