The dance of starlings is awe-inspiring, as they gather together to swoop and dive, in a display that ostensibly befuddles predators. I thought that the clouds the other evening, as the sun set behind our sheds, seemed very reminiscent of that floaty swirling activity. Not to mention the lovely dance put on in honour of the BBC’s nature programmes during the Results Show for Strictly Come Dancing.
We look at something, and often we see something else. How often do we snort at the ‘faces’ seen by someone in their breakfast cereal, or toast, or vegetables? It’s an appreciation for which we seem to be hard-wired, especially that knack of finding two eyes and a nose. I think, too, that much of fiction, and of poetry, is that kind of pattern-finding, that juxtaposition of this feeling with that image. But the old archetypes need renewing, probably with each new generation, so that resonance stays contemporary.
The poets in a twitter feed I’m bemused with seem to exult in every new nugget of word play, every conflation that somehow speaks to the reader. Not so often to me, if I’m honest, but then I’m getting old and older. More and more often, it’s enough to say, wow, isn’t that sky amazing! Perhaps the subtlety of youth is passing me by, and I’m content with the broad strokes that illumine the day.
Yet I still feel the need to be developing a response, to be creating back in reply to the bountiful stimuli around my wondering senses. I was just thinking about re-embarking on a whole new adventure, for example; the stimulation of my sci-fi writers group has helped me to look carefully at the whole process of novel writing. If I were to start anew, I muse, with some delicious new premise, could I manage to work up a new book? At the same time as I return to my beloved historical fiction effort? I’m craving discipline again, having felt as aimless as the back-lit clouds above my head, pushed and pulled by the competing pressure of wind and sun.
Perhaps later, as winter really sets in and we hunker down in our tiny bungalow, seeking warmth and comfort, and the days stretch out and sighs mount, perhaps then I shall resolve to set to. For now though, with too much going on to compete with the creativity, it’s probably enough to be living and surviving, and attending to the smaller fancies in between the utilitarian duties.