It’s been the longest time since I’ve posted anything on my blog, and I’m feeling guilty about it, but I guess not guilty enough to do anything properly about it. I now think about this blog in the same way I’d think about a gun – I wouldn’t know how to pick it up, and if I do pick it up it’ll be the wrong way, and it’ll accidentally go off and I’ll shoot one of my fingers off and the instructor will be like, ‘I tried to tell you! You wouldn’t listen.’ And he’s right, I didn’t listen.
Things have got busy somehow, and I’ve found myself overwhelmed, to the point where I’m groaning and sighing and lightly sobbing a lot more than usual and am way, way, way worse at replying to emails and messages than I am ordinarily. (If I haven’t replied to you about something, I am really sorry and I will reply soon; unless – and this is the ONE SOLE exception and I am so sorry, oh God this is a bad point to have reached – UNLESS your email was to ask for some writing advice or publishing advice. I’m sorry! But I cannot give you the advice anymore. I CANNOT. I can’t even give myself any advice. I’ve tried and I don’t listen.)
I wish I could spread out all of the writing opportunities that have suddenly come rolling in, because I want to do them all. But I can’t do them all. ‘You could if you were a bit less useless,’ I say to myself, in the same reasonable tone as the gun instructor who told me off earlier.
I’m also slowly, cautiously tapering off an antidepressant medication at the moment. I’ve been taking this medication for about 15 years. It’s early days and I feel jangly but also really curious. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and for a long time there’s never been a right time to do it, and there still isn’t, and I don’t think there ever will be. So why not now? One nice thing that’s happening is my dreams are becoming much less frightening, which was one big side effect of this medication. The other night all I dreamt was that lots of friendly people in wheelchairs kept trying to come into the elevator I was in, but there wasn’t enough room for all of us, so I said, ‘Perhaps some of you could wait till the next one?’ (I’m not sure what happened next, but I woke up yelling.)
Here’s a piece I recently wrote, up on The Cut.
Some things I’ve been looking at and listening to and reading lately:
Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
Ear Hustle, a podcast recorded at San Quentin State Prison
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Cat Sense by John Bradshaw
People from the Pit Stand Up by Sam Duckor-Jones (published this week by VUP!)
Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble (published this week by VUP!)
Peach by Emma Glass
This article about Mimicry, the journal run by Holly Hunter
These photographs of animals by Pentti Sammallahti
‘Another Beautiful Bike Lane’ by Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (not on YouTube in full, but they play it around 2:30 in this clip)
I can’t stop listening to Let’s Eat Grandma.
Thanks, Ash. I’m in bed with rain and Kahawai on the first day of the holidays picking through all the links ….. it’s lovely. I hope going off your meds works out in all sorts of good ways, and maybe it will not just be just the nightmares that are less terrifying. Catch you one day soon, Marty
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I don’t think there is anything you ought to feel guilty about not replying to emails or not posting. Most of the people kind of know how busy you have been.
Also, I am really happy about the fact that you have a lot writing offers and I am sure you would do great at whichever one you do. I am about to go and read your piece on the Cut now.
Also, Ear Hustle is amazing. I have never heard anything like it, you can even try Snap Judgement.
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Brave, true writing as always Ashleigh.
I heard a saying recently that, apparently, The Queen Mother became known for: “Never feel the need to complain or explain.”
Be kind to yourself in thought and deed. The flow is still there, waiting, ready when you are.
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I’m so glad you blogged again Ashley you little breath of sunshine. Love your blogs and will check out all those links over the next days. I’m waiting for your poetry to be found in that second-hand book shop in the mall off Cuba Street. All the best books arrive there some time or other, and I’ve started looking for yours when I visit from Napier.
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