I’m just back from a big trip to Sri Lanka with my children. We had a wonderful time in a country which was characterised for me by the way in which people of different faiths lived peacefully together. I’m so saddened by the news today and my heart goes out to the people there.
Before I heard the news I wrote a blog about our journey and the journey of grief. You can read it here.
I also made journeys the subject of my workshops this week and enjoyed all of the different writing journeys that the children and adult writers went on.
I wrote a little reflection on writing as a journey too. Here it is:
A while ago, Rony Robinson asked me on Radio Sheffield for the title of my autobiography and I said ‘A long and winding road’ partly because my life has felt like this and partly because it reflects my journey as a writer.
If the goal of my writing had been to be a famous novelist, it certainly has been a long road and, if I wanted to, I could call myself a failure. Twenty years since an agent at Curtis Brown predicted that my novel would become a bestseller, I’m still waiting.
But as I get older I’ve discovered that journeys are less about the destination and more about the road travelled (or less travelled) upon. I’ve slowed down and learned to spend more time looking out of the window at the scenery, scenery that I write about. Life has become more about collecting moments like stamps in a passport.
Writing has become a form of exercise too. People don’t go to yoga classes to become the best at yoga. No-one reviews their downward dog in The Guardian or scores their yogic success in Twitter followers. People do yoga because it feels good, because it allows them to be in the moment, to connect with themselves. Writing is like that for me.
A change is as good as a rest, they say and writing is both. For a while, when I’m writing, I can inhabit the mind of someone else. I can walk in someone else’s shoes. Writing allows me empathy. I can travel wherever I want to go while ever I have a pen in my hand. Writing gives me a break from the chatter of my workaday mind. When I write I am in a state of flow. It’s the best holiday there is.
Writing is a journey and sometimes the end isn’t important. If life is about getting to the destination then we’re racing towards a finish line that most of us aren’t keen to get to anyway. Better surely to stop in a layby and languish in the shadow of spring leaves, better to relax into words that have no purpose. Writing is enough. The journey is enough. Words are enough.
And finally, a playlist. Enjoy!