Writing for me is like swimming in the ocean. Drifting beneath the surface with my eyes closed, feeling the current beat against my body like the heart beat of the earth. Overwhelming peace, overwhelming complexity. A swell of colour and ideas forming into life and shape around me like a shining coral reef – the more I think the more I see. But then the sheer expanse of the picture grips me like a brutal rip tide: I can see everything surrounding me but nothing in detail, nothing sufficiently in focus. Then that terrible feeling as the words swimming around refuse to form fully enough to be written down. And so my dip beneath peaceful waves becomes a struggle against their power. I kick down one the ocean floor to propel myself upwards to the surface. Oxygen burns my lungs as I emerge and I put down my pen, resigned. Today will not be my day for writing then.
This piece is really about how sometimes I start writing and am overcome by the sheer detail of what I want to get down but don’t seem able to, and the corresponding confusion and dejection as I find myself giving up. I know it is a matter of discipline and concentration, but it is not a skill I have yet mastered.
I spent the day in Leiden today where I will be starting my masters degree in September. My best friend and I sheltered from the frequent rain in local cafes and shops, discovering the wonderful corners of the city. I wrote this while I waited for her in what I hope will become my new regular coffee house!