I woke up this morning not because I had had enough sleep, or the birds were singing a chorus of delight, but because somebody stepped on my face and then shouted in my ear, and I wondered is that the stuff that inspiration is made of? Were the muses stepped on each morning or dragged awake from their dream filled slumber by the sound of children pouring oatmilk onto the floor? Or did they, like me, dream of being chased by rabid buffalos before being torn from their sleep by wrestling children screaming ‘It’s Mine’!
I’m not sure if I am a morning person or a night owl, I haven’t really had the opportunity to choose for myself, who could like a morning like this one? I stay up far too late almost every night to get a few hours to myself after the kids are asleep to do things like writing this!
I was forced untimely from my cosy bed by the desire to stop my youngest child from peeing on the floor and rendering it a treacherous milk and urine filled slik. This rude awakening was followed by an attempt to make breakfast for my beautiful children while they fought outside over small pink bicycles, you would be forgiven for thinking that one bike each was enough for two children.
I had planned to move today from the lovely campsite I have been staying at to a friends land a couple of miles away where I am very much looking forward to a shanty party with a campfire to sing and play music around.
While my partner packed up to leave for the Isle of Wight for two weeks I attempted to pack the bus away, but was thwarted by that strange phenomenon whereby no sooner have you put something away, when you turn around something else has not so mysteriously been taken out of the cupboard, creating a sort of groundhog day where no matter how much I tidy it always remains as if I have done nothing or worse, a situation in which one could quite easily say to a visitor, ‘Oh my goodness (or words to that effect), I’ve been burgled’ and be believed!
While I was wondering how I would ever manage to reach a point where I could safely move the bus my six-year-old daughter for various reasons began a tantrum that lasted a whole hour. The best advice I ever had about tantrums was to join in when your child has a tantrum, they are usually so disarmed by this ridiculous behaviour that they stop tantruming to stare in astonishment at their crazy parent, and often it is for long enough that they even forget they were having a tantrum. Did I do this today? No. I forgot the great advice and spent half an hour saying all the wrong things and the other half an hour holding my sobbing child.
When she had finally stopped crying my partner rang me up to say that he had forgotten something important and could I please get in my car quickly and bring it to him? Ho Hum. Have you ever tried doing anything quickly with small children? Especially involving getting into vehicles? Herding angry cats comes to mind…
So much for moving.
When things don’t flow there’s not much point in carrying on banging your head against the accumulating pile of children’s clothes and toys, so I decided to move tomorrow instead!
That decided I spent a couple of bliss-filled hours, once the sun had passed the yard arm, singing my songs in the sunshine on the Earth, to a beautiful friend with whom I shall be taking part in some sort of workshop next year which will be a combination of her work and my music.
It was glorious; it made the day worth getting up for! The children all played together happily (or so it seemed from a distance, I also couldn’t hear them over my music) and I got to sing loads of my songs that I haven’t sung for ages while my friend sat and made notes about them and then gave me the most wonderful feedback.
This was a rare treat because I don’t often get that kind of feedback about my music, people sometimes tell me how they felt hearing my music, but rarely does somebody let me know what a song or story meant to them in terms of the literary content; the actual meaning of the song, it was very interesting.
After that I had dinner and went out to play at a local folk club. Going out before my children’s bedtime is something of a boon, for some reason my children don’t like to go to bed, preferring instead to stay up as late as possible so that they can be even more unreasonable the next day. Equally perplexing is the strange fact that when somebody else puts them to bed they are utterly compliant, happily smiling and even going to sleep when asked without an exhausted adult having to lie down with them until they are asleep.
I love folk clubs for so many reasons, this particular club feels a bit like walking into Cheers, I used to watch Cheers as a child and longed to belong to it! It feels a bit like everyone knows each other there, I have no idea whether that is the case and I suppose it wouldn’t take that much enquiring to find out whether my assumption is true, but I wouldn’t like to shatter my illusion at this point in my life! There is a warm friendliness there I haven’t experienced many other places (except maybe at my grandmothers house), I feel accepted exactly as I am, sometimes I wonder whether this would be the case if I was rubbish at singing, but I suspect it would.
Everybody is cheerful and there is an air of expectancy and excitement.
There is a raffle halfway through, I could win a bottle of wine, and I don’t really care whether I do or not, but I like the suspense while it lasts.
But undoubtedly my most favourite part of the evening is watching each person get up and perform in their own unique way, I love to see and hear what emerges from every individual, it is always a joy and a surprise watching somebody new. No matter what kind of performance somebody gives I feel it is an insight into their soul, their humour or their heart, their joys and their sorrows; pure magic.
Then of course there is my own performance, this particular evening I sang a couple of songs that I thought other people would enjoy, I often have this funny inner dialogue; do I stick to singing songs I know people enjoy, or do I take a risk and sing something new that I love?
I got an opportunity to sing again, and this time I chose to sing the song that was pressing my heart; fishes. Fishes is a song of love for the whole of creation, it is an expression of joy and connection to all things, and I wasn’t sure that anyone else would appreciate it, at least not the way that I do.
As I began singing I realised that what mattered was that I was really enjoying myself! My confidence grew and I sang with more and more passion. I got to the end of the song happy in my heart and not caring what anyone else thought and luckily they loved it, or they were being very kind!
I have always loved watching people doing something that they love, to go ahead and take the risk to sing what I love was a big lesson for me; sing for yourself! (and stop worrying about Monty Pythonesque stonings).
I didn’t win the bottle of wine, and when I left I had the great pleasure of walking under the night of bright stars back to my tiny home and climbing into bed between my two lovely warm sleeping children.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, please share it with your friends and on facebook or whatever social media floats your boat. I have decided to start writing some shorter posts once a week, like a little feature, one on where I am living (we move about once every two to three weeks in Summer), one on a traditional folk song and one about one of my songs.
Enjoy your day!