The Small Stuff

So I’ve been lying awake in bed for hours now, as usual. There are several reasons for this. Number one being that there’s a massive storm going on outside and my room is an attic room meaning I’m lying about a foot from the roof and it’s loud, as are the bed springs which creak each time I breathe. Secondly, this is a rare occasion where I’m sleeping apart from my girlfriend which is always an unusual feeling. Thirdly I’ve been ill all week so my stomach’s got me on edge. But the most important reason and the most irritatingly familiar one is that I can’t turn my mind off.

I suppose what I’m trying to do is define myself. What makes me who I am? What motivates and inspires me? I’m not necessarily thinking ‘writing’ here- but life in general and I guess they’re linked. What’s great is when I think about it my life is pretty good at the moment, especially in comparison to how it was when say, I left school several years ago, or University a couple later. I’ve gone from being (largely) overweight to being in pretty good shape, I’ve got a promising writing career ahead of me, including two books and a couple of awards behind me and my personal life is fantastic. Despite being unwell over the last month or two I’ve managed to quit smoking too, a little bonus. I guess you’d say that these are the ‘big’ things in my life and they’re going well, but I’ve been over-thinking the little things. It’s the little things that give you inspiration to write, make you smile at random points during the day. It’s the little things that happen that make us laugh- a joke being shared, that book you’re enjoying reading that you can’t wait to tell someone about, that television show that you dash home for. We forget that while these ‘little’ things give us things to talk about, it’s the ‘big’ things that keep us alive.

I know I’d never have been able to write a lot of the things I have done over the years if not for those. I mean, fuck, if my life hadn’t sucked when I was penning the pieces for These Waters, God knows what would have happened. I wouldn’t have had that book published, I know that much!! Sure, I write about the little things too. Last week I wrote a poem about a painting I found interesting for example. I’ve made a poem out of a yellow flower. I’ve used the story of Lucifer and Salome. But without being shit on in life and writing Cigarettes In The Snow, quite honestly, poetry would never have happened for me. At this point I was at University studying creative writing in general and until about 8 months earlier had never written a poem or considered liking one in my life. I was 19 at this point and I’m 21 now!! I’d not long started dicking about writing poems along with short fiction for my first blog when it clicked with that piece.

I just don’t think life can move forward with just the little things. You know that saying ‘don’t sweat the small stuff?’- I’d never had a second thought about it until tonight. During my overly long, and possibly to you- boring, thought process I got thinking about ‘small victories’- you know the sort, the little bonuses you get during the day that make it a good one or perhaps the moment in which you feel smug having shown yourself to be better than someone else in whatever way.

Having been thinking back to when I was fat (by the way I really was huge as a teenager) I recalled the many occasions over the last few years where I’d ran into someone who I maybe hadn’t seen since leaving school, people who didn’t give my existence a second thought. So often they’ve came up to me, shook my hand, gave me a hug, whatever, and told me how great I looked (i.e. you used to be fat, Jord, remember? You’re actually quite good looking under all that flab, though, aren’t you?). For a moment, that’s a good feeling. There I am being awed by someone who I (more often than not) have a reason to hold a grudge against, but then when you think about it it’s not a little victory. If this person’s opinion mattered to me at all then they’d have been made aware over the last few years that I was looking good now. The people who need to know this do already.

What is important is enjoying the big things in life. I can write all day about my personal life for example, but whilst some scenery I pass may be pretty enough for a poem or a joke I see on twitter may be worth a retweet, the moment passes straight away and it’s never as special second time around. However life is there for, well, a lifetime. It can inspire every day and it does should you let it. I never thought I’d be giving this type of advice, and trust me; if you know me personally you wouldn’t either.

Sorry to go on and on for something I could have said in a few lines, but I needed to bore myself to sleep.

Dreams are possibilities.

Advertisements

Blueprints by the Sea

On many days before our own I would take my wits
and walk to kill whiles and desolate summer truths.
I would be besotted with new paths I traipsed
as my world was filled with enough beauty that
I believed there was something worth locating
in its cute but pallid blueprints by the sea.
For my place was gyred by waters as if to keep
me caged, pondering their artistry, wander them
and write words in marvel and despair.

I remember the breeze would stand still long enough
should I stand there idly and just observe
that I could waste away my days in acts and in mind.
Between its bursts would come whispers within
the cracks of the waves but it was voiceless.
I knew still how it whimpered sorely as if there
was not enough spirit by my side to hamper.

It was only once I could share my world with you
and walk you by my waters with hands enlaced
that I could see the extra colours by their banks.
Those solemn spring-grown buddings
quickly faded from white to shaded hues.
And in such moments it seems only fitting
that the sky be bluer and the Sun burn golden
more so than ever on me before.

On such days I’d make a promise
never to let those colours tarnish
and to cherish each footstep on the shores.
On such days I’d make a promise
never to leave my spirit barren
or forget the splendour of our world.

Jordan Baker
2014

For never can These Waters be Revisited with the same resonance again.