Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Doing nothing

I’m normally pretty good at occupying myself. Almost always there’s something to be written, a story or an article, a piece in my journal or my blog piece for the upcoming Saturday. Or there’s a phone call to make, perhaps to catch up with a friend or to make some kind of appointment, for example with the dentist. Certainly there’s always a book to be read. It might be one which my Book Pair and I have decided to read or the book for my next Book Group discussion. Or as in the case right now, it’s one of several other books I’ve myself determined to read simply because they’re by the same author as something else I’ve recently appreciated.

Apart from reading, there are also plenty of regular home jobs to be done. Paul shares the cleaning up, preparing food, washing and ironing. Besides, he is currently the one that goes shopping. Nonetheless, there are always other things to be done. So what with everything, there cannot be any excuse for sitting around or staying in bed doing nothing. Yet that’s exactly what I feel I’ve been reduced to in the last few days, namely someone without cause or intention.

It must be that Lockdown is getting to me. No, not ‘is getting’ but ‘has got’. Paul and I do go for walks but only nearby. I don’t go shopping because the powers that be have called me ‘extremely vulnerable,’ no doubt because of all the cancer treatment I’ve had. No socialising is happening because of Lockdown rules and those same rules also mean that we currently can’t go to Pembrokeshire. It’s miserable. All those walks beside the sea I might be having? Ah well. I’m lucky to be able to go and have them in normal times. And these feel like anything but normal times.

So what’s the answer? Yesterday I was reduced to languishing. Sloping around, I certainly wasn’t doing anything useful for myself or anyone else. Perhaps my mood and my energies will change towards the positive sometime later today, tomorrow or next week. Meantime, I probably have to admit that I’m lucky to feel committed to doing this blog. It does require doing something, I’ve been doing it every week for over five years and right now it’s giving me the opportunity to say hello to anyone who is reading this. However uninspiring this one undoubtedly is, it means I’ve done what I might call something.

PS: How do you find pictures to brighten up a blog about nothing? I decided to look through the pictures I’ve used in past blogs and choose two of the ones I liked the most. Hence there’s one of me which I really appreciate.  Then also there’s one of bubbles on the seashore, the sort of thing I most like to photograph.


4 Responses to “Storytelling Starters ~ Doing nothing”

  1. Karen Tovell Says:

    Looking at the bubbles of nothing, Mary, I immediately saw that in being all together they created a seafoam. Greek mythology tells us that the consequence of a rather grisly and terrible event was the creation of a seafoam from which emerged Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.
    Your bubble of nothing is connected with all the millions of other bubbles of nothing, which is the rest of us joining together with you in Lockdown to prevent lonely and miserable deaths and to buy time for treatments to be found. We are the seafoam on the tide of human affairs and it is to be hoped that love and beauty can emerge in our world as a consequence of the grisly and terrible pandemic. If all of us around the world have learned anything during this past year, then perhaps that hope shall be realised. Simply by doing nothing you are doing something very important.

  2. Pam Says:

    Dear Mary,
    I am not one to succumb to boredom either, and by boredom I mean there’s plenty to do but I don’t feel like doing any of it. This feeling has been coming over me in waves since Covid. I feel very relieved when my energy returns and I can achieve ‘something’ as you say.
    There’s a word for what we are going through – solastalgia – a word coined by Glenn Albrecht ( to describe ‘a form of
    homesickness one experiences, when one is still at ‘home’.’
    I am learning to ride these waves; I had a pyjama day last week where I gave myself permission to ‘veg out’ on my computer with no agenda, but I managed to delete Lots of redundant emails, so I did actually achieve – something!
    I hope you can get to Pembroke soon.

  3. Clare Winstanley Says:

    Talking of bubbles, I was listening to Start the Week on R4 this morning (9 Nov) and heard Helen Czerski – a physicist – talking about bubbles and how important they are in all sorts of ways. It was fascinating. She was most engaging and is doing one of the Christmas lectures for the Royal Institution this year. Might be worth watching.

    In answer to your question – YES I always like the pictures as well as the words!

  4. Mary Steele Says:

    John Bunyan, of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ said “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you”. Bit of a tall order,I thought, but staying in and putting up with lockdown to give other people a chance may answer the challenge.
    To stop us feeling too virtuous, also try Sylvia Townsend Warner “There is no pastime so engrossing as being in the right”. That should keep us all busy.

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