An ordinary day. An extraordinary day. Nothing to mark it out as special. Everything to make it special.
Over the course of a fortnight I asked a magic friend to give me a photographic challenge each day. Whatever she said I would find. On the second of November she asked me to take a picture of a white horse. A worthy challenge since very few white horses live in the centre of Newcastle Upon Tyne. I managed to complete the challenge though in some style.
A white horse. All the photos in this post were taken on that day as I walked from the Metro to the White Horse, then over the hill Marsden Quarry, down to the sea and along to South Shields where the light of sun on sea confirmed everything I learned that day.
From the White Horse pub I walked onto the low hills nearby and felt freedom as I passed through the woods and onto the open ground at the top. Joy surged through me and a great satisfaction that I had chosen to photograph that particular white horse rather than heading into the world of riddles and photographing a single tooth. I walked across the top of the hill and wanted to cry out in my happiness as the wind hit my face and as the sky looked down on me and smiled.
I saw cliffs ahead of me and found myself at this spot.
It's not the most spectacular view. I wasn't at the top of a mountain gazing across the other peaks. However, it's a view and it's one that I will remember for the rest of my life. I looked across to South Shields, Tynemouth beyond, and in the far distance I could see the hills of Northumberland. And the wind hit me more and my spirit soared upon the air since my body couldn't soar. I lifted my arms and spread my fingers and felt the exhilaration of the breeze.
And then it happened.
A moment of total clarity.
A moment of total certainty.
And I knew what I had to stop doing.
Until that moment I had things planned. I was going to be involved in setting up and running a business. I'd had some very good ideas. I had a business mentor to work with me. And I truly believe that it could have been something that would have greatly benefited autistic people in Newcastle. That was the plan.
Until that moment.
I knew with complete conviction that I had to give up on the business idea. Drop it. Immediately. Give up the ideas and let go. I knew that wasn't the right path to follow. I'd been excited by the idea but have to admit that the decision to walk away was a release from a trap I'd been building for myself. I truly hope that someone else will be able to take the ideas, add their own, and run with the plan.
In that moment of clarity I knew what I had to do.
It was as if the whole of creation spoke to me. I felt at one with everything and nature turned to me and said, "You are a writer. Write."
Then I knew. I had to write. Write, write and write some more. For myself primarily. Slowly learn the skills, run with wild ideas, and just have a lot of fun. It didn't matter whether I would ever made a living out of words. It didn't matter whether I would be so fortunate as that. And it didn't even matter that I had no plan whatsoever.
I just knew. I had to write. I am a writer. On a path leading to a place I do not dare to dream.
This blog is a part of the working out of that moment of clarity. As I approach 2017 I have a few plans regarding writing and my life.
- Keep writing things for the blogs I already have.
- Work my way with and through specific books on writing.
- Read poetry. Initially from specific sources.
- Generally read more and savour the words others have written.
- Indulge myself in Rumi and other spiritual geniuses.
- Attempt to write my post-theistic way through the New Testament gospels.
- Enter some competitions and submit some work - but only if the main motive of writing is my own enjoyment.
- Continue to walk and take photos and explore the world. Do these things more not less.
- Sing more and dance more and find freedom of physical expression.
- Experiment and play with art more than I've ever done before.
- Return to meditation.
- Improve my posture after decades of hunching and having no shoulders.
- Attend The Writers' Cafe more and share space, friendship and the excitement of story with those people and just to see what happens through that experience.
And then there's this plan:
- Find myself some daily writing prompts. And just free write from them, posting whatever the results may be and not worrying about literary merit.
So here it is. This blog. It will contain the results of the free writing. To begin with the prompts I use will be taken from http://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/ That may change. I have books of writing exercises and sometimes a friend has given me a prompt - the most recent resulting in a 15,000 word story.
I don't promise to post every day. I'm not up to that level of discipline. But I promise to write. Here. On other blogs. Privately. On ideas arising from the cafe. Exercises.
In 2017 I devote myself to being a writer. I don't know whether that will lead to anything. I don't know whether I will ever make a single pound out of writing. It doesn't matter. I write for myself. For my happiness. For my freedom. That moment of clarity was liberation.
If my writing ever adds some happiness to another person or causes them to smile or to think then that's a big bonus. If my name is ever in lights with a million pound book and movie deal ... to be honest I don't know if I could cope with that.
I don't know what will happen. What projects will thrive. What projects will die. Or what projects may come to pass that I haven't imagined. It can all be part of my plan without a plan. Every wave, every ebb and flow, every tide. Every surprise washed up. Every surprise taken by the sea.
No, I don't know what will happen.
But it will happen. I will make sure of that.