In the real world
I remembered something this weekend, something I’d forgotten… how important it is to retain a sense of equilibrium in this rather surreal 21st century world that we live in. As a writer, it is easy to become so involved in our stories, our creations, that we shut out everything else. I know that when I am really immersed in a peice of writing, as I am now, I can find myself writing for hours on end – for many more hours than I would spend at a ‘normal’ job. Working on two big projects at the moment means I am often ‘in the zone’, but being ‘in the zone’ takes me away from reality, and sometimes the balance can slip a little.
Of course, social media often interrupts this focus, allowing for a bit of light relief… but it is not always beneficial light relief is it? It can be, but in order to interact, I find I am still sat looking at a screen, still typing words into it. I felt the weight of this recently, and have put it right, in the best way I know how – going out for long walks with the hound across boggy fields. I’ve taken my camera and stopped to take photos as I’ve gone along. I’ve watched the clouds flit across the sky, stared at the reflections in the babbling stream that skirts one of the fields, watched a beautiful grey heron take off with wings that caught at the air, and watched how the light played on the edges of branches. It’s reminded me that there is a world ‘out there’ and that the one in my head isn’t always enough. Sometimes I’ve had company and conversation. I met a woman with two lovely lurchers one day, one of whom got very giddy over my hound, and she told me a doggie story, which I wouldn’t have heard if I’d been sat at my laptop.
On my first boggy walk I noticed that the gate I’ve used in the past was locked, so me and the hound had to find another way round, cutting across the back of a farm. There’s something about slightly derelict places that has always fascinated me, and old broken things lying around in fields – its the contrasts that appeal I think. If I hadn’t had to bypass the old route, I wouldn’t have noticed the reflections of this lorry in the puddles, which had me transfixed for quite a while – greyhounds are very patient beasts.
Sometimes, we forget to be spontaneous. We forget to talk to people we don’t know. We forget that if we lie down on the grass and look at the clouds, we might see one shaped like an elephant, or a wizard. We forget what it is to be really alive. This week, I have the evidence of life clinging to my footwear… I hate cleaning the mud off boots, so the result of all of this is that my walking boots have great clods of mud clinging to them and I have very artistic splatters on most of my jeans. But I’m so glad!
What do you do to get out of the zone and back into the real world?