Returning In a Rowing Boat

by LimebirdCat

Rumours of a my demise are greatly exaggerated, I am back! I’m not full steam ahead or anything so spectacular – more rowing at minimal speed behind the QE2-like boat that is HMS Limebird.

I’ve hardly written a ruddy thing since I became sick a few months back. Which is, creatively speaking, something of a nightmare.

When you are away from your quill and parchment for so long, your inner doubts settle in. Am I any good? Do I care if I am? Oh, very philosophical questions indeed and certainly metaphysical in the most part.

It’s been actually quite hard to get back in the saddle, I’ve found. I seem to have lost all concept of grammar and voice too – I have no idea where I left them.

From a grammatical point of view, it’s been something of a hairy massacre. Infinitive’s split all over the shop, punctuation banished and abandoned and sentence structure having been reduced to little more than an incoherent pulp. Not pleasant for all involved.

Now, I am an Avant Garde sort of a writer – I splish-splash my wotsits and literary carbuncles wherever I jolly well please usually. The surrealist and modernist movements would be on their feet sounding a very raucous standing ovation at my usual work and attitude towards it.

However, due to the length of time it has taken me between downing my tools (the keyboard and notebooks) and picking them up again, I have lost some of that joie de vivre and confidence.

I’m bothering to write about it here for you, because I suspect I am not alone. Taking time out – usually forcibly due to sickness, personal circumstances or moving house etc must have happened to many a writer. I think it’s terribly important that we acknowledge that sledgehammer-like interruptions to our writing lives do come along and take so long to come back from. It is simply part of the journey for many a writer I suspect and one worth relating to you dear readers out there who find themselves rowing with me, whilst everyone else seems to have bought power-boats (or at the very least, subscribed to coal-fired steam ships).

Fear not, I suspect it is something that is there to help enliven our writing ability, ultimately, by providing something of a personally character building exercise.

I hope that if any of you are ill or taking time off writing, that you recover soon!

LimebirdCat x

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8 Comments to “Returning In a Rowing Boat”

  1. * blows a fanfare * Cat, I’m so happy you’re back, even if it is in a rowing boat. We’ve missed your literary wotsits like mad. * big licks and hugs *

  2. Cat, you are SO right…I’m in the midst of downsizing/moving and I haven’t written any poetry…my blogs have been few and far between. I keep telling myself not to panic…when it is all done I will just have to do writing exercises to get the writing back in shape…you’ll be back with a vengeance soon!

  3. I think that your experience is very close to the norm. In fact, I look with skepticism on those who say they write every day no matter what (unless they’re on contract). I wonder if they have any other life, or if they have a “wife” who takes care of everything else in their days and nights so they can spend all the time they want in a room of their own. Illness (as Virginia Woolf observes) tends to challenge this luxury, although “the wife” can soften the blow. Philip Roth is making the news now because he says he’s elated about putting down his pen in retirement so that he no longer feels the pressure to treat even the act of reading as part of his work. Interesting angle. In any case, it’s lovely to “hear” your voice, no matter the lumps and bumps. Cheers!

  4. I stopped writing for about 4 years when looking after my terminally ill mother and it was a difficult road back, but now I feel more creative than every before, so I look on it as a period away that re-stoked my creativity.

  5. Cat it is lovely to see you back, we’ve missed you. You are right, the further away from our writing we go the harder it is to get back. It’s easy enough, like riding a bike,yes – but no one mentions how rusty the bike gets while we’re away…

  6. I often think that those times when we are ill are our bodies telling us to slow down and take inventory. Without our bodies forcing us to do so, we probably wouldn’t take the necessary time…Glad you are re-emerging!

  7. Good to see you back, Cat!

    Baby steps are totally fine, especially if you’re powering up from a long hiatus. That could be a week, a month, a year, or ten years. Drive is important, and it’s good you recognize the tidal ebbs and flows of your style over this time.

    Writing every day is a challenge. If you’re used to that routine, falling out of it can be dangerous, no doubt. But, sometimes, taking that step back and away from our art is necessary. The body and mind – and spirit – are intrinsically linked, and one usually knows when the other needs a break. Forcing yourself back into a rigorous regimen before you’re ready will just frustrate you, I think. Best to recover and recuperate, sit still and meditate, get all the parts of you working in synchrony again.

    It sounds like you’re coming together. Maybe slowly and bit by bit, but the whimsy and wit is already showing through with this little post. Don’t fuss with rules and expectations right now. Be free! 🙂 And, be well. 😀

  8. It does take some time to get back into the groove. But it is all still there inside you. it’s just gonna take some time to get that writing muscle back in shape again. 🙂

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