I’ve always enjoyed books and writing. For a long time I kept notes, poems, random inspirations on scraps of paper shoved into the books I was reading. I often treated myself to fancy notebooks & jotted away whenever an idea grabbed me. Somewhere along the line I ended up doing a lots of writing for my corporate job – plans, project briefs, press releases, letters, case notes. Over time these seemed to suck all the fun out of writing. Writing became hard work, a bit of a bind and my love for words stopped. Sentences, paragraphs and pages ground to a halt as inspiration ceased to flow.
I was and always will be a big fan of David Bowie. I remember watching a documentary made in the 70s by BBC TV where he explained how he wrote his songs. He appeared to be a bit tongue in cheek about writing a verse, cutting it up and rearranging the word & lines around. Yet whatever he was doing it worked. His music matched my teenage angst – mixed up, muddled up and confused. I was fascinated to try this way of writing and spent many happy & frustrating hours trying to capture my thoughts and feelings in poems that didn’t scan. Writing was an exploration. A way of saying the unsayable so others might understand. It was an adventure.
Then writing became a chore, slowly but surely, as I drafted and redrafted. As the meaning of what was being written had to fit with conventions, structure and form once more. Eventually I stopped completely. I only wrote when studying or working. My voice was being lost. That became a real issue when I found in my corporate world that what I said was ignored, misunderstood or dismissed. Women have powerful voices. We are creative creatures by nature. We can get to the heart of a matter quickly by ‘reading’ the emotional energy of a person, place, group and voicing what might be unsayable if not unthinkable. We also often find that what we say is disrespected.
I have a daughter. I want her to live in a world that is very different from the one I experienced as a teenager and young woman. I remember my boss walking around the office looking down the blouses of all the women he supervised. I remember his innuendo & the smirk he gave if any of us blushed. He thought it was ok to behave in that way – we were ‘his’ women. All that was a long time ago. You might argue that things have changed so much that the same situation couldn’t happen nowadays. Sadly, it seems it might even be worse.
My daughter is of an age when boys (anyone under 20 to me!) approach her for dates. However they don’t ask if she would like to go out with them. They ask if she wants to have sex with them. And they don’t seem to take no for an answer. Several of them are very persistent. They appear to think it’s ok to make pornographic suggestions as part of normal conversation whilst looking like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. You might be wondering what this has to do with writing a blog. I’m writing because someone has to tell it like it is. Someone has to be prepared to start the debates.
We need to question human behaviour. It’s important to stand up and be counted in some way. To think deeply about the way we live our lives and the conditioning we accept as a normal part of our lives. All the joy in writing was lost to me for such a long time that I missed one of the ways I can express myself. I have suggested to my daughter that when someone talks to her in a way that she finds disrespectful – and continues to do after she has told them not to – that she finds her voice, her very LOUD voice and lets everyone know how offensive someone has been.
Talking involves both speaking and listening. Writing is the same. I’m speaking by sharing my words. You are listening by reading them. If you understand what I’m saying then let’s have a conversation. Comment about what I’ve said on my blog. You don’t have to agree with me and I don’t have to agree with you. What matters is that we are thinking about, talking about and discussing how we understand the meaning of our lives. Who knows, we might even find we agree more than we expect to.
I also write this blog because I’ve found the joy of writing again. Ideas bounce in and out of my mind all day. It’s fun to sit down in my quiet time and find out which ones are going to emerge as posts. I’m back to scraps of paper, random notes and jottings stuffed into my diary. I’m also back to trying the David Bowie way of assembling things. My writing is exciting again!
Day 57 of my blogging challenge.