Saturday 17 March 2012


A Diana Walles picture
Many people around me, and including me, are stressed and exhausted. We seem to be constantly running in order to stand still. It is not that anyone is shirking their job, there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything. For those of us who are creative practitioners this is a problem. In order to be creative we need a moment to stand still and breathe. In this beautiful picture by Diana Walles, she quotes Rumi: 'Let the water settle; you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your being.' This couldn't be more applicable.

I am a writer and I require balance. I need to find time to write otherwise I feel totally discombobulated. Disconnected from the person I really am. I am sure I am not the only one. Whether you work in academia or the NHS, or many of the other organisations being throttled by the current government, you are constantly fire-fighting leaving little time to stand still let alone notice the world around you.

I am sure this cannot be healthy for anyone, particularly those of us who, as previously mentioned, are creative practitioners. This is because there is the added pressure that as such we need to produce 'outputs' that justify our existence within academia. Where are these ivory towers where it is assumed we will go and be prolific?

I was sent this poem recently with the idea that perhaps it makes a gesture towards some answers as to why we are all so tired and over-wrought:

My life is not this steeply sloping hour (Rainer Maria Rilke)

My life is not this steeply sloping hour,
in which you see me hurrying.
Much stands behind me; I stand before it like a tree;
I am only one of my many mouths,
and at that, the one that will be still the soonest.

I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death’s note wants to climb over—
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
they stay there trembling.
                    And the song goes on, beautiful.

I think maybe it does. I need to find this life that is not this steeply sloping hour so I can allow the song to go on and be beautiful. So to all my stressed friends, I hope you find that moment to standstill, breathe and remember why you love doing what you do.

For some fun listen to Moxy Fruvous singing My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors. Thank you Judith Ridge, who works for the Western Sydney Young People's Literature Project, for posting this on Facebook.



  1. A thoughtful post - and where do you find these great tunes?

  2. Thank you. As for the music, some I pinch from people's posts on facebook and others come from a great friend who often sends me wonderful links or gives me cds. I just love having a bit of music on my blog.

  3. Wonderful and insightful post, Ness. I'm inclined to think that technology, instead of making our lives easier, has made it more busy. Time for deep breaths. Time to smell the roses. Time to remember that "the music is the silence between the notes".

  4. I think you are right Nicky, technology allows us to make contact with wonderful people (both new and old) but eats into your time. It will soon be time for deep breaths and to smell the roses. I love Debussy's idea that the 'music is the silence between the notes.' Thank you for reminding me of it

  5. Hello Ness, it's Diana Walles here... Charlotte told me about you using my picture, and I'm delighted to see it on your blog. Your words reflect my sentiments exactly. I'm also battling with trying to juggle a corporate 9-6pm meaningless job, with wanting to do my art - which is such a very rare occurance due to lack of time. Life is short and precious isn't it? I'm hoping to do a series of pictures based around beautiful quotes, so if you have any good ones to share, let me know, and I'll see what I can come up with! Diana :-)

  6. Oh Diana I am so pleased you didn't mind me using it. I just love it so much and had a wonderful time going through your gallery when I found your website. If I come across any quotes I will definitely let you know. Now I have found your work (thank you Charlotte and Kevin) you may find it appears more often if that is ok with you?
    take care Ness

  7. Great post. Nice poem. As someone interested in words, I thought you might like to look into the word play in cryptic crosswords (if you aren't already into them). I have been doing a series of posts about cryptic clues and how to solve them. This is the first one in the series:

  8. Thank you Carole, I will go and have a look