Pretty Inertia

By Alison April 27, 2011 4 Comments 3 Min Read

I have been sitting here for much of the day trying to write something. When one finds that something won’t come, one starts rooting about for anything but all too quickly finds that anything is hanging around the same place as something and neither seem to be in the mood to capitulate to one’s ever so elastic will.
And so there has to be banana muffins and earl grey tea instead. There has to be an hour spent  rooting through the Penhaligon bag designated as hoarder of the Postponed Pretties, those new little lovelies you are stashing until the house is calm enough to wear a little extra adornment.  Making plans for a new house within these same four walls. There has to be ten minutes spent re-making the bed in starched bliss so that the MUSE will come lie down next to you and once again, through, perhaps, the power of coconut oil scented Indian massage fill your head with the kind of inspiration curling at its time-worn edges. Chipped from too much love. Inspiration that  declares itself spent and ready to be re-invented.
I always feel like this after a holiday. Go back through my archives and you will mark it: this inertia. It’s as though real life renders me shy. As if time away from the computer perpetually renders me the new girl in a classroom I cannot navigate. I want to go hide in the bathroom. Snaffle stolen violet cremes under my desk. Shout profanities at those who enquire after my health. Boo out loud at the voice inside me that whispers write now. Write anything. Tap that nothingness into the computer and read (in something like astonishment) what demands to be heard.
But of course I don’t. Because I am deaf to the voices inside my head. Even when they get clever and start typing their message inside my eyelids. I am immune to bully-boy tactics. Resistant to the pressing demands of the must be dones and all to eager to seek solace in the kind of domesticity half term rather cruelly denies me.
And so today instead of the written word there has been gossip in the coffee shop. Another pot of French lavender acquired. Ten minutes spent sewing salad seeds. A tray of tiny Lancashire pasties baked. A book on etiquette downloaded. Clothes put away, and scooters and skateboards stashed. There has been a cut on my little boys hand kissed and wished Mommy Magic better, hot white vinegar poured down all the drains in the house, crushed eggshells sprinkled on to the soil of the hosta those darn slugs just won’t leave alone and fifteen minutes at the dining room table spent flicking through vintage home-making manuals just because I could.
Perhaps I need to reclaim my house or straighten my my world before my own MUSE will allow me to settle down and spill out all the Puttery loveliness usually bothering my head. Perhaps there is a purpose to this unwillingness to commit myself to the screen until I have indulged in a little soul care. Or perhaps my Dearheart recognises when the world has had too much of me and I need to reconnect with what matters before inspiration will once again flow through my bitten fingernails.
I don’t know. I only know that now it is seven o’clock in the evening and this is all I have achieved today. That some days inspiration is lost to me. That soon I will close the lid on my laptop and go take a lukewarm milk bath, before lighting the oven to cook duck for the pancakes I will share with Richard when he gets here. That when all else is lost: when the words won’t come, when I can no more write than volunteer myself for bungee jumping, there is always the routines  and rituals I treasure.
And that for now, is all that really matters.


  1. Karen says:

    Alison I have to say I am with you all the way. After those lovely two days that I had, it has been a real struggle to do anything but plutter today. Hopefully I will be back to normal tomorrow before the boss notices the lack of productivity.

  2. Wendy says:

    I am with you on this journey as well…..
    on another path, try putting a saucer of beer semi-buried in the earth for those slugs to drink up. Once they have had their fill they can't move and fall asleep in the liquid, therefore leaving your hostas alone.

    1. brocantehome says:

      Oh bless those little drunken slugs!

  3. Jessmarie says:

    Thank you for this. One of the most valuable lessons I'm currently learning is that it is important to be patient with oneself, and if I am not accomplishing that which I think I should be doing at the moment, I should instead focus on taking care of myself. (The Trash It/Treasure It program is truly teaching me much!) xo

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