A few weeks ago my son wanted to listen to some music. His friend had a little ipod and he wanted in on the action. So I dug through that drawer that we all have in our house that is stuffed to the gills with all the crap that we don’t throw out or find proper homes for and found an old ipod nano that I had bought for Darko’s birthday (although indirectly and selfishly also for myself) back from the days where I could still run and we even sometimes ran together.rpk-tramplin
I charged it up and handed it over and he wondered around the house shouting too loudly until he was bored of it all and left it lying on the floor with all the other endless stuff that gets left there. I picked it up to have a little listen. Songs from another lifetime. Because it belonged to my husband there was a lot of guitar based stuff on there. And because it was also sort of mine there was a lot of Yann Tiersen. It was interesting to listen to the contrast between tracks. Then lyrics from one of my husband’s songs jumped out at me.
Retreat. Retreat. I’ve fallen at the low tide.
It was just one wee line in a song by The Editors. I probably bought the CD for him back when we still did things like that.
But it thrummed through my head never the less. Retreat. Retreat.
Because I feel more tired than I can possibly say, because I feel like the scales I’ve been holding over my eyes have fallen away and I’ve seen that nothing much matters really, not really, because I can no longer believe that there was a reason for it, for any of it, there is no great twist in the story, no sudden reversal where the jigsaw puzzle clips into place and makes a pretty picture. The picture is broken, broken and it can not be fixed. Not ever. Because the world isn’t turning to make us pretty pictures, we are just shadows burning each other as we pass by and some of those burns are going to be permeant, some of those burns are going to brand your damn skin. Because I don’t experience things the way other people do, I just don’t. I still want the world to be christmas morning, I am still looking for it, freshly fallen snow to cover up the shit. But there is no snow, the weather just does it’s thing, it doesn’t mean anything either. There’s no great message to it all, no purpose, we’re all just bubbles waiting to burst.
So retreat, retreat and shut the fuck up Stephanie because quite frankly I am annoying myself. Just lie around and watch Jamie Fraser take his top off on Outlander or read shitty, awful books with improbable and stupid love triangles over those somehow special girls with magical powers. Distraction is a beautiful thing. That’s why we all do it.
So I’ve been quiet. Not really writing, except for rubbish. No poems. Fuck the poems. I’m tired of them. And they are clearly tired of me.
There have been a few weeks like this. And of course there has also been sleeping and crying (I cry a lot, it’s not really a cause for alarm, I am abnormally teary) and trying to feed my children with food that isn’t covered in breadcrumbs. All of that. But mostly I’ve just been done with it all. The talking about stuff like anything really matters.
And yet here I am, waffling on again. So yes, there was a little moment this week that made feel like writing.
It was a very small thing.
A thing that was a ripple out of something I had done a few years ago. Nothing special, that’s important. This is not one of those moments where I say yeah, everything is so bland and ordinary but look, look at this special thing I did! I did nothing special. I just bumped along doing the usual crap I do. But my usual crap bumped someone else along and years later the result of that bump sparked into something else and I got to see that happen.
Small things helping small things.
So there is always that.
Later in the week I sat in my Primary 6/7 theatre class watching them dance. We do this a lot. It’s all improvised. They are one of my favourites because they go with this work more than most. And we talk about a lot of things in that class (weirdly we talk a lot about how rubbish their sex education is but that’s another post for another day) but we also talk about the space we are making for each other. About how in this moment they have the freedom to just really let go and be them. The doors to the world are closed and therefor the doors to themselves can open wide.
And there they were, in the middle of a six minute dance improvisation and if you’ve never watched work like that before then let me tell you it’s pure bloody joy. To watch, to do. And I thought small things. Little sparks. Little bumps.
I am mad as a box of frogs. I am never going to be a ballerina. I am never going to be most of the things I wanted to be in fact. My life is a supermarket shopping queue. Ordinary, dull, a lot of waiting and looking for distraction. But here and there our ordinary things can touch, not to burn, not to brand but to spark, maybe a little heat, maybe here and there a little fire.
So yes, retreat, retreat, I’ve fallen at the low tide. Haven’t we all. I am operating from the gutter. But even down here there’s the odd moment where all the things that don’t really matter still manage make something interesting.