This past month, I took a step aside from blogging here. Though there has been much to process for us all during ongoing 'lock-down,' I have found myself caught up in the details of my latest book - 'Click and Connect.' All the writing in this little collection has arisen from the situation of this past year - a couple of pertinent blog posts from here, a short story telling the positive tale of a community project that I have discovered via Twitter connections, and quite a few poems that mark this moment in time.
Writing, editing and now, promoting this collection has been an emotional process. The responses that I have received so far have shown that many others are connecting emotionally with the content too. Perhaps the moments described within the pages are allowing them a moment or two to step away from their reality and take a little pause and in doing so, they can recognise themselves within a common thread and draw strength from
that. I hope that is the case. After all, we are all finding our own coping mechanisms and I do think that many of them boil down to being able to take a brief step aside - whenever and however we can manage to do so.
As I write this, I am reminded of a step that I used to frequent as a child. It was a little more than half-way up our staircase at home, the step where the turn of the stairs began. It was the place where my brother and I would set up our base camp when our imagination dictated that we were setting out to climb Everest! Some days our games included reference to tales we had heard our Granddad tell of his time in the deserts of Africa, during the second world war, the night he and a friend had mistakenly lost their way and found themselves behind enemy lines.
At other times, we would be spies, sitting in a smoke-filled waiting room, hoping to embark upon the next train to pull into the platform and disappear into the night fog. No doubt, this was a cobbled together pastiche of many Saturday afternoon movies. In our imaginations, we could be invincible. Playing on a staircase with a jam sandwich and a packet of crisps, we could solve any problem that came our way. James Bond had nothing on us! We could step aside from the mundane, from the boredom of a rainy afternoon with only three channels on the television and escape into our own worlds.
I thought about all of this, the other night. There is a step where our stairway turns to go round and into our loft bedroom. It is still somewhat of a novelty climbing these stairs as we have only had the luxury of this loft room for a couple of years. Anyway, I often pause on this particular step to turn off my phone notifications and on this night, I looked up at the Velux window overhead. It was a clear night and the moon loomed large above - a visible glow, shining down from all those miles away. And there I stood, just me on my step, looking up at the beauty of the moon and the vast distance between us. Insignificant, in the great scheme of things. No matter what catastrophes befall us in our lives, the moon and the stars remain to shine every night - am I wrong to draw some strange comfort from that?
I guess the point that I am lumbering along to is that we cannot control the bigger things. The Earth keeps spinning regardless of what we choose to do. This virus continues to take its path and I cannot fight that. I can try to find my own way of dealing with the consequences that we all have to face. Sometimes, I do that by taking a long walk, sitting in the sunshine and listening to the birds singing. They seem to have a lot to say, most days. Some days, I disengage from social media for a while, I withdraw into my writing or a binge-watch of TV or - let's face it, this is the most common - I eat my way through a pouch-full of chocolates, usually Minstrels or Maltesers. How did we quietly slip into the consumption of mega-pouches of treats when we used to be satisfied by a small bag from the confectionary shelves as an impulse buy in the supermarket? But I digress, again!
What I would like to say is this - however you need to cope right now, it is okay. It is definitely okay to admit that you are not okay and to give yourself time to work through that. None of us are coming out of this in the same way as we entered this shiny, new decade. Though we have all experienced this storm in different ways, it has most definitely had a far-reaching effect upon us all. I would like to share a poem that reflects that sentiment and then I may step aside for a while longer - I'll have to see where that takes me, perhaps I will find a step to sit on or a game to play, whatever I choose, it will be okay.
We might all be in this same storm
But if we pause to think,
Some of us have waterproofs,
While others may well sink.
For some, the thunder's deafening
And circling overhead,
Others can watch the lightning strike,
Cupping cocoa from their bed.
For some, a distant rumble
Might interrupt a day,
But some are stuck in puddles,
And they cannot splash and play.
If life's dealt you an umbrella,
Use it wisely and you'll find
Many others seek its shelter,
Look around you and be kind.
Karen Honnor - February 2021 'Click & Connect - A Collection of Hope.'