Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Life, Writing

Day 85

This morning I’m wordless. It’s taken me 20 minutes to write this.

My back is crooked again. It spasmed yesterday, about an hour before I went on air. That old injury again. Or maybe it’s a new one. Muscle spasms protect injuries. Apparently. I’ve been struggling with this since I was 19. I think stress and depression play a big part in it. Healthy mind, healthy body, and all that.

Sometimes I struggle for space – in my head. around me. Even all this feels self-indulgent at times. Shouldn’t a writer be hidden, and only the truly creative parts – poems, novels – be visible to anyone else. When I was at university I scoffed at the idea one professor tried to impress on me; that we need to know about authors’ personal lives before we can understand what their writing means. Part of me is still scoffing.

My body always seems to collapse when I take time off from work. I’m on holiday next week. And every time it happens, I tell myself not to take any more time off, to just keep working, keep pushing so that the collapse won’t happen. And then I forget that resolution. The truth really is that relentlessness is not sustainable.

The crux, though, is this – I don’t think life has ever really tested me (and, Fate, I’m not trying to tempt you); not like it’s testing Ukraine right now, not like it’s testing Syria, Yemen, and all those other theatres of war, all those people across the wider swathes of the world in wars, in famine, in drought, in poverty, in real pain, in despair, dying. Yes, yes, it doesn’t do to compare myself with all that, because, in essence, I have not chosen my life, nor they theirs. Circumstance has put us where we are. Circumstance has created our bodies with all their strengths and failings.

Circumstance has it that I am never happy with what I have. Therapy taught me that this is probably because I’m still trying to live up to my parents’ expectations, that I’m still trying to escape from their put-downs (whether they were deliberate or not). Perhaps. Therapy is another luxury, just like acupuncture (in the West anyway). I have never researched if the ancient Chinese had mental therapy as well as physical. Needles for the mind. Actually, I’m answering my own question – 5E acupuncture has always dealt with the mind as much as with the body; it’s just not necessarily talking therapy.

I am wormholing here. One eye on the clock (I need to get my body’s basic rhythms exactly right so I don’t end up having to dash out of the studio when I’m on air, and having had 3 doses of ibuprofen yesterday could have an adverse impact), the other eye sort of on monitoring the pain, the word count, and anything else.

The last 10 and a half months seem to have been a succession of injuries. It could be that this time since we moved is just the prelude to when I reach 12 months in this new home and suddenly am totally healthy and pain-free because I’ve finally settled. There is always a reluctance to move away from the past. Maybe it’s that reluctance that injures and makes for the fear pain actually is.





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