You can live in a concrete box and punch holes to let the light in, or you can build a house of glass and call that your home.

(I can’t remember where this idea came from. It might have been something that Bonnie Prince Billy proclaimed at a gig in Hackney, but I’m not sure…)

Falling out of the writing habit has made me realise how hard it was to get started in the first place.

Feeling blue for a month, being lost in a fog of depression that lifted to reveal a kitchen where every plate had been left dirty, where every item of clothing needed washing, where every part of my life had gone stale and gathered dust from not getting fresh air for weeks.

My writing has become foggy too… I’m writing bleary-eyed on a Monday morning with the cat sniffing my coffee (and watching for birds outside the window).

Day one of another thirty days of writing, with 300 words a day the target. Today there’s no subject matter. It’s just a physical exercise, the only goal to feel my fingers pressing down keys and words appearing in a line on the screen.

I had a dream about a man made of pure colour, painting with light as his limbs moved inside a white cube. I think that man was me, the man I want to be, the man that’s curled up inside me at the moment, frightened to set foot in daylight.

The full spectrum James. The full spectrum James doesn’t stop to ponder over what he is going to create. It just happens. Flows out of him, without conscious thought. Later he can turn back and see a trail of colour laid out behind him, arcing through space and time.

Sounds good huh?

Of course it’s hard to get in that flow state. To let go of the fear of being judged on the basis of your work. To let go of the idea of your work equating to your self.

But you are NOT your work. (I didn’t get that made into a fake tattoo yet, maybe I should…) You are NOT only as good as your last project. You are NOT your qualifications, nor your job title, nor your salary. Not if you don’t want to be. It’s a choice we can make.

So what is the way forward?

How do you get from the vision in your head of who you want to be, to actually being that person, and living that life?

Well, maybe the first step is to let go of the vision.

To let go of the expectation. To let go of everything…

Too much pressure and you’ll never be able to breathe.

So start with the simplest step… letting some more oxygen in… and then see what happens.


To give these thoughts some context: since my last article (which was written from a very dark place… I’ve spoken to my doctor and my friend about how low I was feeling, and started taking antidepressants… I’m not back to my usual self yet, but I am starting to feel human again, and that’s good enough for now. Sometimes the most important step in tackling a problem is just to admit that it’s happening.


Posted to: Life