The Healing Power of Writing

I’m sitting up here while a concoction of tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, spinach and quinoa bubbles away downstairs in the kitchen. The smell of garlic, paprika and herbs de Provence rises steadily, reminding me of my tendency to mix and match things even in my culinary experiments as well as my literary ones. I’m going out a bit later for my beekeeping course and we need to eat early as we need to be at the Bee Centre at seven tonight.

I realised something rather profound today. Well, profound for me at any rate. When I sat down to write Seminar yesterday I set out to simply record what had happened, to get it down in black and white so I could look at it objectively and get over it. It didn’t happen. As I said somewhere in the comments, I got as far as the giggling of goblins and then the piece took a life of its own and took me with it. It was a great ride, too!

I certainly don’t claim it as great literature, but I will claim it as healing literature for me. I let something happen; I relinquished control and let a different side of me work. The side of me that is lighter hearted, mischevious and slightly childish needed to appear to save the very adult me from swallowing myself up in wails of “It’s not fair!” and my inevitable retreat into my default setting of mildly suicidal depression. I found I could laugh at the situation and take it a lot less seriously than I had before. I could see things for what they were. Oh, I believe in faeries and goblins and all that stuff, by the way but the ones we have to fear the most are the ones who have become semi-human, like the ones in Seminar. You can’t spot them for what they are unless you are trained to see it.

It’s also reminded me that I have a gift with words. I’d got a bit lost about that, really. I’d forgotten that I could write, just like that, at the drop of the proverbial hat and LET IT JUST COME. You see, the chief goblin had stolen my gift for a while. She made me believe, subconsciously at any rate, that to write you have to plan and edit and agonise and nit-pick and fiddle endlessly to be a writer.

Bollocks! To be a writer, you just need to write. To be a singer, you sing, to be a dancer, you dance. To fly, the bird opens her wings and takes off. She doesn’t spend hours studying aero-dynamics and so on; she just flies.

To be a good writer, you have to write a lot. You serve an apprenticeship where you write rubbish, but you learn your trade and if you’re lucky you might get a mentor.  But to simply be a writer, good, bad, brilliant or indifferent, the only thing you  need to do is to write.

Writing a daft story about goblins healed something in me. I hope that healing extended a little to my readers too

13 thoughts on “The Healing Power of Writing

  1. Let me start by telling you that “To fly, the bird opens her wings and takes off. She doesn’t spend hours studying aero-dynamics and so on” made me laugh to the extent that I covered my laptop in wine and after some cleaning up I am now back to a normal state. I am tempted to emaili you the letter I was thinking of sending to see what kind of story you could make that into!!
    More importantly reading this served as a great reminder that the act of writing it may just be enough to get it out of my system and move on…


    • That’s funny!!! It wasn’t intended to be funny as such, more acerbic, as the kind of things the Chief Goblin wrote to me about writing were all about studying the craft and spending endless hours analysing things in minute detail and nothing at all about just WRITING!!!! Sorry about the laptop, hope it recovered..
      yes, do email me and see what I might do.
      By the way, what’s with the password protected post at your blog???


      • The laptop has fully recovered and is back on!
        The password protected post should no longer be passworded, although I am not convinced it will stay there. I have a strange feeling about it, but then again the feeling may just be down to the day I have had to endure!


      • bad day?
        I found it an interesting post, and I think you have a good idea. I’m not a huge starry eyed fan of Paulo Coelho but in The Witch of Portobello (which i am actually half convinced HE didnt write) the heroine teaches her co-workers at the bank she slaves for to dance every morning before they go to work and productivity went through the roof. Happy workers are better workers, IMHO!


      • You have no idea!!!!! Thanks for the hug!
        I feel emotionally and physically drained.
        I am not too familiar with Paulo Coelho and have only read one of his books, the title of which escapes me, but I fully agree (whether or not he wrote it!!!) that happy workers are better workers and at this point I am not a particular happy worker!


    • Wonderful. Great news as we’ve been offered a swarm, so we’re going over on Sunday to hive it and then collect it after dusk and take it to the new site.
      But, when I was out watering the garden (in my pjs!!) I spotted a honey bee going into the hive we put out in the garden, so we’re hoping she’s a scout and later today we’ll get a swarm just arriving…. Fingers crossed!!!


      • sadly no. i have just been out in my beesuit and wielding the smoker and there’s nothing in there. The bees are still scout bees having a look around. I rang our teacher and he said, no they don’t rob wax, and gave me advice on what to do. So now we wait and see. But we’ve got a lot of sugar in now to give ’em a feed when they do arrive.
        ah well, never count your bees till the swarm has actually landed!


      • hahahahahahahhahahaha-thud
        that was me laughing my head off.
        A small swarm or a “cast” as it’s known is about a thousand bees, sometimes less. A full swarm may number 30,00 bees.
        Anyway, we’re collecting a swarm on Sunday, weather permitting so all is not lost!!


      • Maybe you’ll need a ticket number system like at the delicatessen counter!!!! They can then queue up in an orderly fashion!


      • I suspect the system is akin to that of Tel Aviv bus port; my old flat mate was there and the motto is “EVERYONE IS FIRST!”


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