Friday 3 November 2017

On writing and ageing - Filmmaker Mary Stephen retrieves a memory and ponders further...

Editor’s note: My dear friend Mary Stephen, film-maker, writer, editor, mother recently posted this short essay on her Facebook page. I suggested a reprint with some photos she selected.

Mary writes: Sneak Preview ... one useless afternoon when all fellow exercise-bikers have gone on leave home. Research on archives. Facebook would've said this is from almost 12 years ago, but FB wasn't there then to document the time passing.

23 January 06
Thinking about the «Angst» of this writing business... so much «angst» to get started, to get going, fighting against the doubts, fighting against the blank page, fighting against the «fighting»... probably this is what is NECESSARY to the writing creation, perhaps for all creative process. Was it easier when we were younger? 

It was the same Angst then surely, but probably it was easier to push oneself «over the edge» (as BB writes) ... it was more dangerous in the sense that there was no «safety net» as again BB put it. No responsibility to hold one back, no one needing you to be there to help them live (kids); so it was darker, more suicidal, more like a blind flying-forward into the night and no possibility of return. Now there’s always a landing pad, there’s a soup to be made, an errand to be run ... I can always take refuge and flee to the mundane, to the needs of somebody else.

«I want to hear the scream of the butterfly»....Jim Morrison.
«When the music’s over, turn out the light»...The Doors.
«La maison où j’ai grandi»...Françoise Hardy.

To write about the sadness of time that passes... in bright daylight youd have to half-draw the blinds, let enter the soft diffused light outside to mix with the soft diffused oriental light inside... and play music from long ago and far away. You would have to draw that sadness out of you, put yourself in a state of regret when time passed and love lost cannot be retrieved... what a sado-masochistic business writing is!!"

and then the postscript .... 

1 November 17

When one is older, or when one is aware of getting old, one flees the melancholic … one lives with a happy, brave and stoïc face, one email at a time, one Whatsapp message at a time, taking charge of the present, making and keeping busy with the hundred details that make up a little day. Who’d want to draw out the sadness again? Who’d want to dwell on regrets of time passed and love lost? That’s when it slips through one’s fingers, that’s when one says “but I don’t have the desire to write, film, draw, compose, create… anymore”, because simply, one just gets on with the daily living, the mundane joys, the everyday gifts, and one doesn’t want to be a Virginia Woolf, one doesn’t want to put stones in one’s pockets, one doesn’t feel like digging into the wounds and twisting the knife in it, one is satisfied with the nothingness of just being.

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