26th Jan – not every wave is a tidal wave
The roof snow is still melting and the pavements still have their tired cake icing layer. I woke both of us up at around half six this morning by unconsciously kicking my hotwater bottle out of bed, it made a heavy wet rubbery slouchy sort of noise, like a barrel of fish slopping in the back of a van during a sharp left turn. I’m listening to The Mountain Goats again. This album has fully taken me over as some albums do a few times a year. The lead singer used to be a poet and you can tell from the evocative wordy strange lyrics. That appeals to me, of course. They have a song called Tidal Wave that goes, very hopefully ‘not every wave is a tidal wave’ the album came out in mid 2020 and it’s hard not to hear that song as a hope against the horrors of the waves of disease we’ve been experiencing. Things are bad but they won’t always get worse.
I’ve caught up with myself a lot recently, in the way I think posh rich people do when they’re on a yoga retreat for five weeks. I feel like I’ve been able to identify some things I’ve held onto that I don’t need any longer. The thing that always rings true is that if you want to do something you’re probably already doing it, or finding a way to do it. Like tattoos or dyeing my hair, I talk about wanting to do it, but if I really truly wanted to, I would have done it by now. You can only get in your own way for an amount of time, eventually you break through and find a way, if you really do want to do it. I’ve known I’ve loved fabric for years, but it’s only truly since the past two years I’ve found an outlet for that passion in my quilt. You follow your passions because it feels natural. Most people aren’t up at 11:20pm each night writing in their journal, but here I am doing that. I could easily be doing anything else but I love doing this, and I gain a lot from it. An order to my thoughts. An expression of my thoughts is very helpful to me.
27th Jan – vivacious gusto
I’ve started my final panel of my patchwork quilt. I’ve intentionally not sewn all the pieces together quite yet. I’m anxious about finishing it, really. Using it and not using it, whether it will start to fall apart. Whether it’ll be too cold or too hot. I think about it, how many hours and hours I’ve spent on it through all of this awfulness. The fear and wish for forgetting, change is all there in the stitches. I just hope it comes out well and I’m happy with it. I’m sure I will be. Part of me knows I’ll do another one, I kind of have to. I’ve honed the skill over this year from doing it most days: I need to keep making and learning.
I’m telling myself I don’t have to do everything, or even anything. I just need to follow my wishes and the joy. I will be happier if I do this. I am happier as I try to do this. I think about airports, foreign train announcements, continental breakfasts, I think about Euro and Kronor. Reviewing your photographs from the day. The distant rush of the sea. Boats on the river. These things will return or we will return to them. We are now at a moment of great compression, and soon, however gently, the spring will allow itself to expand again and we will once again know the world and live in the world with vivacious gusto. We will, for a few years maybe, take it too far from the relief of being safe to do so. The spring will spring. There will be an end.
28th Jan – We have the smallest hopes we can muster
One thing I think about a lot is making the most of the place you’re in, making the most of what you’ve got. Take opportunities ahead of you. Don’t just wildly switch around on a whim. Most of the time, if you’re there the things will come to you, being there is the key. That’s what was great about Poetry School, it set me up and put me on the path to be published. I was there putting in the time. Showing up is a big deal. Showing up for what you want, what you’re proud of, showing up for yourself. I’m not there with poetry right now, that’s fine. I’m going to be there again, when I am, I’m sure it will be something brilliant (so modest!). In this time, I’m here for my journal, for my quilt and for getting through this time. The rain continues outside, a constant skipping shaky sort of rain, not driving or insistent. We have the smallest hopes we can muster. We have not named the hopes quite yet, the hopes are that maybe this was the last big peak, that the numbers will continue to fall. But neither of us bring it up in conversation, but I know we’re both thinking it, looking at the numbers every evening and hoping hoping hoping.
29th Jan – this collective trauma
Watched a few videos of The Mountain Goats last night. I’ve loved them for a while but recently their most recent album has spoken to me. I realised it was a while since I’d cried from pure joy as I was watching them perform and crying. Maybe this collective trauma will open us all up a bit, make people empathetic, more able to be honest with their feelings. It’s something we’ve all been through together, that will give us common ground in the future. I hope it means we’ll be kinder to each other.