Bibelots

a place for the curious

Category: thoughts (page 1 of 6)

A collection of seemingly random thoughts about anything that comes to mind.

On time, passing

harsh light fading to gentle light on reeds next to a riverThere were many moments over the last few months when I wished I’d been on time. On time to be somewhere, on time for a deadline or a project, on time to see someone or do something.

Then one moment gathered all those moments. When I needed it most, I was there. I was with him, and he knew it. Knew me. Not just in that final second, but in the weeks, months and nights that led to it. This moment had stitched itself through many others.

It still haunts me, that I might not have made it. That my dad might have died without me. Not alone, not unloved, but with everything for us still unresolved. I had one like that this year. It’s too harsh to ever describe.

So, right now, I guess that’s how I’m feeling. That all those smaller moments add up. There’ve been plenty of times in my life that I didn’t make it. Times when other loved ones have been alone. But this time, yeah, this one damn time. Time was with me. For once, it was on my side.

Time seems to have left me since then. It’s like the usual elasticity of time has worn out. It’s still elastic, but it’s so thin I don’t sense it the same way. I read clocks and understand that I’m late or early. But I’m adrift in a sea of seconds or maybe hours. I’m strangely happy this way.

I know it’ll stop. I know I’ll adjust.

You know what, though? Right now, in this long and lengthening moment, I’ll stand. His invisible hand in mine. Watching time and all its inhabitants rush by.

 

 

One line

Why do we do what we do? Why do we try?

Some days, I wonder why I write stories. Is it to get published? Yep. Can’t deny that one. Is it to be read and heard, and maybe loved? Oh, yes. But why does it make me ache if I don’t? This yearning for storytelling; it’s not about the endgame. It’s something else. Something deep. Something core to who I am.

I sleep, in hope of dreams. I dream, in hope of ideas. I write, in hope of story.

I write to tell that tale.

And now and then I send a story out there. Sometimes there’s feedback and it’s grand. Sometimes, of course, it’s a ‘no’.

Occasionally, a no is just a silence. A silence you can fill with questions. Is the time not right? What did I miss? Why do I even do this? Why persist? What makes me presume I’m good enough?

These silences don’t make for great days. But it’s part of being a writer. If you can keep pushing through it, you can go on. Some days that’s hard. But, I promise you, if you’re a new writer, this day too: it’s worth it.

On one of those less-great days, I allowed myself to sink into the words of another. This single line grabbed me by the shoulders and held me, breathless. Wouldn’t let go.

‘Their voices mourned every unfulfilled wish, every step they hadn’t taken and every unspoken word.’
– Marianne in The Little Breton Bistro, Nina George

Of course, that moment in Marianne’s life wasn’t the same as mine. I don’t live the same life as her; we’re not on the same journey. But those words? They got me. They dug into my heart and, oh, they burned. I needed them. These words about striving and regret and life. They tell you to not give up. To thrive. To go on.

I couldn’t turn the page. I held her book like a lifeline.

One line, she did this to me with. One line.

That’s why. That’s why you do what you do. To connect to someone and take their breath from their lungs. To shore them up and see them through a day. Or a moment. And not even know it. To just hope that what you write might, one day, do that.

We try because we don’t know what else to do. But more than anything else, we try because we feel the presence of others.

Somewhere out there, there’s someone like you. And they’re waiting for your words.

One day, just once, I want to do that. I want to reach out, like that, and find someone. I want to write those words and set them free. I want to find you and be there for you.

That’s why. I need to do this. I can’t not. And some days it’s hard. Some days it hurts.

So, what else can I do, but try.

Strong

a twisted roadsign, bent but not broken

Strong, bent, not broken

What you think it means to be strong, is not the same for me.

Where you might see softness, I can find strength.

Where you think you’ve found weakness, I can see depth.

If I can stand, I’ll stand with others.

If I fall, I’ll be okay. I’ll get up again. This bit I’ve got. That part is strong.

If you fall, I’ll try and help you. And if I can’t, I’ll stand by you.

Strength is not how you see me.

Strength is how I am, how I live.

Strong is not what you think. It’s not yours to give.

It’s mine. It’s me.

Mixed feelings

blank cassette

mixed music,
mixed feelings

Music is a gift. That part I’m sure of.

Hearing music, being able to play it, singing it beautifully or singing it as if no-one else exists in the world. Tapping it out, hearing it as you run your fingers along a fence, sensing it in the pulse of another. Feeling it. It all blends to a sweet and personal harmony.

Music is everywhere and it’s a joy.

But there’s a gift that I miss. Or sometimes think that I do. A package of music that’s had its time.

A million years ago, there was the mixtape.

You could make your own; tape recorder shoved up hard against the radio, finger hovering on the worn red record button, waiting for that song. You know the one. It kept you up at night, trying to remember the words. It made your heart ache, when it came on air. Or it made you want to dance. You couldn’t not dance.

An enthusiastic friend might gift a mixtape to you. A box full of the sounds they wanted you to love. Maybe they were trying to cure you of your poppy, synthy, electronic ways. Maybe it was so that you might one day fall for their kind of music, or even fall for them. I always fell in love with the songs, but it never cured me. A good mixtape could blow my mind. It opened musical doors. Hell, a great one could unearth entire musical cities.

There are different ways to do this now. Digital ways. Shared playlists, and radio stations that like to think they know what you want. The word mixtape has taken on its own life and lots of folk use it to mean the mix, not the media. But, for me, this hasn’t replaced what’s gone. It still does and always will mean a cassette with a wound up gift of sound.

I miss it, absolutely. But that’s not to say I miss the technology. I guess that’s it – what I’m not so sure of. Cassette tapes were thick with imperfections. They wore out. Got tangled up. Unravelled and jammed. Yet there’s a little piece of that imperfect mess that I long for. The last few seconds of the captured next song. The slow devolve of the sounds and words of your favourite track; your most adored bit of tape.

It doesn’t make sense that I miss this. At the time, it annoyed me. Drove me mad. Made me swear and throw things. All the same, these imperfections are what made those songs uniquely mine. No-one else heard these songs in the same way that I did. Not the same order, not the same quality, not even the same loss through overuse and over-love.

And that little nest, that non-robotic soup is, I think, what made this music last. I can still see my favourite tape. My favourite song. That friend’s handwriting. The day the tape broke. Too much heart, too much worship.

As the world around me seeks for more and more stylised perfection, I guess that’s what I miss. A little box of chaos, music and imperfect love.

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