Monday, 28 July 2014

A Journey of Words

A few years ago, in the Autumn of 2012 I found myself at a cross roads. After a life-changing trip to Lahore, I came back to London having decided that I needed to leave. I needed some time and some space to think, to process, to write, to come to terms with and to most importantly reconnect with God. And so I quit my job and signed up to go to Wales for a year to study my faith in a remote rural village not far from Pembrokeshire. It would be perfect- I would go for long hikes, seek comfort in solitude and have some time to really figure out who I was and what I wanted from life. 

A few weeks before I was due for departure, I got an email from the institution stating that due to unforeseeable circumstances, they would not be opening for the year; unforeseeable circumstances- the story of my life. And so it seemed that fate had other plans for me, I was to stay in London, and over the next few years I would find this pattern to become a continuation of my life. Every time I would pack my bags and be ready to leave, something would come up. I would randomly land a job I'd applied for a year earlier, or be presented with an opportunity that I just couldn't refuse. 

And so in Autumn 2012 as I tried to figure out what I was to do next, I started working on a casual basis at the Natural History Museum. It was round about this time I decided that to give up journal writing after 8 years. I'd come to the conclusion that my words bounded me, that my words formed and dictated my reality- all I wanted was to be free; free of words, free of my own expectations, free of my dreams. In essence, I wanted nothing. I wanted to be. 

When I began work at the Natural History Museum I didn't think I'd be sticking around for more than a few weeks. What I didn't know then, is that I would be sticking around for longer and that the time that would follow, would be one of the most difficult times I'd ever have to live through. I cut off from everyone. I became sick, spiritually and physically. I could no longer talk to people, they wouldn't understand and I didn't have the energy to explain. I became a mute. I would spend so much of my time alone, trying to fight my sickness, trying to find the will to go on, to live and to live well and to re-teach myself the meaning of my life. I would escape to the coast, to the country. I would wander. I would think. I would not think. I would learn. I would break. I would break. I would break. And I would, once again, come to write. 

Art is a refuge and a compensation. I think there's a certain kind of person that is especially disposed to creativity. It is an escape. A compensation- for all that we are, all that we aren't, all that we want to be. I've always written- in particular, I've written to understand, to process, to try to connect the dots. My life has been vaguer than vague, maybe everyones has, comprised of ten thousand encounters in ten thousand places, cut and paste images of landscapes, foreign-ness, strangers, friends that become strangers and strangers that become friends, the conversations we share- all the epiphanies, paradoxes, the signs, serendipity, all the moments that shape and reshape, that mould the self and the identity. And of course pain. A poets best friend, at times, a poets only friend. August 2013 I undertook a journey into pain and poetry. Pain and poetry were all I had. 

One day, I can't remember exactly when, I wrote a poem, and it healed a part of me. Since then, I've written over 800+ poems, some happy some funny some absurd and ridiculous some angry some political - all trying to shed light on reality and experience. But a lot of my poems, a lot of my best poems are really quite sad. I guess we only write when we're sad, when we're up against everything, trying to find light when all that surrounds us is darkness.

I don't write so much any more, I've stopped thinking in rhymes. I seem to have lost the ability. Back then, everything I wrote was real, raw, hard to read, frightening, sometimes beautiful. And so last year I self published two books of poems and I sometimes read them. A lot of them I've shared on my poetry blog. But its only recently I feel like enough time has elapsed from than and now, to be able to really share them and not feel like I'm sacrificing parts of myself- to let people into a world that no longer is my world (of course parts of it will always be) So recently I decided to start a new project. I bought a dictaphone and set up a sound cloud and have decided to share my poems. It's quite an incredible experience, writing, recording, editing, creating sounds, recreating emotions, it's difficult to share, but its important too, its accepting yourself and reality and history and the future. If you're interested in hearing any of my spoken word, keep an eye out on my Sound Cloud page. I'll be updating it a lot. All track cover photos are originals and reflect the poem.