I used to live close to the sea in Devon. Now I live in the mountains in France.
The change is refreshing. My environment is largely untouched by human hand and is therefore teeming with wildlife. It’s an aliveness that endlessly enthralls me.
But this week I am back in the UK, and with my first sight of the ocean, a wonderful and terrible sense of loss gripped me. I remembered that the roar of the sea was the first truly wild animal that I encountered and learnt to relate to, when I lived for periods of time on beaches in Devon and Spain. Running around on beaches was also where I learnt to play with words, rather than be a prisoner to them.
I used to enjoy walking the shoreline just as the tide turned, and collecting what the ocean had thrown up over night. Each day it gave gifts, wonderful and unexpected: seeds from plants in the tropics, tins of food lost from ships. It also took. I knew a woman who was walking her dog on the beach on a stormy day, when the dog was swept out to sea.
In being in close proximity to push and pull of the tide, the life and death-bringer, I also learnt a lot about the necessary process of creation and destruction in my writing.
So often we are frightened to really experiment, to take the risk to bring something truly new into being. We are equally frightened to edit, to let go of words, phrases, and paragraphs in our writing that do not work. When we hold our writing that tight, are so fearful, our words can never live.
I found that when I stood unafraid in front of the roaring sea, when I could accept the inevitable gain and loss, and find a rhythm in that process, I could also stand unafraid in front of my words in the same way. Then they were free to express their power, to be wild.
The Weekly Prompt
Go to the edge of water. It could be the sea, a lake or a river. If possible choose a body of water that moves, that seems alive.
Write about the experience. How does it sound and smell? What colours and textures are contained within it? Also think about metaphor - if it were a wild animal, what wild animal would it be? How do you feel about being lose to it- does it attract or repel you? What memories or associations does it being up?