Last weekend, I joined an amazing bunch of people at Millican's second Travel Collective, in a teepee just outside Keswick. We ate good food, learnt new photographic approaches, and listened to some fascinating talks. I left inspired, compelled...tired. Exhausted, in fact. Not from the weekend itself, but from the working weeks prior, and of course, the heat.
At the coast with old friends on Sunday I felt tearful at times, and overwhelmed; desperately in need of my bed. At the same time, I could feel a pool of creativity deepening by the hour. I decided there and then to strip things back to a sort-of 'sensory simplicity'. The world last week felt too colourful; too endless in its infinite scroll. I would temporarily cast aside everything that felt superfluous, begin a social media exile, and spend the next 7 days writing, reading and working offline. I would take only two photos: one at the beginning of the project, and one at the end. I wanted to start and finish this without distraction. I wanted to reconnect with what was essential. I decided to document the lived experience of my tiredness,and I committed to write at least one poem a day ‘from the tired place’, for seven days only, honouring the importance of presence.
How often do we consciously ‘look in’ on ourselves at the moment of our 'struggle' (however that manifests) and observe what's unfolding with curiosity and compassion? With honesty, and without self-editing. With forgiveness.
So often I find myself exasperated at the change in my mood – catastrophising the potential outcomes - only to realise on recovery that I was simply in need of rest. This time I wanted to learn something about the place I go to as the tiredness takes over, and ultimately discover something about the turning point; the exit back to my own sense of internal 'normality'.
What emerged was a collection of poems predominantly about mornings, but also about nature connection and disconnection. Sadness. Mystery.
I finished my project - printing and binding it by hand into a 20-page chapbook bookended with my two photos - on the day the heatwave was broken by torrential rain. I couldn't have planned it this way, but as I see it now there could only have ever been one ending.