We should be being creative ... shouldn't we? Jo Carroll

Take this time, we are told, to learn something new. To explore a new hobby. To notice small delights that would normally pass us by.

This morning a contributor to Woman's Hour told me I could use the time to shave the bobbles off an old sweater; it would, somehow, make me feel like a new woman. I could take a virtual tour through the British Museum and gaze at artefacts that I usually scramble to see through a horde of other visitors. I can find a webcam to follow and watch as eagle chicks hatch, squeal for food, and finally spread their wings. I can listen to concerts. I can join a virtual choir. I can pick up my work-in-progress and transform it from it's current muddle into something beautiful (coherent would be a start).

The trouble, for me, is that I struggle with being told what to do. And under normal circumstances I'd rather eat my own feet than be told what to do by a Tory. But these are not normal circumstances. And so I am doing as I'm told: walking once a day, shopping only when I must, not allowing friends nor family across the threshold. Do I really have to better myself as well?

This is, I know, a bit of a rant. And I have sung with Gareth Malone, spent a glorious afternoon in a museum, and watched a National Theatre play. I've paused on my daily walk to notice the blossom, the swans mating (they do it in the water and he weighs her down so has to hold her head up with his beak on the back of her head so she can breathe), the rainbows on so many windows. And the work-in-progress has had some attention (though not enough).

Today I'm done with self-improvement. Over this last weekend a daughter allowed her boys to dye their hair green. Another has thrown the national curriculum out of the window and she and her daughter are planning a trip to Italy. Maybe it shouldn't surprise me that I have rebellious daughters why my impulse is to yell 'Sod Boris' from my rooftop.

But I won't. I'll go for my compliant walk; I shall read and write and this evening my singing group will Zoom. I will obey the rules. And the work-in-progress? Time will tell if anything I've written in these past weeks are any use. I can't help feeling that I am more creative when I am allowed out to play.

And you? Are you inspired by lockdown? Or do you feel it stifles any original thought you once thought you had?

If you want to see what I've written in more liberated times, do read The Planter's Daughter

Comments

Jan Needle said…
I'm neither a Tory nor a foot fetishist, but I'd possibly pay good money to see you eat your feet. Good title for a book, too? The woman who tucked into her tootsies. I've always loved that line in the Red Dwarf sig tune 'goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes - fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun.' My response to the lockdown is an absurd (unofficial) biography of Will Shakespeare which I hope to flood the A level syllabus with (with which). Oh dear - here come the men in white coats!
Susan Price said…
"...I'd rather eat my own feet than be told what to do by a Tory."

Like Jan, I loved that line. Absolutely. Through the red haze induced by news of their latest incompetence or stupidity, I try to hang on to the knowledge that when I don't see my partner for a month, when I go out only to shop when I have to, etc, I'm doing it for that good socialist reason: to protect others as much as myself.

Look forward to the Shakespeare biography, Jan -- it'll probably have as much fact in it as most official biogs of the man.
Alex Marchant said…
I too loved your 'rant', Jo, though I don't think it really counts as that (compared with what I've been managing verbally, which I'd never put into print...) Thank goodness that we are still largely a 'society', otherwise even more people would be at risk from those who chose not to follow (rather belated) government advice...
There are some wonderful resources out on t'Internet for anyone who needs or wants distraction in these strange times, and it sounds like you've enjoyed a few, as well as, like me, particularly enjoying this wonderful spring weather in the UK. My feeling is that we all have to get through this in whatever way we can - my hope is simply to make it to the other side in one piece (physically and mentally and in terms of family). If I've acquired new knowledge or my WIP moves on a little, that's great; if not, well... [shrugs] Hopefully there will be time for that when we've made it through....
Bill Kirton said…
Add me to the queue (2 metre spaced) for your feet-eating event too please, Jo. However, rather than lose too much sleep over all this, apart, needless to say, from fuming at the (incompetence isn’t enough; there isn’t a noun to encompass the many failings of today’s ‘governing’ class), I have no difficulty desocialising. I sit here each day, as I have for at least a couple of years, not contemplating the lack of any work in progress and yet having actual face-to-face conversations with more people than I ever did when things were ‘normal’. I don’t deburr sweaters, but I do get access (via yoga and Pilates Zoom sessions) to various people’s living rooms and even bedrooms. Am I missing something?
JO said…
Thank you all ... looks like I can sell tickets for the feet-eating ...
Sandra Horn said…
I don't want to see you eat your feet thanks, Jo - but I'm absolutely with you on swinging into oppositional mode if anyone tells me what to do. I am trying to write every day and hoping that some - any- of it will be worth keeping when we're free again. Stay safe - that's a request, not a command...
Umberto Tosi said…
Pandemic or no pandemic, sheltering regs, or none - my creative persona loves to pout and say no as much as any two-year-old. Resistance is always an issue - with deadlines, notions of duty, higher aspirations, lower ambitions, whatever. I find it strategic to ignore the tantrums calmly as possible and to tempt my baby writer with shiny objects. That generally brings baby down from threats of eating feet to sucking on toes. Thanks for your candid, whimsical post that asks just the right questions!
Jo, NO - we should not be creative at all right now! Remember, it's the writers who tend to get locked up first in police states, and we are essentially living in one of those right now according to the latest Emergency Bill. So I am not allowing a single creative thought to leave my head. I'm keeping them all to myself, in case they should infect someone else.

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