Here’s a curious thing: in making my living from the thing I love doing, I find I’ve stopped doing it for love.
I rarely write at all these days, except for money, but no commission fee can compare to the richness that I used to feel when writing was an end in itself.
In pursuing writing as a means to an end – that end being payment of my rent – I seem to have lost touch with myself. When I don’t write for love then everything around me seems to grow less lovely too, myself included.
So, to shake things up, here are some words that serve no real purpose beyond the benefit to my soul that comes from having dug them out.
Sitting outside – in my brown garden chair on our newly gravelled driveway – making myself a little dose of Vitamin D and feeling uproariously incongruous, I notice that my hands look old. Marvelling that they’re the very same hands I had when I was seven, I remembering staring at them then, lying in bed, holding them aloft above my head and wondering what they would look like when I grew old.
Outside. The breeze soothes me. It’s a calming influence. The wind is different on the coast. Warm but still insistent. I love the thought that no matter what happens or does not happen today, the wind will still be here tomorrow. The leaves on the wisteria are dancing in a frenzy, like over-excited children in fidget mode, incapable of being still.
When the children are not here, I miss them. When they’re here, I wish for five minutes’ peace.
I sometimes worry that five minutes peace has become a euphemism in our house for ‘go away’.
Far away I hear a child shouting ‘Daddy!’ and I resist the urge to jump in the car and go to see if they’re all alright.
When I read, I breathe better. Putting down my book, I inhale deeply, startled by the sensation of cold air filling my dusty lungs, surprised that I have forgotten how good it feels to breathe.
He always tells me we’ll miss these days. All too soon. One day the house will seem too quiet, he says. I raise an eyebrow disdainfully. He grins.
‘But at least all the rooms will stay tidy.’
‘Really,’ I say, mischievously. ‘So you won’t be here then either?’
There’s this thing that happens with long-term love. Things go unsaid. But when you push against that tide of slow-creep indifference, the thrill can be more palpable than any temptation to illicit love. We say things that surprise each other, and in so doing we breathe one another back to life.
Outside, with the soothing presence of the wind, I feel unfettered.
Abruptly, they all come home and my reverie is ended.