A Writer’s Workplace Injuries

Immobile as an artist’s model, hunched over a keyboard with my eyes rooted to a screen, I built up injuries within myself, without my knowledge or awareness.

Now my hands cramp up when I turn a screwdriver. Overnight, numbness creeps, mirroring the shape of fingers curled around a mouse, one hand at a time.

laptop with steampunk brass fittings

Datamancer’s Steampunk Laptop. Mine is not like this, sadly.

Slouched, slumped, poised ever like a rat over a lump of cheese.

A year of lockdown yoga showed me where those injuries had gathered.

First, my shoulders thawed, unfolding like wings as I stretched into Warrior II.

Lower back, until now hinged at the waist, became a supple S-shape (not without passing through L, and Z, and some of the more rigid Cyrillic characters first).

Each session brought a new loose muscle. Snap, crackle, pop, like some long-forgotten breakfast cereal. Ping! Sometimes when I least expected it.

Ooo…

I have to limit my time at the keyboard now, or pay the price. So much poor posture gathered over the last 25 years in a Desk Job has damaged me, wear and tear, my spine a staircase under centuries of monkish sandals.

Tendons, too: rigid. The form of a normal human body crunched by time.

Hobbies which are handicrafts must be limited now, and any future work must take into account the effects on my hands and wrists. I can’t spend all day moving books from one bookcase to another unless I am prepared to wake in the night with hands nettle-raw and foreign. I can’t spend the day making bread, or peeling vegetables, or chopping logs, without the spectre of numbness fringing the morning after.

Lockdown didn’t help. Sure, I did yoga more than I had before, which helped the aforementioned loosening. But I forgot how to walk.

Ten months of straying less than 50m from my desk meant that hip joints and ITBs gummed up. Strolling to the Post Office to buy stamps for festive cards in December, it felt like unlocking a suitcase left on top of the wardrobe for years.

Now some of this is peril for the writer. Some of those injuries wouldn’t have come about if I hadn’t been a desk jockey, my days numbered in spreadsheets and emails, but I know that over time whatever your profession, injury will happen.

We used to joke in health & safety briefings about not standing on a swivel chair to fix some tinsel thing to the ceiling, or carry fifteen boxes down the stairs without looking. We shrugged, and ticked the form, when asked to self-assess our “display screen equipment” set-up, knowing there was little we could change when every day meant a different desk.

But those injuries build up over time, not overnight.

One colleague told how her husband, a carpenter, had to change his line of work when his wrist tendons snapped. Forty years of sawing, chiselling, hammering and – ping! – his ability to work, gone.

This doesn’t just affect your ability to type, or use a hammer. Your hands control the steering in a car, or on a bicycle. Sit behind the wheel for an hour’s commute when your wrists are buzzing like wasps and your fingers are out of focus? See David Wake’s difficulties described in A Writer Not Writing.

We tend to think that if we don’t work in a factory or a foundry, we’re immune to workplace injury. Not so.

Mediaeval or Victorian levels of negligence over time lead to disability. Not at paraplegic levels, but when you can’t hold chopsticks because your knuckle joints lock against each other, can’t twist around to bathe properly because your spine is stiff, or have no strength to fetch a can of soup from a high shelf…

So many of us hunch over tiny keyboards now. There’s only so much ergonomics can do to remedy this, especially when function and economy take precedence within design.

As my mother – a former typist – was keen to point out, a manual typewriter required much harder force to shift the keys; and every page was a break from typing. Roll the platen, fit the paper to the guides, flap a hand at the carriage return lever.

manual typewriter mechanism

Now we type a page and then another, another, on and on until the writing’s done, without a break, a pause, a change in posture.

I know I’ve spent an hour at least without moving more than my fingers and eyes when deep in spreadsheet territory.

Sometimes, in a noisy office, losing yourself in work is the best way to cope. Other times, it’s just too easy to be drawn into endless reading – emails, articles, weblinks – or doomscrolling.

On looking up – resurfacing – hours have passed. Neck stiff, eyes dry and sore.

We are so often encouraged to develop bad habits by the absence of better habits.

Take a gift of advice from one whose hands are but slowly unfurling: don’t just tick the form to say you’ll comply with the guidance, or nod and scroll past – get up from the desk and leave the keyboard behind for five minutes.

a manual typewriter on a dark wooden desk

Frederik Pohl was still writing when he was 93. I’ll wager he didn’t do so with RSI.


This week’s Happy Links (unthemed, this week):

Inside – A Guide – to celebrate the publication of Josie George’s remarkable memoir, A Still Life, here’s a link to an article written at the start of Lockdown 1, in 2020. How to cope with being indoors all the time, by someone who has little option.

Ursula Vernon: author, illustrator, gardener. I found Digger first, but there’s also A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking…

Music: Gaelic Psalm-singing, eerie and earthy (article with links and video). There’s a strange softness about the Gaelic language: sea-silence, peatsmoke and a warm breeze out of the West.

Published in: on February 28, 2021 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Books: tree spirits distilled

Long before social media began to harvest our preferences from every online interaction, what books we read were an insight into our minds. Our bookshelves, be they ever so sparse, told others what our preferences were, our inclinations, our interests.

The influence of books and other reading material was so potent that some books were banned – in some places, still are.

This love of books needs careful curation. Book as artefact, more important than the story within? Or enhanced by text and typeface, space and spacing, illustrations and colour plates or just plain, justified just so.

Books made of paper, made of trees, made of dryads and tree spirits distilled. They feel good in the hand. Fitting, because touch is part of the experience of reading. The smell of a new book, the smell of an old book, the artefacts contained within books. Whole towns and cities have become famous by their link to books, to libraries, to the storage of knowledge.

Hay-on-Wye, England’s self-titled “book town”, seeps flammable treasure from every corner. There I encountered “Dogs of the Greek Islands”, for example, as well as a well-thumbed copy of Dion Fortune’s “Moon Magic”.Book cover Dion Fortune Moon Magic woman in pharoah costume

Every new book, every new author, is a possible gateway to new worlds, or new ways of viewing our own world, and peering into small places, hidden places, to see through someone else’s awareness how the world works.

Astronomers such as Maggie Aderin-Pocock, looking at the night sky, see it differently from most people – reading a map written in the stars like an ancient mariner would have done, from Abyssinia to Peru.

A botanist like James Wong, looking at a garden, sees an interconnected web of plants sending chemical messages to each other, understanding how this works when he designs his next terrarium.

Through illustrated books we see the world we’d never otherwise encounter – and other worlds imagined by those with hands more adapted to brush and paint and ink than pen or pencil. Lush landscapes in almost realism, or pared down to slabs of colour.

When our favourite characters – or the characters we create – are plunged into a whirlpool like Corryvreckan or similar dangers, how those characters react and deal with the problem is an illustration of learning: Do we agree, or disagree, with their choice?

Curiosity too. For some of us, encountering the real world comes too fast, too furious, a pace we can’t control. Books allow us to take life in chapters and to close the book when the information comes too fast, allows us to keep the pace to one we control, allows understanding to sink in.

Books permit a return to check what was said, what went on, what implications, where we are now came from.

Writing books allows us to make clear our thoughts. To share the worlds that crowd in on us, to show where dragons and hobbits live, to explore another set of choices and opinions and reasonings.

And answers.

Answers to the questions we don’t always think we ask – how do you deal with this? – where this can be grief, or love, or betrayal, or loyalty, or happiness, or travel, or monsters. Or even how to be.

“In many ways I can trace much of my life’s trajectory to that encounter with a single book at a delicate age — a time when all the world’s paths are laid out before you, and you wait for someone or something to beckon you on to one instead of another, into one self rather than another.” – Amal El-Mohtar

The Cemetery of Forgotten Books – a mythical place in the Barcelona of Carlos Ruiz Zafón – is a marvellous creation for those of us who love books. There’s similarity with the forbidden library in The Name Of The Rose, secret stash of murderous monks and equally labyrinthine in design.

Those of us who read – and write – are convinced that books are more than simple entertainments. We like to believe that this love of books, the collecting of books, marks us as part of a tribe, a caste almost: Brahmins of reading and lore.*

But we also like to believe that where we store those books are palaces.

“Where libraries are concerned, I need to believe they’re all one, that I’m loving all of them when I love one of them. I couldn’t choose a favorite library any more than I could choose a favorite limb.” – Amal El-Mohtar

Writing lets us feed that mausoleum of trees, the library, in love-letters to librarians.

Custodians of learning. Mages of lore. Curators of our collected wisdom, hoarded for us. Procurers of strangers to entertain us. Pushers of our favourite drug.

Librarians are keepers of the sacred flame, the leaf, the folio. Keepers of knowledge. Love books, because books are knowledge distilled.

Hoarders of useful things as well as pretty.

We’d like to believe we are all building our own tiny part of Timbuktu – our own Alexandria. Sure, the stories are immortal, but the books show us how to age.


*Considering the ephemeral nature of most books, and the similarity of stories throughout time all over the world, there are less noble descriptions we could apply.

This week’s three Happy Links:

The City of Lost Books at Glasgow University

Whimsical machines at The Rowland Emmet Society

My Breath My Music: (link in Dutch language) helps people with often severe physical disability make electronic music.

Published in: on February 21, 2021 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Poem: Such Love As This

A little love letter to NHS workers everywhere, especially those in ICU. Their professionalism, skills and knowledge enable marvellous recovery, and dignified passing, in greater numbers than many of us often recognise.


poem - such love as this

(click to expand, opens in a new tab)


Writing update: I’ve sorted a bundle of poems and short pieces into groups, to see whether I have enough for a couple of chapbooks.

Poets – how many poems and snippets and suchlike would go into such a thing? As a novelist, I always aim for 80K words, which equals (rushes off to the nearest bookcase to check a handful of books) anywhere between 260-340 pages.

What’s a reasonable page count for a poetry collection? I see some on Hedgespoken Press at 32 pages. On my writing desk I have a small booklet from Penguin – Poems of the Great War 1914-1918 – which isn’t as pretty, and runs to 160 pages (including endpapers, introduction, index, acknowledgements and title/copyrights).

Any hints would be helpful. I suppose it makes a difference if there’s illustrations and fancy fonts, which sounds like a fabulous excuse for not writing

Not much else to report on the writing front – my week has been filled with the joy of fresh snowfall, gratitude for a warm dry home, and the first COVID jab in my household.

For the latter: thank you, NHS.💙


Almost forgot this week’s Three Happy Links:

Art: Tim Godden illustrations and linocuts

Utter silliness: The UniPiper on YouTube. Flaming bagpipes on a unicycle. Just what you need at this stage in lockdown.

Watch: These Are The Hands, a free film on the BFI Player

Published in: on February 14, 2021 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Writing advice or How to Juggle Invisible Eels

Last week I wrote 6000 words, mainly nonfiction essays, and flitted over social media picking up random writerly advice as if it would magically sort out my latest project(s).

This Tweet from Chuck Wendig struck home:

Tweet by Chuck Wendig

(Click to start at the top of the thread)

Since then, I have done the equivalent of bashing my head against Project NEVADA to break it into “sortable, fixable bits”.

Now I have a storyboard which outlines what happens at each stage of the story, and can start to build up a picture of who knows what about whom, and when – and how they share that with each other, and with the reader.

I also started to draw a map (not by hand, although it’s tempting and would probably be therapeutic). I need to see what’s going on in the story so I can sort out the mess before I commit wordcount.

No point in setting up a dramatic confrontation if there’s no hints of conflict beforehand, for example, or have the hero fall in love with a character who just turns up in Chapter Fourteen, steps off a bus and smites with the weapons of Cupid. It’s the basic principle of Alfred Hitchcock’s bomb under the table.

When I got stuck in the middle of BOOM TOWN, the second Petticoat Katie novel, I had to draw a map so I could see where the character threads connected with the story. A lot of characters needed to meet up, and do stuff separately, and do those things in a certain order, so the story would come together with the right cadence and flow. No big bangs too early in the book. A big enough bang quite early, so things became interesting. Etc.

And I just couldn’t see what was going on. I couldn’t hold it in front of me or picture it all in my head, and the text was a sixty thousand word Sargasso Sea (minus the eels. Ooh, hang on. Eels…no. Just: no. Not this time. But maybe…?).

So I drew out a flow chart. I’ve written about this before, and how helpful it can be.

And it worked. Of all the Petticoat Katie novels (3½ so far), BOOM TOWN is my favourite. From my point of view, the storyline flows better than the others. The structure has the right amount of drama and respite, in the right places. And the characters behave themselves, for once. In a manner of speaking.

I’ve been trying to do the same with PK4 (The Goat Book) for years but I have too many goats and magicians and not enough chupacabras. Threads in the story overlap and I can’t work out the priority of events, or who leads the story forward. I’m trying to juggle the damn Eels (which aren’t in this story anyway) and it’s impossible without the use of a Very. Large. Net.

Map of the Sargasso Sea location

At this point, I probably need to draw a map.

But in the meantime, last week I wrote 6K words and drew up a storyboard for NEVADA. I am writing again, and it feels good.


This week’s three Happy Links:

  • Tolkien shares his love of nature and beer on the BBC Archive
  • Travel to interesting places – including the Sargasso Sea – via the AtlasObscura

It’s still January and I am writing

It’s still only January, and I am writing.

Inertia took over, last year. I think I was holding my breath. Part of me was healing from events in 2019, part of me still recovering from events of the previous years when real life took precedence over fiction.

Now, I have a lot of work to do.

In addition to the writing projects I outlined when I set my intentions at the start of the year, my existing work needs a lot of tidying. Like tumbledown ruins or abandoned factories, my novels on Kobo and Lulu exist in a half-decaying state, waiting for completion.

(I’m currently reading Carlos Ruis Zafón’s The Angel’s Game, set in Barcelona, where work is yet incomplete on Gaudi’s magnificent cathedral. Parallels…)

The only place I have all of my work for sale is Amazon, and that displeases me.

Procrastination, you say? Yet more excuses, the plumber’s muse still refusing to perch on my shoulder, five years on?

Hmm. I see what you mean.

Guess I need to re-read Jane Friedman on how to restart your unfinished book.

I can tell myself I’m just getting into the groove again, formatting and uploading and publishing work on those other platforms. But I have to make a start somewhere. And once I have finished those tasks, I’ll have something to blog about that isn’t misery and plague (oops).

wooden statuette of a woman holding a trivet, on a stone wall

Procrastination IV, this time with trivet

I’ll also have some idea of how small my body of work is, and how little it corresponds to my expectations.

Building a cathedral, one word at a time, takes ages. At the moment my output is like one of those tiny roadside shrines you see in Ireland, or the votary statues on buildings at street corners in Spain.

Time to make a start.


This week’s links:

Daily Paint Works: art you can buy, from independent artists. Also on Twitter @dailypaintworks. When you need a break from doomscrolling, discover some affordable niceness.

Brain Pickings, an article on Patti Smith’s M:Train from 2015.
“Anxious for some permanency, I guess I needed to be reminded how temporal permanency is.”
Also visit for the back catalogue of fantastic articles.

A lockdown travel link for this week: close your eyes and imagine you are under a desert sky with Sanctuary Door, one of six tracks on the album Earthstar Meteor Shower by the multi-talented Lorena Babcock Moore – artist, musician, ironworker.

Next week’s post will be in February!

COVID, One Year On

Today, 24th January 2021, is exactly one year since I started taking notice of COVID-19. Here’s a little history of the past twelve months (as seen from my writing desk).

painting of flooded flat lands in weak sunlight

Floods in the Arun Valley, by William H Clarkson

One of our visitors that New Year lives in Hong Kong. We’d had a long chat about the protests in parts of the Territories which, at that time, was the biggest news from that part of the world. He flew home in early January.

Then news of the new SARS variant appeared on social media. I emailed his partner to ask if he was safe (yes) and continued doom-scrolling as the disease spread across the Chinese mainland.

Twitter showed eerie footage of Wuhan, a city larger than London.

Empty motorways. Giant machines spraying disinfectant along the streets between darkened, shuttered city blocks. And people in high-rise flats calling out to each other, whistling, cheering, shouting Keep-Calm-And-Carry-On-style slogans across thin air twenty storeys up.

A month later, five hundred million people were in lockdown.

China cancelled Chinese New Year.

There may still be a Wuhan diary online – the link is for Day 6 (28th January 2020), the first post in English – but by the end of February those cheers had turned to cries of “I want to go out”, and stories began to circulate of tragedy unfolding in silence. As ever, those most affected were those reliant on others to care for their needs – children, frail elders, or disabled.

By then, hospitals in other parts of the world had begun to see the new infection seize hold of their vulnerable citizens with alarming impact.

Maybe my research for SHADOWBOX had given me some insight into pandemic disease to which we had little resistance.

Maybe it was history telling how Native American populations were devastated by new illnesses brought by Europeans.

I began to feel wary of the UK response. Our new government seemed blithe, nonchalant – oblivious.

Then, in March, Denmark closed its borders.

Ireland cancelled St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Finally, lockdown – proper, hard, everything-shut lockdown – came to Britain.

In April I walked to the local post office with a parcel. The houses on one residential street were decked with mannequins – on the porch or balcony or front garden – with bunting strewn in the spring sunshine as if there was a royal wedding on the way. NHS rainbows in crayon stuck to front-room windows. Applause, once a week, for care workers, when what they really needed was proper PPE.

Since then, the only reason to go out has been for medical appointments or running the car around the neighbourhood to keep the battery charged.

What was summer like? We stayed at home and kept to ourselves, watching in disbelief as people danced the conga at VE Day celebrations, thronged trains to the coast, jammed themselves into restaurants as if the Masque of the Red Death was a new flavour of sundae.

Enraged, I wrote “The First Ten Thousand Dead” and hoped I was over-reacting.

Autumn came and went. Christmas, New Year, not going out, cautious of strangers and careful to disinfect deliveries.

Now the dreich days of January are back again, floods obscuring the riverbanks like December 2019. A whole year has passed by, time stood still for those of us lucky enough to be safe at home.

Seems like Plague Island is the New Normal, adrift off Europe.

buddha head statue with sage bush backgroundGrim though it feels right now, summer’s coming. We are being vaccinated at pace.

It’s a long way off, but the bright days of sunshine will come again. The wasps in my woodpile will let me know when.


While I have writing goals for this year, I also want to keep up the habit of posting on here at least once a week. Some posts will be long and rambling (like this one), some poems (mine and others), hopefully some updates on progress against the writing goals I set in January.

I will try to be positive and truthful, and endeavour to bring some light in otherwise dark days.

With that in mind, this week’s Three Bright Spots:

  1. The USA Presidential handover. Oh, I know there’s only so much one man (and woman) can do to change the world. But there are challenges right now that need attention, globally, and the focus has been on the wrong subjects for a long time, so any change that might address those challenges in some positive way is welcome. So much to hope for.
  2. Look out of someone else’s windows on Window-Swap
  3. Travel back in time, across (part of) the USA, without leaving your chair: Nomadic Research Labs

Summer’s coming. I promise.


 

Published in: on January 24, 2021 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)  
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January 2021 – Look Ahead

Last week I looked back at 2020. This week, it’s time to look ahead – a daring suggestion at the moment. But let’s try…

My writing goals for 2021:

  1. One non-fiction project.
  2. Write more, including fiction and poetry.
  3. Submit poetry to online journals. For a long time – many, many years – I’ve avoided submitting my work to any sort of scrutiny. It’s time I did so.

So far I’ve made a start on all three goals, and have become bogged down in prioritising.

Running around in the background like a headless chicken, of course, is the coronavirus chaos in the UK.

It’s been a year, with no sign of stopping. When I wrote “The First Ten Thousand Dead” back in June 2020, I was angry.

I should be enraged now.


However, here’s three positive items I found online this week:

Sea shanties (try @TheLongestJohns, @MyriahBrynn, or @NathanEvans)

Wildlife in Venice canals

A new Labyrinth in Cornwall

Published in: on January 17, 2021 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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January 2021 – Look back

Last year, I wrote about fifty thousand words. Apart from the posts on my blog, none of those words were published. Most of them weren’t publishable – weren’t connected to a novel, or story, or anything else creative. Much of them were journal entries.

There was a lot to muse over. Coronavirus, having appeared, proceeded to sweep across the world and curled itself into a cosy corner of northwestern Europe called the UK, and has been hogging the duvet here ever since. In my household, this is a cause for concern. Hey, if it isn’t a cause for concern in your household, 1. where have you been and 2. don’t bother coming round to explain.

We’ve been shielding since before lockdown in March 2019. We expect to remain shielding until everyone is vaccinated and the virus has gone.

We realise this may be… some time. We are prepared for this.

In terms of creativity, I spent a lot of words noodling over what to write. And why to write. Does my voice matter? (of course it does).text says Write because your voice matters

Of the many stories I have waiting for me to give them form, which of them call me right now? If none, why not? And also, I told myself, why not just come up with some new ideas (e.g. Project NEVADA).

As I wrote here last time, January 2021 – Setting my intentions, nobody wants more junk.

So part of my new writing year’s resolutions is to write with more focus on work which can be published, to finish that work, and submit more poetry to online journals.

There’s scope, room, for learning more skills. For reading widely, online and on paper, to research and build the worlds my stories will occupy.

Scope, too, for reading the guidance and wisdom shared so freely online by other writers – Joanne Harris, Kris Rusch, Terri Windling. And scope for humility too, accepting that my work isn’t ready, that I need more practise, that I need to take my time to make stories that enhance my body of work, not blight it.

Saying that, even with a whole fresh year ahead of us, how many of us believe time isn’t precious?

One breath in the wrong place and you’re infected with COVID. And right now, the UK is near the top of the list of the wrong places. With six weeks of lockdown now in place over England, the old rules apply – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. (Might be longer than six weeks, but hey; six weeks is an old-skool beach-body diet plan…)

There are tales to be told of life on Plague Island, to be sure. Many will be horror stories, others tragedy. We Brits have a streak of black comedy a mile wide. What tends not to be noticed are the humdrum, daily dull, background stories of ordinary people who are managing, just fine or just coping.

Some of us aren’t struggling, although we’d like to get out more (but daren’t risk the plague).

Some of us can’t get out even if we’d love to (and to Hell with the virus), even in the Old Normal Age when disability kept us enclosed like rare, exotic pets.

Some of us are skating a thin line down the middle of Okay and Not-Okay, wobbling one way or the other from day to day, hour to hour, like a violin saw screeching not wrong but not-quite-right.

But there’s also a risk that, as ever, being bogged down in the stories that fill the news and the airwaves and online media will be detrimental to creativity.

Those fifty thousand words I wrote last year were mostly random musings. Life planning. Thoughts that wouldn’t stop bugging me until I wrote them down, let them flood out of my head through my hands and onto the screen, where I could pin them down like beetles in a Victorian collector’s case.

There’s a risk that this year’s writing might follow a similar path, if I don’t focus on specific goals.

I already have the skills to make this happen. I’ve written before about how I manage writing projects – spanners and screwdrivers at the ready – so I need to take my own advice as well as that of experts. I have to make a start on writing the works I want to see on my own private bookshelf by the end of the year.

More on that next time.


In the meantime, please enjoy the Yorkshire Musical Saw Players performing Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy”. Yes, indeedy.

Other links I found while researching this post:

The Yorkshire Musical Saw Man(Charles Hindmarsh)

Saw Lady (Natalia Paruz)

Thomas Flynn & Co, the UK’s only musical saw manufacturer

January 2021 – Setting my intentions

Usually at the start of January, I have a burst of creative energy, planning all sorts of creative projects for the year ahead.

Some of these are writing; some are practical, like sorting out home improvements.

There’s a balance to be made between solitary projects and collaboration. Between enjoyable tasks, and chores.

Writing projects on my “Hmm…” list – stories and ideas that I can’t prioritise over any of the others – run to about forty, novels and non-fiction and series, over different genres. Project NEVADA is one of these.

Maybe I just don’t care enough about them. If the writer isn’t excited by the prospect of spending a few months coaxing the characters through the story, then the reader probably won’t want to spend a couple of days – or hours – doing the same.Vintage Typewriter with case

It’s easy to tell myself that if I’d thrown wordcount down on the page for those projects, I’d have something to publish, more novels to add to my body of work.

Another little voice tells me that I might just produce junk.

Nobody wants more junk.

So this year’s plan for creative works will be short.

What’s yours?

Published in: on January 1, 2021 at 12:00 am  Comments (5)  
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Meditation at the Turning of the Year

The Last of 2020 (Meditation at the Turning of the Year)

The Old Year is over.
Let that sink in.

We can’t see the future;
what lies ahead
we only imagine, usually fear.

Leave it be, for now.
Let the Old Year enjoy its last moments.

Cup your hands round the hours
or the final few minutes;
take a moment to pause
on the brink.
This is the time to be still,
to breathe
and nothing more;
this day this hour this moment
all you have, for now.
Wait,
hands together,
on tiptoe or crouched in a huddle.
Give yourself the gift of silence.
Shhh.

There’s time and space enough to hold you, briefly, as we all spin round the sun.

Whatever the last year held for you
– harsh words or happiness –
– downfall or triumph –
let go.

Whatever the New Year holds,
let it wait.

Just a moment, just this hour,
take a breath of the planet you’re born for;
feel the world you belong to under your feet.
This is all; this is all that we have.
You belong here.
Take a breath, and relax.
We’ve made it to Now.

Make the last of the old year be: peace.


green hops against a clear blue sky

Hop(e)

Published in: on December 31, 2020 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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