I’ve got loads of books on my shelves on the subject. I’ve got loads of emails filed away. I’ve even got my own prompts I could work with. But when I’m feeling uncreative I “can’t be bothered”.
I’m wondering now if this post should be called “Can’t be bothered” because I was pondering writing this when I bumped into a dog walking acquaintance who started the conversation off saying about wanting to be motivated but ended it with “I know but I can’t be bothered.”
It seems to be a thing with lots of us at the moment – “can’t be bothered”. Is it covid, lockdowns, change, anxieties of this shifting world, getting older, or something else?
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what it is it is just an “is”. I don’t know why I’m feeling uncreative but I just am. It could be that I am feed up for not having any freelancing work to do, but lots in the pipeline – which really isn’t much help. It could be that the novel I’ve been plodding on with 1000 words a day has suddenly become a chore. And actually when I read back through it this isn’t just me being negative but I have lost all the depth of intrigue that I had in those beginning 10-20,000 words. It has gone stale and is starting to look like I’m just rushing to the end.
But actually I do do something when I am feeling uncreative and “can’t be bothered.”
I am kind to myself. I let myself be – not in that negative way but in a way that says “this is how I feel at the moment. It won’t last forever.” So the other morning I sat in the backyard with my book and enjoyed the cat looking at the flowers. Today I took myself for a long walk and coffee not for the benefit of finding something creative to write about but just to let the wind blow through my hair. I accepted that this is where I am at this moment in time. And as a friend used to say “These things will pass”.
By being kind to myself hopefully these feelings will pass, hopefully in a couple of days I’ll be able to look at my story again, in a bit I’ll be able to do more than read and play solitaire.
So my advise to anyone whether it is just a feeling of “mmuuuggghhh” or something deeper than this – be kind to yourself, accept this is how you are at this moment in time and know that “these things will pass”. Also don’t be afraid to tell others whether it is by talking or writing. As the old saying goes “a problem shared is a problem halved” and I think that doesn’t mean the person you tell has to help you sort it out but it is just about being open and honest about how you are at this moment in time.
I am not sure why anyone would need a “National Love Your Pet Day”. For me loving my pets is what I do 24/7. They bring me such joy and laughter and such love. I am not sure who else I would go out the house for at 7.30am on a wet and blustery day apart from my dog who needs a walk, and is always keen to go round the park where he can beg treats from other dog owners.
My cat does yoga with me in the mornings but also loves to come under the covers at night and sleep with her cold nose on my leg. Sometimes with claws extended.
We tease my son that he only married the person he did because she had a dog who took to him. She does have many other lovely qualities but I’m sure the dog drew him in first of all. I have adopted her dog as one of my own when they come to visit.
I was brought up with an eclectic collection of pets and, after leaving home whenever I could I would get some animal or other. Once my children came along we had various pets and we also would dog sit for other people when we lived in rented accommodation that said “No dogs”. We worked on the principle that the dogs were only visiting not staying permanently. I’m hoping that my old landlords are not reading this now 🙂
In fact when I married my husband the children and I worked on how to get him to have pets. Believe it or not he had never ever owned a pet. Then he got us and soon we got him to allow us to carry on with the dog sitting job we used to do. Then my son started work experience at the local pet rescue centre and we got the cat. That was 12 years ago. Then came chickens, a rabbit and then 10 years ago the dog. We are down to just the cat and dog now.
Pets give such pleasure and such joy. I can “hide” behind my dog when I go somewhere new. A lot of the times when I start on a new project or have to network with someone new I will bring the dog with me. He is cute and a real icebreaker. He’s small enough to fit anywhere, well behaved and very responsive to other people.
Just last week I took him on a 4 hour train journey to visit my daughter. He was amazing. You couldn’t do that with a cat or with a hamster. Though when we moved up here we did have cat on our laps in the car because she screams when put in a cat basket. So she was bought a velvet harness, the lead of which was looped round the passenger seat belt and she rode the whole of the six hour journey on the lap of whoever was not driving. At times she would look backward to the dog on the back seat squashed around boxes and give him one of those looks to say “just look at me”. Cats believe they are superior to any other creature.
I told the tale in Day of the Dead, of how Renly helped us laugh through our grief. In fact I’ve got a few pieces I’ve written about my dog. He does crop up quite often.
I am writing a short story in which I have just had to edit out the fact that she had a dog because it didn’t quite work, but it was very hard to then write about someone walking without a dog. My dog very much features in the centre of my life.
I believe God lets us have pets to encourage us to love one and other and to experience unconditional love in such an unexpected way. Dogs very much unconditional, cats maybe not so much! But also gives us something to love, to care for, and to experience loss with. The worst thing about pets is that we will out live them. I think pets help us learn the transient nature of life and also of how to seize the moment, enjoy the moment, live in the moment. For pets they do live in the NOW. It is good for us to learn that too.
So maybe for National Love Your Pet day I will learn more to live in the moment and accept that life is short, relationships transient, and to enjoy it as it comes.
To boldly go or to enter boldly! Whatever it is I know my cat can do it best of all. As you can see she does yoga with me each morning. She doesn’t care where I’m putting various body parts but sits where she is comfortable. Then I have to roll her up in the mat when I am done. We know when she has entered a room. She doesn’t only open the door wide enough to get it like the dog does. She doesn’t hope it shuts behind her like we do. She pushes it so wide and then struts in. Generally she enters with loud meows. In fact if she has something to say, no matter what the time of day or night, or what we are doing, she tells us with loud meows. She then lies on the bed, the couch, the laptop, the floor, and purrs loudly. At I write this she is sleeping by myself wheezing happily.
I think when Jesus said to come before God boldly he meant that we were to come to him like my cat. We announce ourselves by throwing open the door and coming in like we deserve to. We don’t care what else is going on because our belief, like my cat’s, is that we are so important that of course he’ll pick us up, stroke us, feed us, whatever us. We shouldn’t care what God is doing if we have something we just need to report and so will shout loudly because who else would he be listening too. And then when we are done we should know that nothing is more important to God than us curling up contentedly with him, purring like the cat.
I was gong to say God doesn’t want us pussy-footing about but for my cat to pussy-foot it is loud, wide doors, in-yer-face, not anything quiet at all.
My cat knows she is the most important being in the house and deserves to be treated as such. Maybe I need to learn to start being like that more with God. Perhaps that is true humility?
Normally I would do my end of year review to coincide with Christmas cards I was sending, whether physical or electronic, but this year I have decided to wait until 31st December to post, and am even tempted to wait until midnight just in case. It is not that I am fearful but this has been an “unprecedented” year.
At the time I would normally have done this post I was still laid up with bruised ribs from falling off that horse though was starting to plan what I would write, and I suppose even Different Christmas was a lead up to that. But then just as I was in the planning stages for that my husband got shingles and has been very sore with that. Then on Saturday 19th Dec Wales announced that all was change for Christmas and we were going into lockdown again – though from the volume of traffic I would say that only means that pubs and cafes have now closed. Not sure if I can see much other difference on the roads. It is definitely not back to April’s sparse traffic volume. But then on Sunday my daughter announced that she had tested positive to covid and so, even though she wasn’t coming up here for the holidays it did mean she was going to have to spend it home alone! All this in just a week!
This has been the strangest of years. Even to the point that our cat went from eating biscuits to demanding that we feed her cat meat from a tin. She now has meat twice a day and ignores the biscuits that sit waiting for her to be hungry enough. If it hadn’t been for the local cat rescue places being closed all the tins that had been in the cupboard for the last few years would have gone to them but now she’s eaten them all.
Talking of pets – our crazy rabbit died in the summer, happily of a possible heart attack whilst he was sunbathing before begining yet another digging project. He was buried inside his own warren of tunnels that he had constructed over the four years he had been living here. He is still very missed and the amount of veg peelings in our food recycling bin has increased.
As with everyone 2020 started normally enough, though it was odd for us because my husband chose to stay home for New Year’s instead of going to a youth hostel with old university friends. So actually even the start of the year was different for us with us being together when we woke on 2020. We went away as always for our wedding anniversary at the end of January, which was followed by my husband going off for a week of intensive Welsh learning on the Llyn Peninsular. He managed to get away climbing with friends in Scotland at the start of March, but by the time he went away then things were starting to change and covid was being muttered about. We had two Airbnb guests, both in the medical profession, who went from saying it was nothing to worry about to slowly getting more and more concerned about it, to our guest from Burma having to cut short his stay so he got home before all airports were closed.
I was supposed to go on my regular March writing retreat but felt uneasy about going which was just as well because suddenly things got serious. So instead of being in Gwynedd I went Cardiff to bring my daughter to stay with us when the pubs closed. We bought her some walking boots the day before the country went into full lockdown. We thought we were going to be walking all over North Wales, but then the 5 mile rule was introduced and we finished up doing lots of walks around where we live. We have seen my daughter more this year, probably a good 4 months of the year, than we have since she went off to university about 7 years ago. I picked her up yesterday, now that she is over her coovid isolation time and will spend New Year with us and stay until this lockdown lifts. So even though we have seen so much more of her this year when it comes to everyone else – my son and our mothers and our friends – we’ve seen them less than normal.
My husband changed jobs at the start of lockdown and has now been working for his new company for 8 months and never seen the inside of his office or met any of his colleagues face to face. We are so grateful for our lovely big house and him being able to work upstairs in his own office. But his is the only work going on in the house because, with all the guidelines and restrictions, it is not safe to run our house as an Airbnb rental home for the time being. Read more about that on Humility. And since not having guests coming and going it has changed how I see the house and what it is for. For now I’m not making any decisions how things will look regarding Airbnb and room rentals in 2021, but I do know I see this place much more as a family home now than a business.
We did manage to get away for a flying visit to Somerset to see our mums and a couple of friends at the beginning of August and my son and his fiancee came up to us for a long weekend in mid August. Both times we were blessed with great weather. And we managed 6 days in Northumberland in late September, though because Northumbeland went into tier 3 we were not able to see one friend who had moved there a couple of years ago, and also a friend’s 50th wedding anniversary party was cancelled. But we did manage 6 days of walking, reading, and resting together.
As well as Airbnb all my work has stopped – no more writing groups, no more schools work, no more workshops in the library. All very strange. But I have been doing a lot of my own writing and a few of my blogs from here are being published on Godspacelight.com which is quite exciting. I have also been working with a young illustrator and we have a book called TheLittle Yellow Boat which is with BumbleBee Publishing in the process of being put together and published later in 2021. I will tell more about that once it is out in the big wide world. My plans for 2021 are to work on more short stories and other ideas and of course to blog more. I do not want The Little Yellow Boat to be my only publications. I have also been working towards an MA in Celtic Studies and have loved the modules about the Mabinogion, especailly the Four Branches. I am thinking of doing some stores around the women from the Four Branches.
Every year we do not know what is going to happen, but I think 2021 is probably the one where we have the least idea. Will the vaccine prove effective enough to bring back “normal” life? Will we have enjoyed some of the changes and not want “normal”? For some their business will never be the same again. Many will be bankrupt. For others there plans will be delayed and will be able to move forward a year or two later. But also within that not knowing are things we do have control over. I plan to continue with the Quantum Energy Counselling healing work I’ve been doing. I will work on my own writing and develop a body of work and look at being published. I will meet up with people when I walk with my dog and have great conversations. I will email my friends. And I will carry on reading. All these I have control over. As to whether I’ll start Airbnb rental again or whether I’ll be able to restart writing workshops and schools work, that I have no control over, so will hold lightly. Also I do have control over how I behave towards what is going on around me and I hope I can hold Joy and Hope in the right place and walk as God wants me to through whatever is thrown my way.