Friday, 26 January 2018

Emeralds in Dung Heaps

This week has been a tough week. I got bruised and wounded and suddenly missed my mother so much that I found myself one night in the kitchen at eleven o’clock, swamped by Railway Children tears. If you asked me, I would have said I did not get much done. I survived. I was hanging on by my fingernails.
Writing is a dangerous job, because you can always make excuses. Your hours are flexible. It’s tempting to say that you are simply not in a sane, productive frame of mind, so you will do other things. You’ll do what you grandly call research, which generally means wandering about the internet, being distracted by fascinating but entirely irrelevant pieces of information. (This week, for instance, I discovered a tiny village in Russia where the temperature is minus sixty-two and the women have icicles on their eyelashes. It was actually rather a groovy look.)
I did not feel at all productive. I felt a bit battered and a bit flattened.
However, I’m starting a new project and I laughingly think of myself as a professional, so I set  my timer and forced myself to get some words on the page. Because of my scattered frame of mind, I convinced myself that I had not done much, simply spun my wheels.
This afternoon, I did a word count. I wrote eleven thousand words this week. Life had taken me out behind the woodshed and duffed me up, but there are those dear old words, existing where there once was nothing. I’ll have to go back and cut and refine and rewrite in the second draft. Many of those words will disappear again. The dead darlings will litter the stage like the bloody corpses at the end of Hamlet. But there are those words, and nobody can take them away from me.
I worked my horses. My five-year-old great-niece came and rode my red mare and smiled with joy and waved her arms in the air as the grand old duchess walked gently round the field. Someone gave me a compliment. I talked to a kind woman about the thickets of psychology and she smiled and said, ‘Thank you, that was really helpful.’ I thought I was banging on, but I had been helpful. Sometimes I think all I want to do now, in this strange time of middle age, is to be helpful. I used to want to win prizes and see my name in the paper. How one’s ambitions change.
I made someone laugh and I paid someone a compliment and I spent one whole evening running round the internet leaving kind comments with little lovehearts under every single photograph or post that made me smile. I quite often do this when I’m feeling doleful. I have this weird theory that when you feel you’ve got nothing left to give, the best thing to do is to give something, even if it is just a little red heart on Facebook. It’s not much, but it is a kind of offering. It's a tiny act of hope.
This is my bad week. The power of the negative internal voices can be so strong sometimes that they wipe out everything else. They are like Donald Trump shouting ‘Fake news.’ They loathe the truth. They are the evil emperors of confirmation bias. They see only what they want to see. I’m damned if I am going to let them win.
So I write down my small things. My good things are all very, very small things indeed. But the small things add up. It was a bad week, and it was a good week. It was a human week. Everybody gets duffed up, from time to time. Everyone feels vulnerable and bruised and wrong. There are mistakes and regrets, searing moments of doubt, the stumbles and the falls.
There are the emeralds in the dung heap, shining in the muck. The dung heap will always be the dung heap, but oh, oh, those glorious, glittering gems.

I suspect that there may be something good in every bad week. It’s just that sometimes you have to dig it out with a pitchfork. I think it is worth the effort.


  1. Hurrah, how lovely to hear from you Tania. I keep popping in to enjoy your wonderful erudite comments on absolutely everything (but specially love and trees) and I know I'm not alone in having missed you. And sorry for your tough week but, hey, things can only get better, especially with a new project on the go - good luck with that, I hope you continue making progress despite having to abandon all those dear words. Looking forward to hearing more from you - no pressure then!! Gill in the New Forest

  2. "Sometimes I think all I want to do now, in this strange time of middle age, is to be helpful." Now, that is an insight worth keeping.

    Perhaps it came to me a little later, I'm 69, and perhaps it is only with me part of the time. Like, when I'm feeling like a better person than I really am. But it comes, and that's a good thing.

  3. It is good to see a new post from you! That is another good thing you did :)

    I need to try to remember to give positive feedback to others when I am feeling negative myself. It sounds like a better approach than feeling sorry for myself!

  4. So gladdened to see a post from you. Kindness is a good attribute to foster. It can hardly go wrong. Maybe I'll prise the lock off my own dusty blog and have a go in late middle age.

  5. So good to have you back again - I've been checking since November!

  6. شركة امست للتنظيف افضل شركة لتنظيف المنازل والشقق والفللوالبيوت والمجالس والكنب والمفروشات والخزانات بالقطيف والمنطقة الشرقية لديها عمالة مدربة وخصومات هائلة طما توفر خدمات مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات بالقطيف باسعار رخيصة ومناسبة وخصومات هائلة

    شركة امست للتنظيف
    امست للنظافة القطيف
    شركة امست لمكافحة الحشرات
    شركة امست لرش المبيدات

  7. افضل شركة تنظيف بالقطيف تقدم خدمات نظافة متكاملة علي اعلي مستوي بدقة وجودة ومواصفات قياسية واسعار تنافسية فتعد الشركة الاولي بالقطيف لتقديم خدماتالتنظيف بجودة وسعر مثالييينفهي خير مثال لراغبي الحصول علي نظافة شاملة مع التعقيم وباسعار مناسبة

    شركة تنظيف بالقطيف
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالقطيف


    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالقطيف
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالقطيف
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالقطيف
    شركة شفط بيارات بالقطيف

  8. هل تعانون من الحشرات وكثرتها واضرارها البالغة نقدم لكم افضل شركة لابادة جميع انواع الحشرات بالضمان وهي شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات حيث تقدم اليوم افضل العروض والخدمات بارخص الاسعار بخصم 50% لفترة محدودة

    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالدمام
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالقطيف
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالاحساء
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالجبيل
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بجدة

  9. شركة المثالية للتنظيف افضل شركة تنظيف بالمنطقة الشرقية تخصصت في تقديم كافة الاعمال المنزية من نظافة ومكافحة حشرات بالمنطقة فلديها افضل الخدماتبافضل جودة واوبارخص الاسعار التي لا تتوفر الا معها كافضل وارخص شركة تنظيف بالاضافة الي خدمتا مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات الامنة والفعالة علي الحشرات بجميع انواعها .. تقدم لكم اليوم افضل العروض والخدمات بخصومات هائلة يمكنكم الحصول عليها من خلال الروابط التالية

    شركة المثالية للتنظيف
    شركة المثالية للنظافة
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالدمام
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالخبر
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالقطيف

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