Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mikaela Castledine - If you love something

I have been thinking, but don't know if I have anything useful to add to my post from July.  http://366metablog.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/mikaela-castledine-thoughts-on-project.html

The second half of the year proved harder than the first and there were many days where I resorted to posting the bare minimum. Perhaps it was due to the death of my mother, perhaps the ever increasing amount of work I had to complete in the second half of the year. Perhaps it was just the usual sputtering out new year's resolutions as the year goes on, I don't know.  However, I did manage to keep going and to finish on time. I think the lessons to be learnt from this project of daily practice; of habit, attention and application, communication and community were useful ones.

While I am torn between relief at finishing and a worry that I am letting possible poems fly by without attempting to catch them in my butterfly net (If you love something let it go - if it comes back to you write it down for gods sake!)  I am hoping now to return to my previous method of writing which is to spend a few moments each night working on one piece.

Here is a piece of prose I have previously written about my usual daily writing practice.

One Thing

Two things. I have a bad memory and my mother was an insomniac. I have a horror of becoming an insomniac - that may be three things. She also suffered from dementia. I have a horror of losing my memory. Ok five things.

For my mother, insomnia started when she was menopausal, my age, so I try to find methods to help me sleep whenever I have wakeful moments so I can employ them if ever I fall into that sleepless abyss.

My most successful method so far has been to write poetry. I have found that those few minutes when I close my book and turn off the light and curl into my most comfortable position are the only time in the day when I can be simply, legitimately, by myself in my head. It is a good time to write.

However I do have a bad memory so I have to concentrate on the words, look at their patterns, memorise them like a speech. I do this every night, starting from the beginning each time. Eventually I find myself falling asleep at the same point in the writing and so I will physically write down that section during the day and that night start from the point at which I had finished and go on. This is helping my memory, my sleeping and my writing - killing birds with stones.

My mother was as small and fragile as a bird. I don’t want to become my mother. There are seven things.

I describe my writing as observational. I see strange things – or normal things that seem strange to me, or I see quirky connections between words or the behaviour of people. These are the things I write about when I drift to sleep each night. Counting birds, weighing sleep down with words, memorising stones.

Studies into dementia and memory loss investigate sleep issues and heredity. Perhaps there is only one thing.


  1. for years I have been telling poetry students that the stuff is useful and for years they've been telling me it's a cure for insomnia ... and it looks like everyone was right... alright!