Went to meet a friend in the Orangery in Kensington Gardens and made an effort to get there early, on my bicycle. It was a damp, cold January afternoon and the air was full of inhalable memories of schooldays and cycle rides home through gathering darknesses.
I chained up my bike and went to sit on the peeling wooden slats of a cast-iron bench. I got out my notebook. I got out my camera. I took a few shots for this. And then I stopped.
I realised that I’d been getting myself all antsy about ‘capturing the moment’ (capture being such an aptly constrictive verb). I’d veered off to the scratchy filing cabinets of the thinking mind: trying to capture and translate the damp, pink cold into pictures, into thoughts, aperçus.
Instead I just sat and breathed cold air. Noticed how much hassle I had been giving myself until a few seconds previously. Remembered things that raced up to the surface of memory. Watched people looking at me, rollerblading past or cycling in wobbling swoops. Just sat. Felt the untranslatable thinginess of that particular afternoon in that particular park.
gapingvoid is a staggeringly good blog with some caffeine-like advice about creativity. And one of Hugh McLeod’s many wisdoms is about hiving off all external voices and only listening to the little voice that wants to play with crayons.
In this category of external voices, I would add the ‘internalized external voice’: the one that says, ‘you should be making money/ finding a niche in the market/ YOU SHOULD BE DOING MORE.’
As Hugh says, as long as you have something to say, then everything else falls into place.
Now, all I have to do is still the nattering inner voice that says: what do you want to say?
Did eventually get up and take photos of the swans. One of which I love.