I have had a busy couple of weeks so haven’t been able to write. My brain has been elsewhere, with some good things happening to divert my attention. I am currently writing a post about politics but it isn’t ready yet. Instead, I would like to write a little about words.
On my desktop at work, I have a quote from WB Yeats: ‘Were we not born to wander?’ The answer is pretty much yes. The world is interesting and I like being in it, well, most of the time. Some of the finest literature I have ever read has been about exploring, even if it is, to quote Yeats again, sometimes about ‘one dear perpetual place’. I was reading Roger Deakin earlier. He wrote three amazing books about nature and just being in the world. Waterlog is about swimming in wild places and in lidos and features a swim in the sea in Northumberland where I was last weekend. Wildwood is all about trees and much else besides. This morning I caught up with Notes From Walnut Tree Farm, a compilation of jottings and diary entries published not long after his death in 2006. It is arranged by month with impressions of the different months. I read it first all the way through and every year since I have read it month by month, usually when I am travelling, at a loose end or just needing a wee blast of Roger. I like words that are well crafted and these are some of the finest, guaranteed to grab the attention wherever I happen to be, even on the Subway. Today I had two months to catch up with, which was a real treat. Reading Roger Deakin sharpens one’s perception and gives real pleasure while doing it.
My other thought about words concerns my own writing. I write a lot but don’t talk about it so much. Most of the people I know don’t know that I write, which mostly suits me fine. I went to a writing class over the summer but didn’t get too much out of it, except the idea to start a blog. The actual impetus to do it was a conversation with a colleague, who suggested it.
I don’t write about travel outside of this blog. I mainly write little scripted plays with stories I work on and change regularly. Characters recur and situations recur but I often change things depending on my mood. In a bad mood, there tends to be death or bad news; better days, meanwhile, are days of love and everything going right. Lately, I have been reading back at one of my many notebooks rather than doing much writing. That’s been fine, surprising sometimes when I see what I have done well. Plus I can nick my own ideas and make them better. It’s like having an ant farm, writing, when you get to play God, and it is hard to beat.
I am quite verbal as a thinker. I think in words rather than pictures as some other autistic people like Temple Grandin do. Writing is a therapy for me, a way to express what I am not always able to do verbally, either because of lack of sufficient means or an audience. In the mouths of my characters, I can end up putting words that sum up how I feel but could never say out loud or can deal with hopes before, possibly, maybe, they eventually become reality.
Here, however, it’s different. The experiences I write about here are about the actual world. They are a microcosm of what I experience when I travel. I haven’t written so much about how I feel sometimes when I travel, yet. I sometimes feel stressed in crowded places and there are times when travelling is more hassle than it is worth. But I am getting there and life is nearly always worth the effort, as a rule.