Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Stuck

Well, it had to happen sometime. Feeling stuck is not a pleasant feeling. And it’s what I’ve been experiencing this morning. By now, it’s the afternoon. Several hours ago, I started composing this week’s blog and by now, all I’ve succeeded in doing is finding myself continually going round the houses, by which I mean that I still haven’t sorted out what I want to be saying.

So instead of continuing to wrestle with myself and my muddled mind and the resulting mud of muddled mind, I am deciding to do two things. First is to remind you of that daft old joke. Here it is.

Two old women got stuck down a hole. What on earth could they do? Well, everything turned out OK because one of them remembered she had a ladder in her tights.

Second thing is to give you a poem by Billy Collins, an American poet who, to our great good fortune, is very much still writing. Appropriately enough in the circumstances, it’s one of the poems by him that I love that is called Advice for Writers:

Even if it keeps you up all night,
wash down the walls and scrub the floor
of your study before composing a syllable.

Clean the place as if the Pope were on his way
Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.

The more you clean, the more brilliant
Your writing will be, so do not hesitate to take
to the open fields to scour the undersides
of rocks or swab in the dark forest
upper branches, nests full of eggs.

When you find your way back home
and stow the sponges and brushes under the sink,
you will behold in the light of dawn
the immaculate altar of your desk,
a clean surface in the middle of a clean world.

From a small vase, sparkling blue, lift
a yellow pencil, the sharpest of the bouquet,
and cover pages with tiny sentences
like long rows of devoted ants
that followed you in from the woods.

PS: The top photo is of a pile of rubbish we collected from the sands on Newgale Beach in Pembrokeshire. The second is of stepping stones on a peaceful path into the woods near Abermawr Beach. I rather wish I was on it right now.





One Response to “Storytelling Starters ~ Stuck”

  1. Clare Winstanley Says:

    I learned a new word yesterday. It’s lalochezia and it is the feeling of huge relief you get after uttering some vile swear word or profanity. It actually does us good! So, next time you’re stuck, Mary, stomp round and shout a choice selection of rude words!!

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