We were just chatting this morning, waking up with our daily word games, about the joys of a daily activity, whether that little step is poetic, journal, memoir, or something more physical like a small knitted square or another sorting exercise.
One of us has been a fan of Brian Bilston‘s daily poems for some time; the other is fed intermittent snippets which are invariably a delight. One of us diarised a daily journal of life in our community, with helpful contributions of thoughts and comments. Both of these sorts of efforts could eventually be collated into a compendium of a year’s output, a book to hold in your hand.
The point is to start and never stop. There are times, really rather more than you might think, when one’s overwhelming feeling is of fatalistic despair: what, one might wonder, is the point of carrying on with this or that project?
But each small step accrues. Even when nobody seems to be listening, the joy accumulates. I get more kudos for the Allendale Diary these days than I ever did when the project was slowly moving along; realisation has arrived that the project was an instructive social history of a special time in the life of a village. I’m embarked on another similar project, this time a twenty year history of the activities of our philanthropic service club, compressing each year of the club’s lifespan into a single month of blog entries. A similar sort of hiatus of interest is happening — after a flurry of delight, the response has turned into a deafening silence. I’m left to my own devices, wondering if the project is really going to be worthwhile.
Well, we shall see; you’d be surprised how much joy even a small note of appreciation can elicit, and lately I’ve been the delighted recipient of such notes from out of the blue. I tell myself that I must continue to seek out the joy in the small steps that I can actually do, the little entries that I know, in my heart, could accumulate into a social treasure by the time all the steps have been completed.
I like poetry, like composing it, like reading it. But I could never force out a poem a day like Brian Bilston does. I can, however, work for a year on daily musings and prosaic thoughts.
And so, because I can, I do, and the joy comes along for free.
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