Not all those who wander are lost - J R R Tolkien
Greetings from a small bedroom in England
I am seated at my desk in a small back bedroom that is an office/drying room for washing/library/storage facility for files, folders, notebooks and other treasures that sit in piles and boxes around me. The sun is shining. It is the first day of a new lockdown in England. Wherever you are today - hello and welcome.
What am I doing here?
Well, that is a good question, which I will attempt to answer. I've always written down my thoughts, struggles and responses to life in an attempt to navigate my world and make sense of things. I've often considered starting a blog and even written about starting a blog in a journal. I've never found the right moment until now. November, 5th, 2020.
So, is this my journal? Well sort of, but I have edited out the most private parts of my life – of course I have - but that doesn’t mean that what I write and present here isn’t me. It is part of me and not just the shiny, airbrushed, parts of me because I’ve never been very good at shiny and perfect anyway. Journaling is a kind of talking to myself in a notebook and blogging is sharing parts of it with an audience that I can't see. If you are out there and have come across this first post of my blog, thank you. I would love you to engage in conversation and discussion with me as I continue to wander and ponder through life and try and find focus and meaning within the landscapes of the everyday. A landscape that seems to be shifting beneath our feet.
Who am I?
I'm Sue Emm. I write and I run creative writing & wandering workshops for adults. I have developed tools and approaches to the creative process that are nurturing and encourage both experimentation and mindful moments of writing.
My Struggles & Strengths
I’m a chaotic, rambling sort of person who gets curious about all kinds of topics. I can be talkative, clumsy and as excitable as a small puppy, but unless you know me really well, you might not know that I also have a flipside. I need long periods of solitude to balance and ground me. Without periods of stillness and solitude, I get burned out and used up and long to hibernate. A mindful approach to life has really helped me to slow down, simplify and focus.
I am passionate about kindness and think that it is more important than anything else. For so long I forgot to apply this value to my own life and confused it with self sacrifice, which led to some streaks of martyrdom and a huge swell of resentment building up inside. I used to bite the inside of my cheek as well as my tongue.
Why Pondering & Wandering?
There are two things that have really helped me to navigate the challenges of my life – writing and walking, but within these fields I have honed down to a special kind of walking and a particular kind of writing that is the core of who I am.
I prefer to wander, than hike or walk a particular route. You will find me talking about what I have seen rather than how many miles I have travelled, although I’m happy to plan an approximate route. I always want to wander from the set path. I’m the same with my writing. I might plan to write a particular story, but end up on a tangent or down a rabbit hole following my wandering curiosity. This can present challenges, such as finishing stories and getting them published for example, but I’ve accepted that this is who I am and recognised that I can find help and use tools to support this aspect of my writing.
I get curious and easily distracted. My process of I writing is never, ever linear. I will write this blog in a disorderly fashion as the thoughts come to me and then, thanks to the wonders of word processing – take them and order them so that they are in a fit shape for me to share with you. You may disagree that they are in a fit state to share with you, so please, please post comments and questions, if you wish to continue a conversation with me. Just remember to be kind!
The sky is light blue with patches of thin clouds and I may go for a wander later. I wonder whether the fact that we can exercise as many times as we want to in this lockdown will mean I go for more wanders or less? Somehow that daily permitted exercise routine in the first lockdown was so precious. I found that I was treasuring each one, slowing down and noticing every detail, every change in a limited space, close to my home. Lockdown 2 feels less defined and restrictive and yet does that equal freedom? I’m not so sure.
Let me know your thoughts and ponderings on your own wanderings.
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