I thought I’d have more to show by April. I began this year with a plan that no matter what I would not deviate from. And reader, I have deviated. Creativity as it turns out refuses to be managed or rushed. I have long since learned to surrender to this process, and look to the lessons I have subconsciously asked for. As a result, I am learning to fine-tune my clients and take on work that I genuinely enjoy. Art-making unfortunately has taken a bit of a back-seat, as my therapist warned me it would (something will have to give, Erica…), but that’s just part of surrender too. I haven’t put my hands on clay for months – although I do make time to paint on Sunday afternoons when I can. Even then I fight the urge to spend the day preparing for the week ahead.

Right now (other than work) my time is split between a manuscript that I set a first complete draft deadline for (in uh, 3 weeks) (I suspect I will be surrendering to a certain reality soon), and uh, a women’s vocal ensemble that I began back in February, which was Not. In. The. Plan. I created this group back in 2015, and after about 3 false starts, finally managed to get it off the ground, with the assistance of a passionate collaborator who won’t let me quit. *nervous laugh* It’s been shaky, and I have new appreciation for every conductor and harmony leader that I’ve ever worked with, but it has been a masters degree in co-ordination, managing personalities and insecurities (mine and others), not to mention meeting some pretty serious anxiety head-on. Music in general is fraught with hairline triggers, but every Monday night seven women turn up to my house and sit on cushions and sing, and drink tea and laugh. We muddle through Gaelic pronunciation, and tricky harmonies, each of us working on our parts during the week so we can sing through cohesively and make the most of every rehearsal. As a result, we have a fledgling repertoire after less than 5 weeks, and are looking to make our debut as a performance group in a few months and I can scarcely believe how far we’ve come in such a short time.

Last night we began a song that I have wanted to arrange for six years. It took all of my courage to place my hands on a keyboard again and gently tease out harmonies and it’s been languishing in the back of my folder ever since. We sang the opening chord and I gasped. This is a song that has only existed on the page before now, on some level I expected there to be something wrong with it, that I would be exposed as an imposter, but with that one chord came a release that only showed up on the other side of fear. I had done it. And there were no lions. No one laughed at me. No one told me that I wasn’t worthy of putting those notes there. No one died.

As for this manuscript – it is in pieces on the floor. My love for fragmented memoir has finally become the bane of my existence when it comes time to arrange the pieces, figure out what’s missing, what I’m writing around, what needs to be said, and what needs to be scrapped. I’ve been told this is normal (haha..). Would I have written it if I knew it was going to take three years just to spit out a draft? To be honest, I’m not sure. And yet, every day I show up because I know it’s a book that needs to be written, and not for me. Because if you engage me at a party (unlikely because…I wouldn’t be at a party), you’d hear about the history of women’s madness, and the history of lunacy and the myths surrounding the moon, mis-diagnosis, sensitivity disguised as disorder. I write because I believe in this project. Because it’s the book I myself have needed for so long.

Winter is on the way, and knowing my history of dissolving mentally (temperature memory is a whole thing), I have decided this year to embrace it, to learn to love its sparseness and melancholy, without losing myself completely, and without putting my medication up. This year has already been a year of miracles, so I guess we’ll see how that goes.

There’s more, I suppose, but nothing that isn’t on my Instagram (or I’ll be here forever). Music-wise, I’m listening to new Placebo and Muse albums that I have been waiting years (YEARS) for, Anais Mitchell, Florence and the Machine, Aofie O’Donovan and the entire White Crow soundtrack. If you haven’t seen Daniel Grassl skate to Nureyev, take a few minutes and watch this. I’ve left Spotify (after 10 years) and am in the process of rebuilding and re-sharing my playlists on Apple Music. If you’re there, swing by and say hi.