Whilst at my writing support group this week we did a short exercise whereby we had to open a book or books (there was a choice of three) and randomly choose two phrases of around four words. We then had fifteen minutes to write something whether it be a poem, song, prose, story or reflection; anything.

The phrases I picked were “more than a score had arrived” and “the dawn is slow in coming”. This is what I wrote:

More than a score had arrived, so the dawn is slow in coming,

Files go missing, text in panic,
Forms not accessible, ethics in requests,
Emails unanswered, what is going on?

A cycle ride in the rain, fix the car,
A child arriving, meet for lunch,
Distant friends here, renew connections,

Could you answer these questions, for tomorrow?
Oh, here’s a few more, what about a photo or two?
It’s for a good cause, great publicity,

The challenge of abstract art, autistic interpretation,
A three year old, recently diagnosed, do I reveal?
Space on the balcony but the noise of a city,

The start of a series, but can I keep it going?
Shorten the article, maybe rewrite,
Reflections on a holiday, will they be explored?

Special training organised, not sure I can sustain,
Pain in my knee, should I be walking?
Good food but can I cope with the noise?

Disabling headache, take lots of pills,
Abdominal pain, are my kidneys okay?
Am I ill? Perhaps it is all in my head,

More than a score had arrived, so the dawn is slow in coming,
Freedom to think and write my words.

The result is a list which I think is probably therapeutic. It is a list of things that despite being ill and unable to think clearly, I still had to face. At least I felt I had to face. Each item in themselves felt reasonable to do at the time. Who else is going to fix the computers at work? Why wouldn’t I spend time with friends I haven’t seen for years?  I was aware that I was struggling to find time and space to recover from things. I was ill. I had extra people living in my house. Just living was more demanding than usual but then things I would prefer to leave along, kept popping up and each time if felt reasonable to address the issue. The problem was that I didn’t have any excess energy to spare, I kept slipping into deficit.

When my fellow writers asked what I wanted to do right now, the answer was to build a shed in the sunny spot of my garden to hide in and have space to think and write. They suggested to me that I hung onto that thought and see how I could make it happen.

That evening we had a household meeting where we discuss any issues that are cropping up and talk about jobs that need to be done around the house. It is not my favourite thing, and I could have done without it, but again I believe it was the right thing to put my energy into, what little I could muster. The meeting was long and demanding but somehow I stayed the course. I could have gone and sat down in my thinking spot and vegetated since there was no energy left for creativity. Instead I put my waterproof trousers on, a thick fleece, and my sailing jacket. I took the dog for a long walk. The rain was very heavy and the wind was really strong. The trees were moving so much in the wind, that I was reminded of large waves in a stormy ocean. It was wonderful. I think I was beginning to see the dawn.