I have a scented candle which is called “Embracing the Chaos” (from the Relatable Candle Co) on my desk. I know. Tempting the fates. But chaos is a part of my own creative process and one with which I am comfortable. I have friends who would break out in hives at the thought of so much randomness. Don’t get me wrong, my pashminas are folded and sorted according to colour and my tax receipts were an accountant’s joy, filed according to month and year. But broadly speaking my life (and certainly aspects of my writing) is ruled by the powers of chaos. It is s fiery beast that burns and consumes and whips its tail through plans and expectations. So I’ve learned to let go and ride the dragon. Enough metaphors?
So how do you get anything done when nothing is nailed down? Ah ah. That is a trick question, because at the heart of every storm there is a quiet core (I know I promised no more metaphors, but hey … chaos). This is the core that you need to cultivate to keep your life, and anything that fits into your life, going. It’s very hard to remember that quiet source of strength when the winds are howling, but it’s a practice thing. Like going to the gym (I went to one once when lycra and head bands were a thing) or playing an instrument. The more times you return to the quiet centre, the more times you remember the pathway – just like muscle memory. Yeah, the chaos gets to me, especially on days when my time is squeezed tight by other people’s needs. But I have that haven, even if on some days just knowing it’s there is as close as I get.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is bunker down and let the storm howl. I don’t agree with Macbeth that life is an idiot’s tale “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. I may be an idiot and my life is oft times filled with sound and fury (some of it my own) but it does not signify nothing. Life is filled with the best you can do, for now, with what you have. You built a sandcastle and the tide washes it away (or some idiot keeps kicking it down until you hide a huge rock in it … ahem, a story for another time). But you did build the damn sandcastle. It was a thing that you did. You did the best you could with the resources to hand. Bravo. Well done.
That’s what I like about writers in general, they’re willingness to create supportive groups. Tolerating, and even striving to understand, each other’s differences and celebrating each other’s wins (we’re not going to talk about the twinges of envy - rise above it). A willingness to applaud the efforts of others and the harder task of learning to applaud ourselves. We all do the best we can, with what we’ve got. Bravo!
So chaos … from the fury is born art.
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Tea-drinker, writer and editor. Ecologist, environmental scientist, futurist and student of irony.