Travelling hopefully

I had been considering writing a post about holidays, partly inspired by the thread started by Paul Morton of Hot Frog Graphics on the SCBWI-BI email group. He told us what things he thinks about taking on holiday – and what he actually takes, then asked what everyone else does. Interesting stuff.

I was also prompted by Nick Cross’s  post here. Deep joy.

Then my Wonderful Other Half or Him-at-the-Back-of-the-Garage-Who-can’t-Resist-a-Bargain asked would I like to go diving in Egypt for a week?  On Saturday? Would I !

Now there isn’t a lot to say about packing for a live-aboard. Once you’ve got the necessities:

  • mask
  • snorkel
  • regulators
  • BCD
  • weight-belt
  • wetsuit
  • wetsuit boots
  • fins
  • dive computer
  • swimming costume
  • beer money
…there’s only room for a couple of sarongs and T-shirts left in your dive bag. OK I shall have a notebook & pen, and my Kindle in my backpack, but that’s it.
So it was rather serendipitous to read the results of a survey in the Sept 2012 Diver magazine that asked ‘What’s the best thing about diving?’  Here’s my summary of the results:
  1. Entering another world
  2. Being with your own thoughts
  3. Escaping from the mundane
  4. Freedom
  5. Adventure
  6. The fellowship of others

Any of this sound familiar to my creative friends? Add in the fact that the vast majority of divers I’ve met over almost a decade are rather individual people, and there will be wrecks and maybe sharks, then you can see why I’ve jumped at the chance.

Image by Alfonzo Gonzalez

What sort of travel refreshes your creativity?

The child who survived

Photo by Savannah Roberts

My dear,

The creative adult is the child who survived.
The creative adult is the child who survived after the world tried killing them, making them “grown up”. The creative adult is the child who survived the blandness of schooling, the unhelpful words of bad teachers, and the nay-saying ways of the world.
The creative adult is in essence simply that, a child.
Falsely yours,
Ursula LeGuin

My experience doesn’t quite agree with Ursula LeGuin: my schooling was not bland. In my various Primary Schools, there was a good deal of violence: of playground bullying and the sneering rejection of the newcomer with the odd accent and ‘posh’ vocabulary. The continuous mockery of anyone who showed talent (other than on the sports field) by my peers didn’t exactly encourage the bright children to offer answers or stick up for each other.

Secondary School brought fewer bruises but more harm to my self-confidence. There was isolation, exclusion and worst of all false friendship. More than once I was stupid enough to believe in my apparent acceptance into a popular group. I would relax, be myself, be the star turn – only to have the set-up gleefully explained to me.

‘We just wind you up and off you go.’

Then came the loneliness again.

Trapped by Timo Waltari

And what of the nay-saying ways of the world? In my case, never mind the world, what about some parts of my family? Water on stone: a steady erosion of my self-belief.

Dolly Daydream.

Lizzy Dripping.

What do you want that for?

Why can’t you do it properly?

That’s not for girls.

Why can’t you be like Mrs Perfect’s daughter?

You’ve spelled that wrong.

Silly waste of time.

That’s not how it’s done.

Join e to d like this.

What’s that supposed to be?

I’m too busy.

Photograph by Kalev Kevad

This piece isn’t intended as a plea for sympathy (though I do appreciate a little support at times, if I’m honest). My point is that many creative writers and other artists I have met have been thorough the mill like me. One way or another they have survived.

As a survivor though, I have scars and flashbacks. There are damaged, healed-over places which are painful to probe. There are memories I don’t want replayed.

But that’s where the best raw material lies.

‘Rapunsell’ by Duygu

Do you know ways to deal with this? To let the child survivor out to play safely?