And I write.
And I study.
And I read.
Books of poetry.
Books about art and spirituality.
Books of fiction.
But others as well.
I do other things too.
I watch films.
Or nuclear waste.
I like to travel.
And I like lasagne
And funicular railways.
Some of these things I do because I love them.
Some of these tings I do because I am interested in them.
Some of these things I don't so much do because anything.
Some of them I do because they are me.
Puke if you need to.
That is allowed.
Often I pick things up for a while and then put them down again.
Maybe for years.
Maybe just for a few weeks.
I am coming to realise.
As if by an epiphany being printed slowly on a BBC micro computer.
At primary school.
Revealed line by line.
On the paper with the perforated punch holes..
Slowly but surely.
It is being revealed to me.
Who I am.
Before I went to university in 1998 I wanted to articulate something.
To say something.
But my sister was the artist.
So I didn't paint.
And I couldn't write poetry.
The poetry I had encountered never really spoke to me.
So I tried writing heavy metal songs.
But they were garbled and meaningless.
So instead I read.
I didn't say anything.
I read what others had said.
And I related to their words.
At university I studied cultural studies.
So I encountered philosophy.
And while at university I became very good friends with a poet.
And we talked for hours about Pink Floyd.
And I learnt to write what I wanted to write.
And I wrote.
And in 2000 I read poetry at my first poetry festival.
And those poems were the 5 out of 200 or so I'd written that really said what I wanted to say.
(Recently I shreaded the other 195 or so because they weren't really my poems. Just things I had written).
And I kept writing.
I was, for a time separated from a loved one and I spilled my heart in letters and verses.
And then we were reunited and the need to articulate those feelings was gone.
But I kept writing.
And I read at another poetry festival.
And I submitted poems left right and centre.
And then when I started work, I started to use pastels.
The poetry notebooks went away and the pastels and shades appeared.
Greys of five different kinds.
Smudged and scratched.
Blues, light and blues deep.
And I picked up my guitar again.
And I then I got a new job.
And occasionally I would write poetry for that job.
Or even a liturgy.
Or paint something.
I even studied some short courses.
It was in a church.
A wonderful community church.
Where the busyness of life and debt took over.
And I stopped writing and painting.
Except for the odd occasion.
But I kept reading.
And I kept yearning to say something.
And I kept scribbling notes.
And thoughts I would like to develop.
And then I went away.
To a place with so much need.
That meeting the needs were so important.
That other things got put down.
But even there crayons and colours had their place.
So I used them.
And then I went to college.
And over time.
I picked things back up.
The visits to galleries.
And I realised that these things.
Alongside some others.
These things were me.
These things were who I am.
Who I have always been.
But I just forgot.
Or never knew.
I began to paint again.
I began to create.
To consider things I had never had the voice to share.
I studied again.
I visited galleries again.
And I wrote again.
And I felt like me.
When I worked with the community church.
The Image of God was paramount.
It focused my every action.
It was central to my motivations.
That others might recognise who God had made them to be.
How God had made them to be.
I wanted to enable others to see themselves as God sees them.
Perhaps now, I am beginning.
Beginning too understand.
To understand what that means for me.
For who God has made me to be.
For what loves and hopes and dreams and desires and aspects of myself are central to my existence.
And maybe I feel.
Maybe I feel that for the first time in so long a time.
Or maybe for the first time, I am becoming a human becoming.
Seeing who I am.
And what I cannot be without.
And this birth is painful.
And it hurts.
And I struggle.
And I don't know what it all means.
And that is a constant shadow.
But then again, even that shadow.
Perhaps that also is who I am.
Who I have been made to be.
So I paint.
And I write.
And I study.
And I long to travel.
And I long to visit exhibitions.
And I look at lost years.
And realise that they weren't lost.
They were the steps towards becoming.
They were the people of Israel on a walk that should last a few weeks.
But that lasts for forty years.
Only for me it wasn't forty years.
Perhaps it was only 32.