Been down this Path before

For some reason I am having a great deal of difficulty writing today.  The post I had intended to put out yesterday didn’t materialize because my USB cable for my camera has broken (second time!)  This means that I can’t upload the photos which I needed for my post.  This will now have to wait until later in the week, hopefully!

I have a few writing assignments which must be completed within the next couple of days so I am panicking.  This doesn’t help. I thought about sharing a poem but this isn’t working out either. I think the WordPress gremlins have leached their way out from my blog and into my brain.

The problem is, I feel I need to write something, I feel I need to write this.

…………………………………………………………………..

Brain fog.  It’s all pervasive today. I want to escape. I’m starting to think that I can’t write.  I’m crashing and burning.  The words aren’t coming and I feel stifled and blunt, like an old knife that has sat in the kitchen drawer for years, buried and hidden underneath all the newer, better, contemporary utensils, and which has only just been rediscovered.

By accident.

“Oh, so that’s where that old knife has been?  Well, darn me.  Look at the old, worn out thing.  Time to toss it.”

Blunt, useless, rusty around the edges and so needs to be thrown out.  Just not cutting- edge, not sharp enough,  no longer up to the job. That’s my mind today. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Where have all my great ideas gone?

I would like to wash them in boiling hot water until they are as pure and as white as the heavens, and hang them out to dry so that every last trace of a thought can be bleached out by the glare of the sun, never to be seen again.  Then I can at least know that they have disappeared into oblivion and I don’t have to keep scratching about in my mind to find them.

Maybe then I can begin again.

Putting all that to one side, now, today, I want to walk up a hill, surrounded by the shadow of ancient trees, creaking and groaning in the woodland as they bend over to whisper their secrets into my empty heart. Then, and only then,  I might remember the endless wonder of a childlike faith.

Only then will I hear nothing but the wind.

Bluebell Woods Dorset (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Bluebell Woods Dorset
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Beauty of a stone creation, crafted on the back of someone’s pain and longing.  Prayers etched on tablets, kept open for people they never knew to read, to weep, but always, always, to have hope.  Even when drained of all that was once so real, still, there remains a scant of hope.

Look then, here, faded words given over to a memory shared freely with us who remain.

An inscription written by a son in honour of his father and the love of nature and all things bright and beautiful which was instilled within him. A monument erected in his honour, hidden deep within the very woodland he so loved to explore.

Stone Monument built in 1879 Selworthy Woods, Quantock Hills, Somerset (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Stone Monument, Selworthy Woods, Quantock Hills, Somerset
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Holiday in the Quantocks Oct 2011 (15)

Inscription from Stone Monument built in 1879 in memory of St Thomas Dyke Acland 10th Baronet         in Selworthy Woods, Quantock Hills, Somerset
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

When the woods no longer hold their cool and calm, can I walk in the light of a house on the edge of the world, giving meaning to it’s warnings and it’s danger, never wavering or running out of purpose? This is how I stand still and strong.

Lighthouse at Watchett Harbour, Somerset (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Lighthouse at Watchet Harbour, Somerset
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Then, dare I ask for a memory of the open sea as it crashes on the shore where my children used to play?

Looking back, looking forward, only breathing now, today.

This is where I taste the salt-pressed air and breathe the oxygen from the promise of this day.

Me overlooking Montana De Oro, California  (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Me overlooking Montana De Oro, California
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

There is a path that I follow, I want it to lead me in the right way.

I don’t want to veer off and sabotage myself with meandering thoughts of self-inflicted doubt and yet more doubt.

I want the light to keep me warm and safe, insulated from the blight of dark and despair.

Can you help me find my way home as it awaits my return,  where I can sit beside the fire, toasting crumpets and sipping tea, hiding away yet still you are with me?

Selworthy Village,Somerset (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Selworthy Village, Somerset
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

I’ve walked down this path so many times before.  It clouds my vision, it steals my inspiration, it darkens my view so that I cannot see the very thing which stands before me, though it is as clear as the blue sky and as strong as thunder.  I look at it with deadpan eyes, standing without question, without longing, without a dream.

The silence broods beside me like an unopened letter sitting on the kitchen table, which, when opened, will bring only the sigh of a world-weary heart.   So better not to open it then.  Keep it right where it is.

Best not to stir the waters, my dear.

So then, I look to the path and I take a walk and I say a prayer.  I think of the words to a hymn giving nothing but praise.

Hymn written by Reginal Heber (1783 -1826) Stone Monument at Selworthy Woods Quantock Hills,  Somerset (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013Monument at Selworthy Quantocks, Somerset

Hymn written by Reginal Heber (1783 -1826) Stone Monument at Selworthy Woods
Quantock Hills, Somerset (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Above all else, I love and I have hope.

I write even now although I know not what.

This is the writer inside, the very real me.

This is what I write and share with you all this day.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Creative Writing, Family Life, Nature & Wildlife, Photos and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Been down this Path before

  1. Rachel says:

    Beautiful, Sherri. Writing is such a satisfying outlet for so many things: sadness, joy, grief, excitement, depression, pleasure and I sometimes feel so overcome by emotions like these that I feel I have no choice but to write. You put a great deal of feeling into your writing and I think that’s one of the reasons it’s so good.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Rachel, this means a great deal to me. You understand all this and the power of the effect all these emotions have on our writing! There really are times when I can only write what is in my heart and this is one of those days! Then the words do come, even if they don’t seem to make much sense at the time! I really do appreciate your encouragement of my writing.

      Like

  2. Writers from Dickens to DuMuarier surely suffered periods of the same for their art – if this is a fallow day for you then i’d not be too displeased!!
    As always – interesting, engaging and unconstrained writing from the summerhouse!!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well thank you cm…this means a great deal and your encouragement, as always, greatly appreciated 🙂 (although I would never put myself in the same category as Dickens and DuMaurier!)

      Like

  3. Pingback: The One Lovely Blog Award | Jardin Luxembourg

  4. If this is a fallow time then it only emphasises the quality of your writing!!

    Like

  5. gkm2011 says:

    Keep going! And keep sharing. 🙂

    Like

  6. jennypellett says:

    The imagery, the metaphors the beautiful way you tangle with our language – you can write, my girl, no doubt. Keep the faith: we all get times like this and they are precipitated by something as simple as a crumby usb cable…who needs technology any way, with words like these.
    Keep going, always keep going.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Jenny, you hit the nail on the head. I was getting on with things quite well until that darn usb cable did a number on me. What I didn’t mention is that my mouse also died (no,not a pet one you will be relieved to hear, but the touchpad on my laptop stopped working ages ago so I have to use a mouse!) and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. With your lovely encouragement I will keep going, and thank you for that, it means so much. I think the fog is lifting just a bit… 🙂

      Like

  7. Heyjude says:

    OK so the words leaking from the summerhouse are on a bit of a ramble today, and there are probably at least three separate posts in amongst the tangle, not least a poem or two; so maybe the answer is not to think too hard, but open your mind and let the words flow. It works. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
    Jude xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yep, you got that right Jude, on every count, lol! Talk about great use of words, love that, ‘words leaking from the summerhouse’! But, when all is said and done, despite my rambling three-posts-and-a-couple-of-poems post today, you said it works!!! Now that has really brought a smile to my face 🙂 Thanks so much Jude
      PS I am my own worst enemy, in case you hadn’t already guessed…xx

      Like

  8. Denise says:

    I’m glad you managed to write in the end. Art comes from within and having creativity buried deep is hard. Blogging is so good for getting it out there and letting the flow come. It was so interesting reading your post.

    I like the images of light and warmth running through, the things you are reaching out for.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, thanks for that Denise, I have certainly found that since blogging I have been able to express myself in ways I never thought possible – in public, that is! I did a post a while back (The nerve wracking risk of sharing our writing) trying to explain my difficulties, as a writer, with being essentially a private person yet also wanting to share my writing! I have since learnt that this is not unusual!
      I have now learnt that it’s ok to admit that I’ve got a bit of a block thing going on at the moment but that it’s ok to just let the words flow and still receive such wonderful encouragement from you all here.
      It really means so much to me, the support we can give one another.
      I’m glad that you did find the post to be one full of light and warmth in the end 🙂

      Like

      • Denise says:

        Now you have made me think AGAIN of a new blog post topic. You do that all the time with me! You are a very stimulating thinker.

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Wow, well, I don’t know what to say! I think that is the first time anyone has ever said that to me! I’m just so glad to know that I can give you some ideas for a blog topic, and I can’t wait to read it 🙂

          Like

  9. xbox2121 says:

    For somebody that had nothing to write about you managed to turn out a short story 🙂 seriously though this post is unique because you have combined poetry with a story with some photos mixed in. What may have started out sin a fog turned out quite good

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha!! That’s great, yes, it was quite a short story in the end wasn’t it 😉 The tangle unraveled eventually, I wrote as it came out and this is what happened! I have done this before. From now on, anytime you see me posting like this with photographs interspersed with some-kind-of-poetry (don’t know what else to call it!) you know that I’ve definitely been in ‘the fog’ (sometimes not too bad, sometimes very bad) but I’m coming out of it now!!! Thanks Bob, appreciate that very much.

      Like

  10. Wow–for having a “block” you managed to get a lot of words on the page! I’m wondering now. I”m wondering what exactly you meant by “block–” and whether this writing opened anything so that you could get your assignments finished, and what happened to the poem…

    We ALL get anxious and panicky about our writing. I’ve been at it diligently since the late 1980’s, and I still have moments when I think, “I can’t do this.” I don’t know where lies like that come from, or why they bounce around in our heads trying to convince us that we’re inadequate.

    You’re definitely a writer. Trust the call. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Tracy, so lovely to see you here and thank you very much for your wonderful encouragement and affirmation of my writing. Wow. This means a great deal to me. Other than bringing up my three children I have never felt a call to anything other than writing. It just took me a long time to get to this point!
      As I started this post I honestly didn’t know just what I was going to write about. I had been thinking about the photographs I was going to use for a different post another time but I decided to use them today and I just let the words come. This was the end result and to answer your question, yes, afterwards I was able to complete one of my writing assignments with good flow so it must have really helped me walk out of the fog!
      I do write like this sometimes. I have done a few poems with photographs, but it usually means I have some kind of emotional thing going on. It helps!
      As for the poem? Well, that never happened 😉

      Like

  11. Pat says:

    And you say you’re having a hard time writing, Sherri. You did a darn good job. I love this and the pictures and your wandering thoughts. I felt as if you were taking me along.

    I especially like the picture of the path at Selworthy Village in Somerset. It looks just gorgeous there — a place I’d love to visit sometime.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Pat, I’m so glad that you enjoyed this rather ‘tangled’ journey with me! Selworthy Village is in the heart of Somerset and is filled with cottages just like the one in the photograph. I visited it with my husband a couple of years ago in the autumn and I really wanted to share it. If you ever visit the UK, I would highly recommend going there. The views of the surrounding Quantock Hills are spectacular and there are some beautiful walks 🙂

      Like

      • Pat says:

        I did enjoy your journey. Looks so quaint and inviting. I added it to my bucket list I keep on the frig. There are so many beautiful places in this world.

        Like

  12. Sometimes, the page just chooses what it wants to write about, and you are the vehicle it happens through. When you’re open the Spirit, as I know you are, that occurs enchantingly, and beautiful, poetic, effortless connection comes through. That’s exactly what has happened here.

    Like

  13. Lesley Dawson says:

    That is beautiful, Sherri. This is a post I will want to return to many more times. The power of nature is so peaceful and inspiring. I love the photographs, especially that secluded beach in California – good one of you too, even though it’s a back view. 🙂 Thank you for sharing! I’m going to re-blog this post so more people get the chance to read it.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Wow Lesley, this is the first time anyone has ever reblogged anything of mine! I can’t believe it! Thank you so much, I’m so flattered and don’t know what to say! I am very touched for all you say about this post. Oh wow,…

      Like

  14. Lesley Dawson says:

    Reblogged this on Confab and commented:
    This is a lovely post from Sherri – beautiful words and beautiful pictures!

    Like

  15. ljbradburn says:

    Arrr that’s lovely. I feel like this sometimes and then I get a day when I feel inspired again and it all seems easy so I wonder what I was worried about, it’s a funny old thing blogging. I think sometimes we feel the pressure to write so we won’t be forgotten but never fear, with writing as beautiful as yours that will never happen! 🙂 x

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It certainly is a funny old thing at times, I totally agree! I’m a bit lost for words as to how to reply to your lovely, kind words, what a beautiful thing to say! My heart is wearing a huge smile right now. Thank you so much Lydia :-)x

      Like

  16. thirdhandart says:

    Wonderfully honest post with beautiful photos. Especially love the “Lighthouse at Watchet Harbour” photo.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Theresa, this means a great deal to me. So pleased you enjoyed the photos and particularly the lighthouse, which means so much coming from you who takes such gorgeous photos. That photo was taken a couple of Octobers ago when Hubby and I spent a day there and I will be doing a post about it quite soon with some more photos so I hope you enjoy that too 🙂

      Like

  17. Catherine Johnson says:

    Lovely post – I think the cosmos is telling you to read 😉 I’m having WordPress woes too, have to use Quickpress all the time.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Catherine, thank you so much for visiting my blog and for the follow. I’m glad that you enjoyed this post and and yes, you could be right about the reading! Seems the WordPress gremlins are still on the rampage, sorry to hear of your woes. I’m now going to take a look at your blog 🙂

      Like

  18. Life and Other Turbulence says:

    Delightful post! I can relate, but couldn’t possibly have expressed myself as eloquently as you have. Here’s to the days ahead when words flow more easily. And, on days like today…keep on writing! Because I do believe you have a GIFT. Sending all good wishes…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I just don’t know what to say, other than thank you so very much for visiting my blog and for your very kind words of encouragement here, for taking the time to express this and your lovely kind wishes. I also wish you the very same in all your writing and I will now come over to visit your blog 🙂

      Like

  19. This is the essence of writing……..you took nothing and made beauty, Sherri.

    Like

  20. You did good, Sherri. Just what you were supposed to do. You poured your heart out on paper…or the screen in this case. I saw some absolutely luscious poetry! Your words are colorful, tender, charged with restrained energy. Do not despair, fellow writer. You are just fine. When you start to question your ability, just let the words flow out and don’t fret about how they might appear to anyone else. I loved them and many others do too.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your lovely, kind words about this post. Your phrasing is beautiful and I can’t quite believe that you are talking about my writing! Thank you so very much for your encouragment dear fellow writer!
      I am learning that it is acceptable and also right to let the words flow. It is just what is in my heart and I don’t know how else to write, so then to receive affirmation of this simple act means the world to me. I am truly humbled and grateful.
      I do hope you will visit my blog again, I certainly look forward to visiting yours 🙂

      Like

  21. TBM says:

    Excellent job of listening to your heart and putting the words down.

    Like

  22. willowmarie says:

    Hi Sherri,
    EVERY writer knows exactly how this feels. Good to know we’re all finding our way.

    Like

  23. quirkybooks says:

    Wow! What a powerful piece of writing. When you allow your writing mind to take over, you are never out of ideas as this post proves. You have produced one of the most poetic, powerful account of feelings that I have read for a long time. Congratulations for allowing us into your mind and on your journey with you. You have cleaned that knife, you have sharpened it and now it is gleaming again.

    Like

  24. Sherri says:

    Sandra, I am blown away by your response to this post, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on it and your insight too. I love what you said about the knife gleaming again! I am deeply touched that my writing moved you so much, this blesses me greatly.

    Like

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