Wednesday 29 July 2020

Calming down... with words - Nick Garlick

In my last blog, I described why I like writing children’s stories. This time around, I’d like to describe one of the reasons I like writing. 

I was clicking through my favourite websites over my cup of coffee yesterday morning when I came a Facebook post from a relative who’s a dedicated conspiracy theorist. (9/11 was a US government plot. Vaccines are killers. The Illuminati are running our lives. And on. And on.) That day’s post offered ‘scientific’ proof that wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID -19 is actually a danger to our health.

Without wanting to wade into the whole mask argument, let me just say such stuff drives me round the bend. Bloviating experts working on ‘faith’ alone infuriate me. This one infuriated me so much I couldn’t sit still. I had to get up, walk around and talk to the cat for five minutes to calm myself down.

The last thing I wanted to do was write. Sit and work on a story about a little girl banding together with friends to save a local beauty spot? I was so angry I couldn’t get myself into the calm, innocent frame of mind I needed to describe her adventures.

Yet not writing only made me feel worse. So I made a compromise with myself: all I had to do was write one page. And then if I really wasn’t in the mood, I could stop.

I opened up Word and started a new chapter. One page, I told myself. 350 words. Perhaps because my anger at the mask post was still boiling, I wrote them almost without knowing. By the time I’d finished them though, an idea had popped into my head for how to continue. I hadn’t known it the week before when I stopped in mid-chapter. Now I did.

I finished the chapter and began the next one, because that new idea in the first had prompted a new idea for the second. I kept writing. Almost before I knew it, I’d written 1,500 words. I’d also calmed down. A lot.

That’s the reason for writing I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. It takes me away from all the nonsense and negativity of the world. It makes me feel better. More positive. It makes me – when it’s going well* – glad to be alive. I hope it always will.

*I could no doubt write another blog post about what happens when it doesn’t go well. But if I do it’ll be another time.


Sue Purkiss said...

Lovely! (My husband discovered this week that someone he knows and likes is an anti-vaxxer. She says she won't have a covid vaccine, and her children haven't had any vaccinations.????? Honestly, I find the world more bewildering day by day.

Penny Dolan said...

Thank you. Nick! Good stories - even stories about stories - are very welcome these days.

Anne Booth said...

That's lovely and encouraging, and I recognise the way writing our own stories can help us choose a better narrative than ones foisted on us, and calm us down!

Lynne Benton said...

Excellent post, Nick! Isn't it interesting how writing helps calm down the internal rage? (Just as well, since we rage at the news most days now!)

Enid Richemont said...

Commiserations on the dumb relative. I have a fairly obvious theory re- the conspiracy theorists - we are, after all, a story telling species, and these are stories masquerading as facts. Have you encountered the demons and lizards yet?

Ness Harbour said...

Great post Nick! Life and conspiracy theorists can be so discombobulating but you are right writing can be so grounding, allowing you to escape this crazy world to a world that is safe and hopefully happy. Thank you for writing this, it reminds me why I need to write