My relationship with words

I’m feeling nostalgic. The last piece I wrote for slow reads was ‘Conversations with Poems’, in 2006. Five springs ago I was in a different house, in a different place, with a different faith, with a different partner, with a different job. Is anything the same?

Everything is the same, and everything is different. I am still having conversations with poems. I’m still making the same old mistakes. And I am still deeply in love with words.

Since 2006, I have had three novels published and I have launched a new company, ‘Writing Our Way Home’. Along with my partner-in-crime Kaspa, I have encouraged people to join our ‘river of stones’ and write something every day. We have also edited and produced the ’river of stones’ anthology. But this version of the story misses out all the important bits.

What are the important bits? What is important is the small ways in which we’ve helped people to begin or to deepen their own relationship with words.

My ego, as egos will, has got in the way. I keep stumbling on it. I still waste time checking my blog statistics. I still get seduced by the thrill of selling my books. There are even new versions of this old compulsion as our company gets bigger – counting new members at our writing community, and signing people up to e-courses.

So have I learnt anything at all?

…it is spring once more with its birds / nesting in the holes in the walls / its morning finding the first time / its light pretending not to move / always beginning as it goes

W. S. Merwin knows how it is. It is spring once more. But spring (and everything) is always beginning as it goes.

Everything is the same, and everything is different. I still make the same mistakes, but my writing keeps telling me the truth, over and over again. One of these truths is how deeply human I am. It feels more important than it once did to let some light in, to expose my most shameful flaws to others. I do this for my own benefit, and hopefully it also reminds others that they’re not alone. It reminds them that we are loveable, despite (and sometimes because of) our deepest wounds.

And this relationship with words still brings me an inordinate amount of pleasure. Revisiting writing that becomes more familiar and reliable with each reading, taking a collection from a newly discovered poet out into the sunny garden, crafting a near-perfect sentence…

As I knew five years ago, my readers (and the pleasure they get from my writing) is pure gravy. I’m already sufficiently nourished by the act of writing, by the act of sending my words and my love out into the world.

Fiona Robyn is on a mission to help people connect with the world through writing. You can read more in her free e-book, How to Write Your Way Home, and find out more at her community, Writing Our Way Home.