May 23, 2022
5 mins read
[Author's note: I almost never let anything go out into the world unedited. I even do two drafts for a tweet. But I'm giving this to you raw, because that's how I wrote it. I let my mind run, in glorious freedom, and I don't want to go back like a tutting governess and tidy everything up. There will be mess, but there's an authenticity to that and I wanted you to have every authentic and real and raw today. I'm not sure why, but I love listening to my instinct and that is what it is telling me.]
There are some people who make me want to write. I’m listening to one just now. I don’t even know what his name is. He’s got a podcast and it’s called something like Magic and Beauty but he doesn’t say who he is or what he is called.
A person got in touch with me on Facebook and sent me the link. I was slightly grumpy at the time because I get a bit annoyed when everything to do with horses gets sent to me. (I know people mean well, but my inbox frightens me. I am an extreme introvert, and too many questions and suggestions overwhelm me.)
I was, I freely admit, not being my best self. I was a bit tired and scratchy and not swishing about being generous and adorable. I should have thought: what an incredibly kind and thoughtful person, to send me a special podcast. Instead, I thought: oh goodness, one more thing I have to do.
But the universe was shifting and rippling. At that very moment, a client in Canada had to cancel because her internet had been shot to hell by storms. And I’d done my big piece of work for the day so I had a free hour. And, without much enthusiasm, I pressed play.
It is, indeed, magic.
It’s magic from the first words and it goes on getting more magic until it reaches peak magic. It’s all the things I love. It’s got Nietzsche in it, and Jung, and a few horses. It’s not about horses, not really, but it has wonderful lines about horses like, ‘Horses suffer because people think they know.’ It’s about mystery and letting go and why people from other cultures find Western anger so baffling.
And, for some reason, it makes me want to write. This man, with his beautiful mind and his calm voice, makes me want to write.
I missed you over the weekend, and that’s very naughty, because this was a pledge to write a cup of coffee every single day. I write every day without thinking about it. Writing every day is as automatic as breathing. I can’t go through a day and not form a word on a page. I love writing for so many reasons: I love the miracles that words can make and I love the tap of my fingers on the keyboard and I love making sense where there was no sense and I love letting my mind run. I can’t not do it.
But public writing is another hill of beans. This is for you, my Dear Reader, and it is in way of thanks, because you buy me those sweet cups of coffee and I need the support and it makes a difference. I thought I’d be one of those rich, swishy authors, lounging about in hot villas in Italy and writing perfect sentences and sighing with exhaustion every time there was another Hollywood producer on the telephone. It didn’t quite work out like that. So I need the cups of coffee and once I would have been ashamed of that but now I’m not. We all need cups of coffee, in our different ways. You and I are in the human race together. And that means something.
When I’ve listened to someone wonderful, like my man there, or read something galvanising and thrilling, I can write for you as if I am running downhill with a following wind. I’m so excited by the reminder of words and their beauty and their power that I can’t wait to give you some. But there are other days when I can’t think of one useful thing and I am alarmed at the thought of boring you and I tell myself that it was a stupid pledge anyway and you won’t miss me and you’ll be able to do something more interesting.
It fascinates me, how these helpful, kind voices and unhelpful, scared voices jostle in my head. I’ve got good at identifying them over the years, and I understand them, and I don’t shout at them as I once did, but they still surprise me. ‘Did you really have to say that?’ I ask them, even though I know they come out of the amygdala, which is convinced I am about to be eaten by a woolly mammoth and gets a bit hysterical about that.
I’m slowing now, and I have no idea what it was that I started to say. I have no central theme to come back to. I allowed myself to start and keep going and encourage my mind to gallop where it would. That’s the most pure kind of writing; it’s the writing I ask all my writers to do. It can be frightening, because not knowing where you are going sometimes feels terrifying, but it can be magic, like that man with his wise voice.
I know: I said something about finding the people who make you want to write. And I wanted that to stand for more than writing (although there are very few things that are more than writing). I wanted it to mean - find the people who make you want to live, and to think, and to dance, and to create. Find those people, whether they are your best friend or a random fella you ran into on the internet who turns out to have a podcast. Find those people, and let them lift you up.
That’s what I wanted to say.