Dear July, six // let it be known

Monday, July 11

*Note: this was actually written yesterday afternoon when there was no Wi-Fi*

Dear July,

As I type this, I’m drinking peppermint tea outside a café in Hyndland, sitting under the awnings, waiting for my sister to come pick me up. It’s raining - fine, heavy rain - but it's also warm enough to be able to sit out here without my coat buttoned up.

The  view from here: a mini sunflower glowing in a pot on the table, a girl under a pink umbrella hurrying further up the street, car tyres splashing against pot-hole-puddles, a woman in a tie-dye purple poncho stopping across the road to shake a stone out her shoe, the sound of rain pattering on the awnings above me and dripping down onto the tables behind me, the flap of wings as a flock of pigeons fly from the roof of one building to the next, the swish of newspaper pages turning as the woman opposite me reads about ‘Chilcot: the Aftermath’ - ‘you don’t mind if I smoke, do you, honey?’ ‘No, no. not at all’ (though, actually: yes, a wee bit because the smell sort of ruins the whole fresh-air-vibes we’ve got out here. But: hey. It’s a free country) - the curl of smoke from her cigarette, the sky a bright light white even though it’s wet.


Catching snatches of headlines from the lady’s newspaper, it’s hard not to despair at the world right now. It all feels very grim, like humanity has given up on itself, forgetting that there's merit in things like: kindness, and empathy*, and tolerance, and actually telling the truth rather than just trying to win at the game. All the stories of hate-crimes, and shootings, and explosions, and ‘many feared dead’. All the back-stabbing, and fear-stirring, and fact-manipulating, and speeches laced with homo- or xeno- or some other o- phobia. The general, all round mess that the UK has got itself into (and the wince of living in a country that has just shown itself to be less open-minded, less forward-thinking than I believed it was a few weeks ago). 

I feel so ignorant and small in the face of it all – all this bad news. And it’s hard to know whether this kind of writing – eyes wide open, pay attention to the ‘ordinary’ kind of writing – has any place, or point, or relevance when the roof seems to be falling down. I’m reminded again, though, of Natalie Goldberg’s words about the importance of writing nevertheless:
"We are important," she writes, "and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter [...] Recording the details of our lives is a stance against bombs with their mass ability to kill, against too much speed and efficiency. A writer must say yes to life, to all of life: the water glasses, the Kemp’s half-and-half, the ketchup on the counter [...] We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love the details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.” 
~ from Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones


‘Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important.’ Yes.



*On empathy: I came across this video recently (on Oh Joy’s blog) and thought I’d share it here. Brené Brown is generally full of wisdom, and I loved the way this has been animated: 


  1. Just wanted you to know that I never miss a post on your blog. What you write and share is important. And beautiful. And these little things, these observations and noticing life around is what saves us from big ugly things that are happening. So you, too, save us a little bit.
    I saw the video a couple of years ago and loved it. Thank you for reminding me of it. Everything in it is so true!

  2. Thank you so much. What a lovely message to receive. I'm so glad to have you reading <3

  3. Beautifully written and I was hooked the whole way through.
    Your details, your words, are important - poppet. You keep up the fabulous work, as I know many others (myself included) absolutely love your style of writing!

    Charlene McElhinney


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