Things have been a little quiet on this blog.
But that’s not because the writing hasn’t been happening.
Time feels strange these days – whether a hangover of the pandemic or the strangely elastic nature of living with chronic illness, I’m not sure.
I think it was overyear ago that I took my first step towards sharing the work on this site a bit more publicly – around the time my second cancer diagnosis happened.
This was intentional: I knew that writing my way through it would be essential.
But when the experience began, it felt like I was a climber perched on a sheer rock face, and all I was doing was holding on for dear life. I couldn’t look up or down, or from side to side. I couldn’t see out into the world beyond me.
Which makes it very difficult to work out what feels right to share.
So instead, I got very very quiet.
But things are different now.
I recently completed a surgery that I hope will be the close of this chapter for a while. So I find myself looking up and out again. I am able to raise my gaze, and feeling brave enough to bring these words into contact with the world.
I have over 400 unpublished drafts of poems, poets, and odds & ends in a folder.
But I’m not in a hurry.
Bit by bit, I hope to bring them into the light.
Some of these things are easy. Some of them are very difficult to speak about in public. Baby steps.
I’m hoping to get the newsletter going (which I set up, but never actually started), so people who’d like to can know when there is something new.
But in the interest of starting small, I finally took the leap to do something I’ve been thinking about for at least a year. Today, I made a Facebook profile page to put new posts, instead of just quietly putting them here and letting them dissolve into the ether of the internet.
Setting it up, it felt like it took me ages to decide: whether to use a photograph of a flower as a profile picture, or to put my own face.
But I increasingly think that one of the bravest things we can do is let ourselves be seen. And I know that the people who are interested in my work at this stage is the people who already know and love me.
So I went with a selfie, taken on a good day on sunny walk. Largely chosen, my vanity will admit, because my hair looks really good – you would never guess it is still growing back in peculiar tufts underneath. But mostly because in that picture, I feel well and I am happy – smiling slightly, with glasses slightly askew. What more can a person ask for?
I know better at this point than to make promises. But hopefully this is the start of a new chapter, a season where it’s possible to release these bits of writing gratefully into the world.