Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Gift of Life

I’m not functioning very well at the moment.   My husband, Vernon, has been in hospital since Tuesday with heart failure and he won’t be coming home until Monday.   This means that, with two trips to the hospital every day, nothing much is happening on the home front, but this is not what I’m thinking about at the moment.   I’m thinking about those two dreadful, frightening words –
            Heart failure !
            It means that the heart is failing to function normally.
            This incredible piece of human machinery we carry around inside us, this pump that sends a steady flow of life-giving blood to the very extremities of our bodies, is now failing to function as it should.
            If you think about how many times your heart beats per minute, per day, per year, and you multiply that with your age, then you begin to wonder how much longer it can keep going.   I know Vernon is thinking about this; his heart has served him faithfully for 77 years, but how much longer can it last.   I’m thinking about this as well; not just about him, but also for myself.
            It has made me realise, once again, what a precious gift life is.   God has given us this wonderful gift and many of us never pause to think exactly what that means.   He didn’t give us a life in bondage, but a life of freedom; the freedom to choose what we want to do with our lives.   We can be the captain of our own ship and go our own way, but, if we’re wise, we can choose to have God at the helm.   It doesn’t mean we won’t go through any stormy patches, but it will ensure that we have a safe journey to whatever shore God is taking us.
            At this stage in my life I am taking one day at a time.   God has given me the precious gift of TODAY.   It is now up to me.   What am I going to do with TODAY.   Am I going to guard it selfishly, or am I going to share it with others?   Am I going to keep the love that came with it to myself, or will I pass it on?
                        If God has given me one more day,
                        I will live it to His glory, come what may.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Writer's Block - It's a cramp

If you’ve never gone through a period of ‘writer’s block’ then consider yourself fortunate.   I think of it as a cramp in the creative part of the brain that won’t let go, and it causes extreme emotional pain.
            You sit and stare at the blank page and the ideas just don’t come.   A thread of panic uncoils from somewhere deep inside you and it serves no purpose except to magnify the problem.   The more you think, the less you produce and the greater the panic.
            You tell yourself you’ve been writing too much over the past years, burning the candle at both ends on many occasions, and you’re mentally exhausted.   You pay a visit to your local pharmacist and ask him to prescribe something for you that will give you a mental boost, something to revive the old brain cells, and you go home with your precious package believing that you’ve found a miracle cure.   You give yourself a couple of weeks, telling yourself that the medication needs time to take root, but as the weeks go by you find that nothing has changed except that you’re so wide awake now your head is spinning.   You can’t sleep at night your brain is so active, but the thoughts flit through it at the speed of a bullet ricocheting from wall to wall in a room the size of a pantry.   It leaves you mentally breathless and frustrated.
            There is another kind of writer’s block where you know what you want to say, but you can’t find the right words.   It takes hours to write a paragraph because whatever you write just doesn’t sound right, so you do it over and over again, writing it this way and that way until you’re finally so exhausted you just don’t give a damn what it sounds like anymore.   You put it away and decide to leave it for the next day, you’re exhausted, you need the break, but your mind is like a dog with a bone, it won’t let go.   You get back to it the next day and it’s the same thing over again.   It’s like tapping water out of a tank.   You know it’s full, but when you open the tap the water comes out one reluctant drop at a time.
            I’ve experienced both of the above and all I can say is that there’s no point in fretting.   It only makes it worse.   Let it go and do something else, something creative that doesn’t require you to use the written word.   I’ve always enjoyed photography; it’s another form of expressing oneself.
            There is something else as well.   Don’t be too hard on yourself where your work is concerned.   If you’re too critical you could become your own worst enemy.   You might end up thinking your work is inferior when it is quite the reverse.   The biggest stumbling block for any writer is the belief that their work isn’t good enough.   It’s fine to be a perfectionist, but don’t let it destroy the creative juices.