Writing has come to a halt. So what have I been filling my time with recently? Mostly recovering from lack of sleep thanks to events outside of my control; daughter's illnesses and periods of Black Dog mostly. However I have not been idle. I'm still doing Kung-fu and Karate. As such I have been doing a lot of reading recently.
Writers, the good ones at least, do research. At the very least it becomes accepted that unless you're already an expert in your field and know absolutely everything you want to write about, you have to do some. But then comes the time, after all those hours slogging to get information in your head you want to get it out on "paper." If anything just to prove you understood it and to show people what you know. I've been known to call this "writer's froth." I myself operate better when I have too much information rather than too little. But how much becomes too much to share with others? And not just with writing. Like I mentioned last week, I'm gathering all sorts of information on martial arts. But am I filling my head with too much information that will only serve to confuse me later?
To me, life often appears as a chain of events, one linking to another to arrive at a destination. I can't speak for other peoples' experiences of Life (capitol L), but my own past appears full of these little points that seem to come together to help me get to something I need. Jung called it Synchronicity, inferring that there was no such thing as coincidence. Just lately it happened again. Coming off of school summer holidays I had trouble getting back into writing again. Got some done but then hit a creative wall. While filling my not-writing time with a game I'd won in a competition (which rarely happens to me!), I started back at karate. Feeling somewhat intimidated by the amount of stuff I didn't know and would need to in order to achieve the syllabus, I got to researching. This research lead me Qigong theory. And this solved my writing block. Makes me wonder what else will come of what appears to be going on at the moment.
What kind of idiot would restart a martial art they had not done for 15 years whilst also doing another one? Well it turns out that this kind of idiot would (he types while pointing at self). This started a few weeks ago after I couldn't take watching my daughter do karate while I stood in the side-lines. I had to join in. After some initial try-outs, it turns out you never really forget this stuff when it becomes ingrained into your muscle-memory. So here I am, taking karate classes at black belt level again, while also keeping up Kung-fu and dipping into and out of Taijiquan too. Here's hoping I don't live to regret these decisions.
A combination of factors kept me away from my blogging and my writing. None of these were unexpected. Two months and change appears a long time in the world of Web rankings. But what else can a father of a five-year-old with mental health issues do? But now I'm back.
Can there every be such a thing as over-rehearsing? As this week sees us Yellow Sashes keep up the revision for our pending grading, the constant repetition of the stuff we have been practicing what feels like forever finally started to get to me. I felt like at this point, if I don't know it after this long, then I ain't gonna get it at all. Sure I messed up some strikes this week, but that would be just one or two things in a syllabus that doesn't just count strikes as its unit of measurement. But even for those of us who are particularly hard on ourselves, relief came when a little anecdote was shared by Sifu that set the stage for what the grading will truly be all about - composure.
A lot of writing and productivity guides tell us that we always have to write. Make up that word count no matter what. Always have someone that you are accountable to so that they can keep you on deadline. That may work for you guys out there, but not so much for me. Since retiring from Web development to focus on my mental health and thereby get my butt in gear to write again, the Universe in all its glory has found many interesting and varied ways of keeping me operating at a slow burn. And recently it has been to do with the temperature and being unable to sleep. However, with the weather becoming blessedly cooler once more, words are coming again, much to my relief. So maybe the advice doesn't always work for everyone.
This week has all been about practice for the upcoming grading. Stance work, remembering where in the sequences things are, and sometimes embarassing and painful fails when hitting the practice pads have been the mainstay. With still a week to go I find myself saying/typing - "Are we there yet?"
Alan Moore has said that he believes that writers are the closest thing the modern day has to shamans (shamen?). " Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as "the art". I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness." This was made very apparent to me when I came across the band Heilung's 2017 performance at Castlefest. Some who know me better than others know of my dalliances with various forms of occultism, spiritualism and magickal practices. So would anyone really be surprised to find that my secondary reason for writing, beyond "having a book in me", would be because I want to make magic?
The baking sun has sapped most of my energy this week. Anyone from foreign climes where the sun bakes the land to a much greater degree than here will likely poke fun. I do have to point out however that since I live on an island that sits between the Gulf Stream and the east-to-west frosty breath of Siberia, our homes are made to retain heat, because we don't want to die of hypothermia in the winter. This does however mean that when the sun bakes us, our homes keep the heat in and cook us allthemore. As such, I have managed little this week. Even Kung-fu was more taxing than usual, not just from the heat but the lack of sleep. Hell, I'm sleeping in the kitchen at the moment because it appears too hot for me upstairs. So, my update this week will be brief due to weather.