It all started (or stopped) the night I caught up with my oldest friend Polly. We’ve known each other since the beginning of primary school and have been friends ever since. These days we live about 2000 leagues away from each other so an opportunity to have an in person catch up demands full attention.
It was a damned quandary I can tell you. Up until that night I’d been writing and publishing every day, keeping to my word, fulfilling my promises, dripping with integrity. Later in the evening, after we’d had time for dinner and chit-chat I declared I really needed to do my daily writing. She was understanding, and turned on the box while I tried to write.
I did manage to write a bit, but inevitably we kept getting involved in conversation. My writing brain is like a stubborn old steam engine – once it loses momentum it takes a lot of effort to get it moving again.
So eventually I gave it up, resolving to get up early in the morning.
One thing I have slowly managed to drum into my stubborn noggin (now there’s a word I bet you haven’t heard in a while) is that trying to do too many things just means I don’t do anything.
So, although I did feel a bit guilty about not completing my self-imposed writing goal – I knew being present for old friends was far more important.
And isn’t that just like life – constantly throwing up tricky scenarios that must be weighed and considered. A bit like the Would You Rather game that the boys like to play with me. E.g. Would you rather jump into a pool of sharks, or a pool of crocodiles?
Would I rather keep to my commitment – or make the most of time with a friend?
So anyway… I did get up early the next day and write some more, but I didn’t do enough to actually finish the piece for that day (which is why you never got to see it), and then that afternoon I picked up my sis from the airport, and that rolled into a few solid days of dawn to dusk golden times with both my sisters and my mum.
So I didn’t even try to write. But I was torn-up about the whole thing. One voice whispered in my ear, “Yeah good one, at the first sign of anything more than complete solitude you give up on your goal – you never could finish anything”.
Then another voice told critical inner monologue to shut up and enjoy time with family. We’re all scattered at opposite ends of the country, so time together is really special.
But… it didn’t stop me thinking about writing, seeing life through the eyes of a potential story. So even though I wasn’t writing, my brain was still in gear. Okay maybe only first gear, but there was forward momentum, which I’m happy about, because I think for me writing is a bit like a psychotherapy session – where I get to reflect, deconstruct and process… And hopefully emerge at the end a little more sane.
So, now everyone has gone home and it is just me sitting on the couch in the dark and the quiet with time to write… It’s nice. Feels good to have the space and time to do this again, but I think it’s probably only good because it’s contrasted with people-filled moments.
Moments filled with friendship – I think family members that you feel close to and aligned with are actually friends – that you happen to be related to. Whereas just because you’re related to someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re also going to be friends.
On the evening before I wrote the first draft of this one, I’d spent the evening with another lovely friend. Chatting the evening away, without so much as one moment of pause. And gosh what a gift to have a friend. To have someone you can bounce back and forth in conversation with for a solid three hours and still not run out of things to say. Someone who encourages you, appreciates you and confides in you.
I had already planned to start writing again, but I think it was in large part due to her encouragement that I’m sitting here at 10.41 finishing this off, instead of going to bed.
So, I’d like to dedicate this rambling confession - to friendship. And offer it as a reminder that life is always a constant process of recalibration - which means sometimes plans need to change and promises need to be broken in order to ride the waves of magic available to us in nothing little moments.