September light and colour in Manchester is such an evocative time machine. The chilly edge to the air, the plum, red, orange, yellow and gold in amongst the green leaves; the pearly quality of the sky all transport me.
To 2009 when I arrived as an uprooted Australian to start my creative writing MA.
To 2015 when I was in the thick of my first draft.
To last year, when I was working with my agents to get my manuscript ready for submission to publishers.
This cafe has always been one of my daydreaming hotspots. Time after time I'd pass this window on my way inside to order mint tea, put my headphones in and face the page alone. To turn that vapid blinking cursor into something. To make sentences that hadn't existed the day before. Because that's all my first draft had to do: exist. Making it any good came later. I took such heart from that. We can't edit blank pages.
Maybe you've got a dream on the stove, simmering. Maybe you've had a dream die down to embers. Maybe you feel like you don't know if it's worth the risk of being vulnerable, of trying and maybe failing, of standing up for your own heart. The tricky part is we're the only ones who can do that for ourselves. We're the only ones who can make space for the dreamer deep inside, who can clear a seat and say, you can sit here. And this, at least in my case, seems to be a lesson never learned, or, rather, one that has to be learned repeatedly. But would we want life any other way? In mindful self compassion practice, embracing contrast is key to accepting our humanness. We can't know joy without pain, we can't know full-bellied satisfaction without hunger, or warmth without cold, or creative fulfilment without the blank page. It's something constantly on my mind as *whispers* there are stirrings that feel something like The New Thing.
We change, we dream. We start by turning nothing into something.
Happy Sunday, wildflowers.
HOLLY RINGLAND grew up barefoot and wild in her mother's tropical garden on the east coast of Australia. Her interest in cultures and stories was sparked by a two-year journey her family took in North America when she was nine years old, living in a camper van and travelling from one national park to another. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert. Moving to England in 2009, Holly obtained her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. Her essays and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and literary journals. She now lives between the UK and Australia. To any question ever asked of Holly about growing up, writing has always been the answer.