Clockwork

I’ve let the blog slide for some time now, without wanting to but feeling increasingly like I’m exposed. I write openly, but I’m not always comfortable with it. I do it because it feels important to have a voice, and knowing people read this, I want to say things which I think are important and which I hope might be of some comfort to others.

I’ve found myself with an extensive body of work, three years in the making, and a smaller collection which came about in the last six months, maybe less. I’ve entered countless competitions, never expecting to win but enjoying the deadlines and themes and having something to work for. I work every day, more or less, I take it very seriously. The difficulty is that my writing is so tied up with how I feel, how I feel about myself specifically, that I bruise easily. And when I am low and I can’t write, this becomes unbearable.

Routine is the most essential part of my writing life, and domestic life. That’s how I keep my moods together. Often I find it very difficult to change things, and anything out of the ordinary shakes me up. I think this is just part of how I’ve managed the past few years. I often think I’d love to live a different way, full of social events and people and writing late into the night and things I used to do; but stability is the most important thing in my house, if I am well it all runs like clockwork. Recently my moods have become more erratic, and I have had to turn things down, hibernate and concentrate on my work. It all falls in with the routine of pills and the routine of the school run and football practice, swimming lessons and mealtimes and although my life isn’t exciting I seem to have a lot to write about, a lot to say in my poems even if I don’t have the rest of the time. When I become depressed it happens very quickly. If I slow down I come to a stop. I’ve learned that I can get through it in a matter of days if I force myself out, walking the dog, to the shops, even if I walk so slow it’s ridiculous. Even if I don’t feel like buying anything when I get there.

I have to shower. This sounds stupid, but I find it very hard to look after myself when I’m low and so I just drag myself through a routine that I can manage and usually if I push myself like this, I start to feel brighter. If I gave into it I would sink. It would consume me, weeks, months. And it’s so easy to ignore warning signs and let it take me.

I’ve also been becoming agitated and high. This is worse in many respects. When I can’t sit still and I feel like I can’t cope with being alive I have to distract myself. This isn’t always easy. I recently went to a Walkmen gig and my thoughts were racing while I was watching and I was struggling to even recognise any familiar songs. Even though it was so loud I couldn’t block those thoughts out, but I became fixated on the lights, and the way the guitarist moved, and the way the crowd rocked and shouted the lyrics and I sipped my cider and slowly began to sink into the music. It has taken a lot of years to teach myself how to distract. And when the agitation kicks in it’s the hardest thing to do anything but walk on the spot and talk and want to scream.

I’m wearing a dress with hummingbirds on. I got it for £4. I always wanted a dress with hummingbirds on, in fact I think I designed one when I was about nine. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack to the film Drive which I am in love with. I’ve been reading the literary magazine The Dark Horse which I think is magnificent; the articles are fabulous. I am looking forward to seeing my husband, Steven’s psychedelic/shoegaze band Unalaska at band night at The King’s Arms in Salford on 17th November from 7.00pm. They’re amazing, though I’m obviously biased.  I’ve been writing about lions’ dens, suicides, sexual abuse, dead mothers, thieving hotel maids, poems inspired by Scott Walker and 90’s grunge bands, execution…all the most accessible stuff. I don’t want to be censored. I feel like I’ve been holding back something vital recently, and in the last two months it has just exploded. I’m sure that it’s not easy to read, but why should I write anything that’s easy to read? I don’t want to repress my instincts. When I have these things on my mind and they won’t go unless I put them down. I wonder if anyone would find they couldn’t handle it or that my poems upset them.

I want there to be no denial, no censorship. It is important that we have a voice. A feminine voice. All these fucking men groping and all these women afraid to say anything because they wouldn’t be believed. I want it all out, things that people don’t want to hear are often the most vital things we need to say. I don’t want it to be sensationalist, I just want it to be true. Haven’t I got a duty as someone whose voice can be heard when others have been silenced, to write about the issues which affect, not just me but countless other men and women and children? My story is not unique, but my poetry is, and I think that it is the biggest part of who I am aside from being a mother and a wife. It’s just about all I have to offer the world.

I am going to open up the blog to guest posts; I’d particularly be interested in anything on a mental health theme or something specific to poetry. Please do get in touch if you would like to take over the blog.

Thank you for reading.

x

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5 thoughts on “Clockwork

  1. Pingback: Clockwork | Poetry News | Scoop.it

  2. Excellent post, Melissa. Thank you. It’s given me a lot to think about. Your commitment and seriousness about your writing makes a difference. I know it made a difference to my day. Take care xx

  3. Only just read this, Melissa. It’s absolutely fantastic. Not that it’s good that your moods are erratic but the fact that you live regardless and that you write fearlessly. You are my Bukowski. A female, less abusive version. I find atm that I’m having lovely days and then the melancholy ensues. Nothing as drastic as it used to be, but sort of just there, humming in the background. I would love to guest post. Will have a think xxx

    • It is lovely to have your response Eli. I wish I felt fearless, we’ve said this before…you’re very kind and thank you for your support. Melancholy can be deep and if it’s lifting then you just have to enjoy the respite as much as you can. I don’t think melancholy can even be cured through company, and not necessarily distraction, it has to be acknowledged, first and foremost, and respected, and then it’s a case of waiting for it to lift and pushing through. I feel for you, it’s not easy. Try not to let it take over. I know you try. I just wish I could live my life without limiting everything I do. You’re an inspiration in that sense, though I worry about you so much at times. If you could guest post I’d be thrilled! Name your topic (anything you like!) xxx

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