On isolation…

What a world we’re living in. I don’t need to describe it. You are all seeing it, feeling it and living it. Each of us experiencing things in a different way to the next person.

At times, I’ve caught myself starting to slide into bleak places. Depressing places. Exhausting places. And hauled myself out using a range of strategies – like getting fresh air, exercising, messaging a friend, and writing. I will continue to do these things, not just whenever I feel that familiar, dark cocoon beginning to envelope me, but as often as I can, to prevent it’s arrival in the first place.

My friend Catherine Deveny, a wonderful writer, is uploading a writing tutorial every day on FB so we can have some guidance in our creative outlet. If you don’t know her she’s a fabulous woman who is as generous as she is knowledgable. Here’s the link. I did lesson one today and it was a lovely way to get started. It’s free but if you can spare a dollar please do…

This was a little poem I wrote during Dev’s online class:

The world feels heavy

The weight of it all

pulls on my face

drags my eyelids down

like anchors

My cheeks hurt

My jaw aches

from the grinding,

asleep and awake,

it has breached my flesh

and left a gaping wound

where I breathe in fear and sadness

Breathe out exhaustion and exclusion

Is this my contribution to our heavy world?

Where has hope gone?

It’s crawled, desperate and dying,

covered in guilt

through the hole, and out

Into the snaking, receding sunlight.

My house is closed tight

Shut, like my eyes

Pulled down by the weight of the world

Heavy on our faces.

K Portier 24/03/20

What a miserable poem that is! But it’s what fell out of me and so it is. Perhaps my writing tomorrow will be more upbeat and uplifting, which is honestly how I prefer it.

My plan is just to keep writing and keep collecting all the thoughts and feelings and then, when I’m strong enough, sift through the debris for some treasure.

Recently I’ve run a couple of Professional Development sessions for teachers and I’ve posed the following two writing prompts that I think are applicable and worthwhile to do whether you’re a teacher or not. Plus it’s something to stimulate the senses while you’re in isolation.

  1. Spend 5-10 minutes writing about your relationship with writing. Has it changed over the years? Do you have a relationship with writing? Is it all emails and work docs?
  2. Spend 5-10 minutes writing about how your relationship with writing may’ve impacted your students (or if you’re not a teacher) how has it impacted your own self?

There are no right or wrong, good or bad answers to these questions. The prompts are merely an opportunity for you to reflect on something you may not have turned your mind to before.

I’ve been amazed by many of the responses teachers have shared to these two prompts. I’ve heard several times that the joy of creating writing was snuffed out as they moved through the education system, into university and then into the work force. And now, mostly anything of substance they write is for academic purposes, while the notion of creative writing no longer exists in their lives.

I’ve also heard people explain that they didn’t really enjoy writing at school and so it was never probable they would develop a relationship with writing beyond school. Others admitted that they were so disappointed seeing all the red marks on their work that they lost confidence and eventually gave up. How sad and unnecessary.

Please feel free to have a go responding to those 2 little prompts and if you fancy sharing your thoughts I’d love to hear from you. Take care in these tricky times my friends. I hope you have enough tea on hand to see you through xx

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