A Troubadour's Quarterly Update August 2015 - Toward Community

A Troubadour’s Quarterly Update August 2015


A Rose Is Still A Rose: life In theory, the dreaded w word Vs the Classics

I didn’t write this article because I had to. I didn’t write it because I will be paid, or have the chance to be spotted for paid work. I wrote it because writing is a fundamental part of me, no less than my organs and limbs. Reflecting on my experiences has been part of my make-up since before I can remember. It’s great to share that. It isn’t work; I must write. I don’t really have to think; like the force that heals a wound, it comes free with being.

There are other things, however, that take effort. At a small permaculture garden in Portugal a month or so ago, I was spending the best part of my working day gardening and it was bloody hard. I couldn’t get the hang of milking the goats, I totally messed up the tomato cane structures and 2 of the 5 courgettes that I transplanted died. Soil lodged in my fingernails and toenails, which I truly hate. I sweated profusely; I was in the garden some days at 7.30am to avoid the midday heat. I had to take countless wheelbarrowfuls of hay to the goats – I was at the top of the hill, they were at the bottom. There wasn’t a lift.

Strangely, I didn’t hate it. It was very difficult and it totally challenged me. I was often hungry, I was uncomfortable – I felt feelings I just couldn’t describe or respond to. But it all felt necessary and worthwhile and honest and somehow beautiful. And more honest than writing; while it’s important to reflect and see the absurdities of life and resolve to be more light-hearted, it’s unimpressive and shallow in comparison with real world work…perhaps because it comes without effort or exertion. Laugh now thank you please.

I told myself that I was a writer – that I would find a way to perch on a Chesterman, gaze softly out of the window while all kinds of inspiration coursed through my veins. I told myself that I was an artist and my tortured destiny was to soak up admiration as I spewed out my soul. Let others take care of all things mortal, I could scoff; farmers and gardeners aren’t fun and don’t pay mind to Beyonce’s latest fitness regime. I told myself that I ought to join the 9-5ers with their gym memberships doing vaguely but Very Important Things. Thank God I didn’t listen.

Impulse is my strength; pragmatism isn’t. Starting, exiting, dismantling are amongst my favourite past times. However, making friends with an idea, serving it tea, running with it and sustaining it (ironically, in my sustainable vision) is something I’m always attempting to understand: I had and still have no idea how my dreams can manifest. I often think, if we all share a rough dream for La Dolce Vita… good food, clean air, bountiful earth, crystal clear oceans, good times with good friends, inspiring conversations, then let’s concentrate on those things before we get weighed down with Stuff. Tonight, in a terrace heaving with jasmine flowers, a few of us reeled about the joy of fresh watermelons, peaches and cherries in this 40 degree heat. Beauty never changes.

Naturally, I have made a hash of many of my undertakings – unsure of an income, unsure of which country I will appear in, unsure of whether I’m bullshitting myself with all my quite ordinary dreams. Nonetheless here I am living them and erasing any shame I have attached to the mess. That stands for something. It’s flawed and imperfect and I am proud for having tried…and persisting to try. I encourage you to go and make a mess – find a way, the middle way between all the boring crap do-I-have-to?-yes-stuff, and the sparkling glittering dreams that we all are gifted as children and glow like embers until the grave. We are still children – we can choose to drop baggage that a scared adult gave us because they too thought that to live is to work, to be serious.

So in summary, there’s stuff we can’t help but do and normally don’t realise its importance; there’s the dutiful stuff that we truly ought to do because without them, we would perish (think good soil, clean water…); then, there’s ‘work’…a memory, floating like a child’s lost balloon with a seductive smile on its metallic face, drifting off into the heavens; your instinct is to jump to reach the dangling ribbon. Resist. There are bigger dreams that won’t burst.

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Mark Charlton

Mark Charlton is a British Freelance Writer who loves to travel and visit eco-projects, organic growing and sustainable communities to meet like-minded people and continue to steward the planet in a responsible way, while working on his creative productions online. See Mark's Website

2 thoughts on “A Troubadour’s Quarterly Update August 2015

  • 4th September 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Enjoyed the read of a writer – thank you about the nudge about the balloon stuff. I feel I spend most my time leaping about trying to catch bloody balloons – in reality I don’t. After spending a week walking this summer I can realte to the physical feeling being necessary – there is something hard to describe in sweat and gasping for air.
    As for effortless writing – one day maybe – until then for me it will always be a challenge to find the words for what I actually am going on about.

  • 4th September 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Elaine! I’m glad you liked the balloon metaphor, I giggled when it came into my mind but it’s always a gamble to know if people will understand what I’m going on about, too! It’s good to connect, at least online, with others who get the physical work thing. I’m building a pond now and it’s so satisfying. Don’t be too harsh on yourself – you found the words above so keep writing!


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