What am I waiting for?

What am I waiting for?

For the winter to be over?

For Spring to arrive?

For my life to start?

For something to give a little, to feel that sudden shifting that says something is going to move soon?

For the stars to move into a favourable conjunction?

For better times?

Till I am grown up enough to understand the world?

Till my prayers are answered? Till I am strong enough?

Till I am better?

Till I can love myself enough?

Till someone rescues me?

Till the conditions for growth are better?

What am I waiting for?

Is this inactivity simply a lull, a pause in proceedings or is it the preface to a slow decline?

Is each forward step I take that is met by a sliding backwards, a waste of effort?

Am I just clinging on to stop the current, the fierce force of the river, sweeping me away?

I feel like an actor, hiding in the wings, waiting for my cue to step on stage, take my place and speak my lines.

I feel like the crown princess waiting for a crown that never comes without the grief of losing the one who wore it last.

I feel like a child who cannot grow up.

I feel like the eternal Miss Havisham, trapped in a soul that gathers more cobwebs and mould each unkissed year.

I feel like the buds brought in too early that dry and wither on the branch, never to open and flower.

I feel like a treasure hunter who only has half the map; the half where X marks the spot is lost to me.

I feel like the hero of a book, the one where  the reader knows his fate but the hero does not.

I feel like I have lost my way; I’m sitting on my luggage at Paddington station and hoping someone with look after this bear.

I’m scared I’ve missed my moment.

I’m scared I have missed my cue, and the rest of the cast have had to muddle through without me.

I’m scared that I’m in limbo, stuck in a dead hinterland of nothingness where I wait for an eternity for a moment that never comes.

Have I dithered too long about destiny?

Have I failed to make my choices, waiting instead to see what happens?

Has it all passed me by while I stand, frozen by fear and by self doubt?

Or is this instead the patience to wait for the right moment, even without knowing what that would look like?

Is it the rightful caution of someone whose bones know where she should be going, even if her head does not?

Is it the wisdom to wait and not try to force the world into a shape it’s not ready to move into?

Is it the silent knowing that tells you that this is not IT, that mystical something you’ve been waiting for?

That inner certainty that something right for you is there somewhere?

Is it that sane assessment that tells you that while the frying pan is hot, the fire is hotter yet?

What am I waiting for?

I do not know.

But chasing intangibles will not bring it faster.

The myth of permanent growth ~ or what goes up must come down

The myth of permanent growth ~ or what goes up must come down

Recent news reports on the British economy have been pretty depressing lately. I really don’t find either politics or economics even vaguely interesting but I was struck by various things recently. The concept of growth, for example.

Some years ago, I was asked by an editor at one of the big publishers to put together a proposal for a book about the decline of the Church of England. Short version of this is that after six weeks of research I submitted my proposal and a few weeks after that had it turned down on the grounds that the committee didn’t think there would be enough people interested in buying such a book. That was that; I wasn’t even much disappointed. I’d written very little non-fiction at that point and wasn’t sure I was capable of it. The reason I mention this was because the research I had to do for the proposal involved looking at publicly available information concerning the finances. Even without a financially astute brain I could read the spreadsheets and see there was a fundamental flaw in their projections at this time. With the average age of contributing parishioners rising and the number of younger people joining falling, I could see that the income levels being predicted were fatally flawed. Sooner or later those increasingly elderly people would either pass on, or they would themselves begin cutting back their giving as the economy squeezed their pensions till they squealed. The secure future for Church income was not as secure as the forecasters seemed to think. As the ratio of male/female priests also began to skew heavily to middle-aged women working without a stipend, it became clearer that the church was planning on relying on more priests working without being paid. Since this relieves some of the financial burden on parish giving, I did wonder why this was not mentioned in the reports (perhaps it was and I missed it) but since then, I have continued to wonder why this trend has not been more openly explored.

Growth is an odd thing. Many years ago when I worked on a nature reserve as an education officer one of our visitors with a school spent some time talking with my boss about some software programme he’d been playing with. It basically was intended to map out and chart a graph of growth based on entering certain figures for known and probable growth of certain plants. He used the example of an oak tree. My boss listened patiently and then carefully told him why the programme couldn’t work. Too many variables: oak growth is dependent on issues like rainfall, overall temperature, pests and so on. The teacher said, well, it’s only a rough guide, if you can put the data in it’ll give you a figure for 200 years ahead. I started to walk away at this point because it got quite heated, my boss trying to point out that while you might be able to do this for a long-lived being like a tree, it was impossible to be accurate and also somewhat pointless. “We already know how high an oak tree is likely to grow,” said my boss. “Daisies, then,” said the teacher. “You can put the figures in for daisies and see how tall they’re going to grow!” “But we know that. You don’t get constant growth for 200 years. They grow so tall and no more. It’s in their genes.”

By this point I was too far away to hear.

But the upshot of it is that things have inbuilt lifespans for both life and growth, whether they are oak trees, daisies or economies. Things that boom often go bust just as quickly.

Sustainable growth is what we need to aim at. Growth that is essentially maintaining a healthy level of activity. Not just in our global or national economies but in our personal growth. What can you achieve that you can hope to maintain, come high days, holidays, slumps, sickness and the rest? What things can you aim to achieve that are not one-hit wonders, that once in a lifetime marathon but the brisk walk every day? What can you guarantee to be able to keep at even when the momentum is lost?

Many blogs for example start off well, taper off and then die because the level of commitment needed to keep going demanded too much from the blogger. It’s the same with writing books. There must be a million partially written MS stuck in drawers, real or virtual because their authors simply couldn’t keep up.

And then there’s sales. It’s a bit over 6 months since I first got a book out on Kindle and I have seen sales climb, and that’s wonderful. But just as things can go up, they can also go down. I see plenty of Indie writers whose sales figures make my jaw drop to my chest with amazement, and I take my hat off to anyone who is making real money this way. It’s the dream of most writers to make a living from their writing. Yet even though I’m doing OK, there are two spectres that haunt me. One is that however hard I try and however hard I work I’m extremely unlikely to pen a book that screams best-seller; literary fiction rarely gets into those sorts of lists. The second spectre is that the hard-won growth is going to be destroyed and tail off into nothing. The situation is precarious. Thousands upon thousands of authors have signed up for the Select programme, which means they are able to give their books away free as promotion. I’m not criticising anyone who has chosen this route but today I had confirmation of something I’d been wondering about.

My good friend Andrew commented that a friend of his wife’s had refused to shell out the £3 or so needed to buy his book, on the grounds that they thought they shouldn’t have to pay for e-books at all. There are so many books out there now that are free to download that many folks simply don’t buy now; they wait till the author puts the book on promotion and grab it then. I know money’s too tight to mention, I know we none of us have much dosh right now. But think about it. A book someone has laboured over for months or years is surely worth a few quid. If you’ve read the sample, and liked it, then why turn up your nose because the author is asking for some recompense for their work?

Too many are doing just this. Too many are stuffing their e-readers full of goodies that are being given away by authors who hope that by doing so, the reader will come back and buy their next one.

At present, I have no plans to do this. It is for me counter-intuitive and in terms of my growth, both as a writer and as a person, it’s more like herbicide. But if there is a reader who genuinely cannot afford to buy one of my e-books reading this then contact me and I may well gift you a pdf of it. It’s not that I refuse to give my work away; I’d just prefer to be able to do so to someone who will truly value it.

That way I have a hope of continuing to produce good work and not be overwhelmed by despair. That way I have a chance to create a sustainable pattern of growth for my soul and for my writing without the all-or-nothing grand gesture my diva-ish nature sometimes prompts me to demand.

Doors within Doors ~ deciphering the dreaming

Doors within Doors ~ deciphering the dreaming

Last year I found myself taking lots of photographs of doors and doorways, some open, some closed and some even bricked up.

 The best ones (visually anyway) were ones that were taken from the inside looking out. The view is framed by the doorway and the view is enticing.

The real reason I am fascinated by doorways is not merely aesthetic but symbolic. I dream a great deal about doors; often in the dream I try to exit a building only to find that the doorway is somehow far too narrow to squeeze my bulk through. Or I dream that my door to the world will not fully shut and remains stubbornly open and vulnerable to intrusion by the exterior world. Or that I am unable to open a door to escape from a house. Many of my dreams see me exploring, often fearfully in darkened rooms and corridors, a great house, vast in size and packed with rooms full of wonders and terrible things. I go up stairs that never end, trying to find a way off the exhausting ascent. Often stairs are for the trigger for realising I am dreaming and then I can take some control and enjoy “lucid dreaming”.

A common door dream I have at regular intervals is one where I find a secret door in my home, that has been there all along but I have forgotten about, and which leads to a series of rooms that are hidden but somehow familiar. I discover what amounts to a second house, annexed to the main one, and I explore that avidly. I wake feeling disappointed that these extra rooms are not really present. The extra rooms have the feel of having been recently inhabited but I never meet anyone there.

But the dreams that end up haunting me most are the ones where I am trapped within a building and cannot find a door that takes me out into the open air, and into nature. Sometimes I go through doors that seem to take me outside but in fact they turn me back to the inside. I often wake distressed and claustrophobic from these.

About a week or two back I had one of these dreams but it had a rather interesting twist. I was in a caravan and I wanted to go out. The door was there so I opened it. Behind it was another door. I opened that. It went on, opening door after door without ever revealing the way out. A voice, just off camera, said to me, “This is a spirit door, it is there to confuse the spirits.” It made perfect sense and within the dream I seemed to remember some Tibetan practise of putting in fake doors to trap evil spirits. I lost the dream a moment after that but I do recall I may have tried to exit via a window and the dream went elsewhere.

I woke with a sense of having been given a clue.  A door is not always a door; sometimes it is a trap. In the last novel I wrote (not yet named or published) the main character ended up in a catatonic fugue state, as a result of extreme stress and trauma but the final straw was moving through a gateway in his own garden. Now previous to this, he had experienced a deep shamanic trance state where he had met and talked with his dead mother herself stuck in between worlds, and captive by her own choices in a moment frozen in time in that same garden. Their conversation finally freed her from this self-imposed imprisonment and the son acted as a kind of psycho-pomp for the dead by allowing her to pass from the garden into the next world via a seldom-opened gate in the garden wall. His own desire to escape from the travails of his life meant that the next time he passed in reality through this gate, it sent him back into a limbo world like that timeless night-garden and trapped him in a non-responsive state.

I’ve battled with this desire to escape, escape from myself and my life and who I am for a long time. I think this is what fuels these dreams of doors and doorways and why my unconscious plays these tricks on me.

I somehow feel that perhaps within my dreaming I have been so focused on going through doors I have not considered (like the hero in my novel) where they actually lead. Do they lead to the open air, the wide skies and freedom or do they lead like the gateway in my hero’s journey to a limbo land of nothingness and waiting?

I do not know.

Last night though I dreamed a slightly different dream. Without conscious action I moved within a dream from an interior setting to an outside one. I had no awareness of the transition from being at a computer holding an instant messaging conversation with someone who will probably never communicate with me again, to being outside and at the foot of an impossibly steep hill. Others (I don’t know who) were with me and while I thought the hill too steep to ascend, someone showed me that it was only the first six feet that were hard, and suddenly, I was hauling myself up onto a path that was far higher up than I expected to be. It was a hill that seemed to have been a sort of ancient hill fort that had been built upon and used for a long, long time and once I was past a certain point, I was able to stand at the low walls and look out across a vast and brightly lit city below me. I wasn’t at the top, but I was a good halfway and the rest of the climb didn’t look that hard at all.

The following lines are from T.S Eliot’s East Coker, in the Four Quartets

You say I am repeating

Something I have said before. I shall say it again.

Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,

To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,

You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.

In order to arrive at what you do not know

You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.

In order to possess what you do not possess

You must go by the way of dispossession.

In order to arrive at what you are not

You must go through the way in which you are not.

And what you do not know is the only thing you know

And what you own is what you do not own

And where you are is where you are not.

It seems to be about a form of conscious unconsciousness. Maybe like my hero in that novel, I need to go through a form of dispossession of self.

Guesting elsewhere today ~ balancing peripheral characters with main characters

A few weeks back, I was asked if I would contribute my thoughts to Thea’s wonderful blog. The subject she wanted to me to tackle was how to stop peripheral characters in a story usurping the main ones. “Oh,” I said. “You mean how to stop Side Show Bob murdering Bart Simpson?” and the post was born.

Enjoy (oh and be sure to check out Thea’s books while you’re there too!)

 

http://theaatkinson.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/balancing-peripheral-characters-with-main-characters/

Analysing the creative process~ part 2 by Marc Nash

(This post came from an email exchange between Marc and I after I had been worrying about losing my creativity. Marc was happy to have his process shared here)

I’ve read books on the sources of creativity, mainly by psychologists & analysts. None really clinch it for me. You’ve probably got your own ideas on it. Mine are hardly scientific. In a way it’s akin to the dreaming process, which is apposite since much of my “creativity” seems to emerge from that same unconscious realm. I may not be working on a piece of writing, but a solution to a writing problem, or a conjunction of ideas previously not made, can come to me at the most surprising of moments. Usually when I’m trying to empty my mind in preparation for dropping off to sleep, that space where what has been held at bay throughout the rest of the workaday hours of life, now free to be invaded by that which emerges from the deepest core of me, the writer.

Creativity seems to me to be akin to dreams because it is not logical. I don’t know what you believe of all the dream theories, but to me it partly represents the brain trying to process all the irregular bytes of information that it can’t slot into easy niches of its synaptic RAM. That’s why dreams always have such surprising associations and juxtapositions of people/images/events that we would never consciously associate together. The brain is almost trying to wedge them into a flush dovetail join, just like a toddler with one of those shape toys, who is failing to ram a square brick into a crescent shaped hole. I think creativity, in making the associations we just don’t foresee is similar. What underpins the things brought together is most likely to be an emotional or affective feeling. That’s why I think no matter how currently blocked a writer may be, the block will shift. Those emotional states are there. Those images & experiences are there. We are constantly working on them at a very deep level and in time they will be unlocked. The feelings and experiences can’t disappear. Writers are people who are prepared to be open to these experiences and feelings, to work on them and to utilise their output. Psychoanalysts work with the same experiences and feelings of their clients, but they would kill them for any writer in the way they are worked on, not least because they are refracted through a very rigid lens of psychoanalysis which clips the wings of these rich and diversely interpretable experiences.

What we may lack is the stillness for the results of our deep level ruminations to come up to the surface. Real life and emotional states may preclude it. But they are there. The work is continuing apace. A writer never loses that process. The physical impediments to it surfacing are unlikely to remain in place for ever. Once you have laid down the processes that produce these richly creative associations you are a writer. And even if temporarily blocked, those processes are still laid down. They don’t disappear. They don’t wither on the vine. You have to trust to yourself that they will resurface, when circumstances allow.

And that’s kind of how my process works. I get the germ of a novel. Usually a central image and a voice (not character, but voice, which to me contains character). The association of those two things that normally one wouldn’t necessarily bring together (the mysterious source of creative thought as discussed above). In the case of my debut novel, it was the idea of a gangster’s moll (and accordingly the voice) and being holed up in a Club 18-30 holiday resort. How? Why? When? I have no idea. I’d read the odd gangster’s autobiography. Been struck by the role of the wife and the relative lack of voice for them in such a world. Watched those dreadful programmes with jaw-dropping awe about young British tourists abroad, like ‘”Ibiza Uncovered” and “Holiday Reps” and now “Sun, Sea & Suspicious Parents”. While I was consuming both these strands, presumably I was consuming lots of other input from TV, radio, books, conversations? And yet these were the two that knitted together somewhere in my addled brain. My current work sparked off the physics of Einstein’s theories on relativity and the notion of observation as conducted by a private eye.

With this jumping off point, I then proceed to do nothing for 6 months but let the ideas seethe away in my creative subconscious. Occasionally I’ll make a note or two, but I won’t start writing anything. I may read around the subject, but usually not. What I don’t understand about this stage is how chunks of the work don’t come to me as they do once I’ve formally sat down to write it. It’s like my brain is keeping my powder dry for me, which is a very odd mechanism, but one I think I’m grateful for. Because when I do finally sit down to write it, the build up all comes out. I write as a momentum writer. It often comes out fully formed in parts, even though I haven’t rehearsed it consciously in my mind (my flash is very different, often I have rehearsed that in my mind, usually while lying awake in bed and can write it virtually fully-formed the next morning. At a flesh & blood writing group I briefly attended, I’d forgotten to bring the print off of a flash I was going to read. But was able to reconstruct maybe 85% of it during the recital from memory, because that reconstruction was how I’d effectively written it in the first place, reconstructing it from the mental going over of it lying in bed). When I say I’m a momentum writer, I mean I build up a head of steam which propels the writing along. It’s Monte Carlo or bust effectively, I have to get to the end of the first draft, so there is no turning back & re-editing. The momentum carries me through the plot (such as I indulge in plots). My inability to build up momentum right now is what’s making the WIP such a hard grind for me.

In the momentum zone, I sleep badly, eat badly, neglect the nearest & dearest. I finish writing at about 1am and then lie in bed still formulating chunks of text to set down the next day for at least 2 hours as my febrile brain winds down its activity. The next morning I start by reconstructing that 2 hours worth of work in bed and then press on. This is why I feel my processes aren’t terribly instructive to fellow writers. In this state, the words do literally course through my veins and prevent me from sleeping. That’s how wrapped up my body is in what I do, way more than any mental notions of the identity of a writer.

And that’s it, that’s my process for the first draft. It’s compressed into a relatively short span of intense writing and is largely all knitted up (though not unfailingly so) through the process of letting it lie for those 6 months and working at a subconscious level. This is again why I say the fact that someone is not currently writing, does not portend they’ll never be able to write fiction again. The work is continuing. It will out when it is ready. When the connections and associations have been made.

I’m sure this is of very limited use to you and your processes. But I offer it simply as a way of saying don’t lose faith in your abilities. Your back catalogue proves you possess all the tools and have and can turn a blank screen into a published novel. You just have to trust yourself, even if you can’t definitively say when the next fiction book will arrive on the galleys. You are a writer. You will always be a writer. There may be a question in some cases of a writer simply running out of material to write about. That their store of experiences can no longer yield them fresh associations. Firstly I judge you to be so far removed from such a person, just from our conversations – you have a rich storehouse of experiences, you still pursue fresh knowledge and insight, you are still grappling with the world around you. For secondly, any such person who runs out of source material, probably isn’t much of a writer in the first place, being insufficiently stimulated by the things around them. And thirdly, how many established authors make a career out of rewriting the same limited first book over and over again!

Be in no doubt Viv, the fiction will come back on track. Only you might not be able to determine the timescale, which I appreciate brings its own frustrations. But if you can separate out the fact that it’s not flowing right now, from any illusion that it may never flow again, then you have permission not to beat yourself up about it. Maybe my greatest achievement as a writer, is not to give myself a hard time when I’m not writing.

You can find out more about Marc’s work, his books and his thoughts in one or more of these places:

http://marcnash.weebly.com Website “A,B&E”

http://marcnashNIMN.weebly.com Website “Not In My Name”

www.sulcicollective.blogspot.com Blog

or connect to him on Twitter as  @21stCscribe

A (fairly) light-hearted look at insomnia ~ scourge of my life and that of others

A (fairly) light-hearted look at insomnia ~ scourge of my life and that of others.

If there is one thing guaranteed to get people talking on social media (and we shall exclude certain subjects for reasons of simple decency) it’s insomnia. It’s far from a simple subject, as this article from Wiki shows but when people start discussing it, you really would think it was simple. Don’t drink caffeine, stop worrying, lavender oil on the pillow…. the advice is endless. I’ve doled out enough of it myself to deserve to be punched.

Those who have never suffered with more than the occasional missed night of sleep are lucky. That said, I’d not wish it upon them.

The definition of insomnia is ambiguous too: Insomnia is often defined as a positive response to either of two questions: “Do you experience difficulty sleeping?” or “Do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep?”

Now I’d answer a resounding yes to both questions. Once you start looking more deeply into causes, that’s the point when you realise that it’s not a simple matter of applying head to pillow and shutting the eyes. Insomnia can be fatal (though this is rare) and it is far more debilitating that folks who never suffer can imagine.

I’m going to run through a number of the things I have tried over the years. Some of them work for a while, and some are tried and tested sleep aids. If any of them are things you haven’t tried, do consider trying them.

Herbs (teas, tablets and tinctures): usually people suggest camomile for this and it is indeed very relaxing in small quantities. Over use of it produces the opposite effect. Other herbs that are beneficial for sleep are valerian and hops. The downside is that both of these have a depressant effect. Many herbal sleeping tablets contain both. Not advisable if you suffer with depression. Another good herb is passiflora; this works as a muscle relaxant so if you have a heart problem this one is out. I concocted a herb tea made with about 15 different herbs, all known to have relaxing, soothing and sleep inducing properties: wild lettuce, (which was used to treat the Emperor Augustus of a life threatening bout of insomnia; to such effect he put up a statue in its homour) wood betony, vervain, violets, lavender, passiflora, Californian poppies, limeflowers, camomile, rose petals and St John’s wort among a few others. The tea does work but to make up the mix costs a fair amount of money and you make a pretty large amount. You can’t store herbs for very long without them losing their potency, so when certain herbs like limeflowers undergo chemical changes (after two years they produce chemicals that induce the effects of intoxication) after a year or two, making a blend needs to be done in small quantities at regular intervals. This works for acute insomnia but not for chronic.

Sleeping pills: both over the counter remedies and prescribed ones can be very effective for acute insomnia. One of the most readily available brands  has the option of one OR two tablets. I keep these in for desperate measures. On the leaflet it warns against using them habitually and also if you have kidney damage. Those nights I do take them, I find the next day I have significant pain in the kidney area. Prescribed ones I have taken usually produce such a heavy, unrefeshing sleep that takes hours to emerge from that I’d prefer to avoid them.

Cutting down on caffeine: worth doing. I don’t drink any caffeine-rich beverage after a certain time and drink only a certain amount during the day.

Exercise: taking some form of exercise each day does help. However, according to research, too much exercise can increase insomnia. How much is too much? Exercising immediately before bed will certainly not help.

Aromatherapy: there are many essential oils that have soporific effects. Using one of these (lavender, camomile, rose, jasmine etc) will aid acute insomnia. However, in my experience, long term they don’t do much.

Hot baths: this works by relaxing the muscles with heat. However don’t get into bed until the body temperature has returned to normal. The body’s sleep mechanism is triggered by the body temperature falling slightly, which is why it’s best to sleep in a room that is slightly cooler than usual room temperature.

Crystals: no, don’t laugh. Using certain crystals to aid sleep goes back a long way. Amethyst that deep purple gem is often suggested. It’s also supposed to give deeper and more restful sleep. I have a fondness for crystals and I have found using them helpful. Placebo, maybe but don’t diss it. Again, it may help with short term acute insomnia.

Meditation: this helps to come to a kind of quiet space. Used regularly meditation has immense benefits for a lot of people. My problem is finding the motivation to do something that takes discipline and determination.

Music: I have a good dozen cds of music to help sleep. Some are excellent and some I just find annoyingly bland. Once more, they help through an acute phase but long term efficacy is poor.

Flower essences: yes, I know, another one many find flaky. I’ve used them and found them helpful. Might be placebo but if it helps? Again, short term efficacy.

Blue light: I was given a funny little box that emits a softly pulsing blue light. The idea is you match your breathing to the pulsing and you drift off. Surprisingly effective for acute phases, especially when suffering with severe anxiety. It’s battery powered and I keep forgetting to charge the battery. It also may annoy the person you share a bed with.

Incense: burned some time prior to bedtime, smoke stimulates serotonin production in the brain. I use a very lovely lavender incense from Greater Goods. If nothing else, it makes your bedroom smell wonderful.

I’ve tried a lot of other techniques that simply don’t work for me, including the old favourites hot milk, sex, reading a boring book (I just get bored!) hot toddys and many more. Contrary to what people have assumed, I don’t lie in bed worrying. I’m usually not a worrier. I’ve lain there and quietened my thoughts till they are all sitting there obediently being silent and STILL sleep wouldn’t come for hours. This is not about mind over matter.

It comes down to what is causing your insomnia. If you are treating a symptom without knowing it’s cause, it’s going to be far harder. I read through the article of wiki and this line jumped out at me:

Major depression leads to alterations in the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, causing excessive release of cortisol which can lead to poor sleep quality.”

Oh. So we’re back to the Black Dog again. What a surprise.

Is there someone there? ~ a sense of presence

Roses…

 

Is there someone there?

I’m almost sure I can feel you there. The scent of roses comes and goes. It reminds me of something long ago.

The hairs of  my neck are bristling. I can feel you. Who are you? Talk to me. Please.

Nothing

the computer hums softly, the blood in my ears sings

nothing again but the rising of tiny hairs over my whole body. I tingle.

Communicate with me somehow. I jump when the auto-correct turns lower case letters to capitals. Silly cow.

It’s easy to scare myself, imagine things. I make a …well, not a living, but some money from imagining things, so it’s what I naturally do. I take an idea and I let it grow like a weed until I see the form it wants to take and then I tend it so it grows the way it wants to.  I write sometimes like someone who is merely taking down dictation; my best work has always come that way. That sort of writing gives me butterflies and more as I write. I get drawn in and lost in the maze I create, a word-maze, a labyrinth that takes me to a centre somewhere deep inside me  and I find….what do I find there?

I can’t remember.

Who are you? You’ve been here before, months back, touching my hand, my cheek, that little brush like a passing cobweb. Who? Talk to me, let me know you are real and not something from my imagination. Send me a sign. Something I can’t talk myself out of. More than a failing starter switch on a kitchen light. Please.

I can’t feel or sense anything now and that scent of old roses with a dash of something else is gone too. I write that and a shiver starts along my spine. A breath of something.

What is this, what is going on? Is there something, someone there?