This is a process post. [At least, that’s how it begins.]

The process (in this case) involves me typing directly into the WordPress “Write” editor. But any blank space would do. This is the only way I can muddle through. Writing helps me think and gain clarity and calm.

When I feel that my synergy or synthesis is overwhelming (what do I mean by that? I mean, my urge to reach and explore and dig and tunnel and seek and look and praise and find and go missing and get lost and become found, and connect), the only way I can force myself to find the stillness and the answers, is to open a blank space and begin to type.

I type and I allow (or mostly allow) the words to come imperfectly. In their imperfection the words and putting together of words are but situational semi-truths, and I am forgiving of that, and so I allow myself to clarify them later, sometimes, by minor (or substantial) editing. However I am also aware that editing is a tricky road, a sticky road; hot tarmac melting in the sun of moments past. One can get stuck there, like a busy beetle worriedly retracing a path for something he yearns for, something which can only be found in the future, by navigating the now.

If editing is done with the spirit of love (—in other words, “ah yes I was slightly unclear or mistaken in my representation [of soul]; I must clarify this for the love of —, so that someone is not wrongfully hurt by misunderstanding; or, just purely for my own love of the process”), then it is true and perfect.

If editing is done in the wake of fear (“oh my, that was true, but what if so and so sees it and I [/my ego] will be hurt, by what they think of me or what it shows about me [/my soul], then it is a backwards motion which is likely to later be regretted, though it may not have been unwarranted as a part of process.

One can always hope to be saved — for example, passing humans sometimes save sticky beetles, using a bit of fallen leaf or twig to move them to the grass — and one can always begin to clean the sticky tar from one’s own beetle legs so that one may walk, or fly, forwards or upwards again.

Oh dear I have nattered on. Gone far too deep down into the mud, from a single seed. Yet that is how roots are formed.

Back to the topic. The topic is about muddling. The piece is a process piece. I write it to carry me through my current block and also to show you, my dear new friends (and some older friends) what my own little method is of getting past these blockages. In case that may be of help to you, as well as to me, as I write it.

This morning I awoke after a rare long night’s sleep (7/8 hours! I’m trying to be healthy!) and I had a wonderful intention. The intention was to write my friend Göran a letter in reply to his comment on one of my recent posts, which I would then post as a new post here. However the road to hell [/heaven?] is paved with good intentions, and after that lovely good intention, I had another good intention to also write a gratitude post, to thank certain people here on WordPress who helped get me going in this brave new[/old] environment.

The first person on WP that sprang to mind (although there were others, too), was my new FIW via WP, Matthew. (FIW meaning “friend in writing,” a phrase I first read at the bottom of correspondences from my “older/from-longer-ago” FIW, Göran). Matthew was one of the first to write a comment on one of my stranger-than-fiction WordPress posts. What’s more, it was a post that was born from a piece I had written for, but did not submit to a literary contest, out of both fear of failure and also the urge to just hit “publish,” rather than wait six months ’till it was officially rejected (haha, but also not-so-haha, as my few other official attempts have been rejected so far. But then that’s just the nature of the game) and thus “mine,” again. (The contest(s) did/do not allow previously published [even online] work.)

Matthew’s comment encouraged me so much that I thought it might be fun (and not just work) to keep going (if not succeeding), in my attempts at flash literature, here on WordPress. I also then admired some of his WordPress work, including two pieces which I loved called Shivers and Stream of Consciousness (—kind mention of me, in the footnote of the latter, completely aside. Honest. ;)))

But I wrote neither of those imagined posts. Because I became completely overwhelmed with the task of doing them right, in my mind (i.e. how can I mention Matthew without mentioning Ailsa (the force is strong in one so young), and River (artist, writer and fellow NaNoWriMo rebel, extraordinaire), and the prison bloggers, and on and on and on…), and with the minor decision-making involved in “which post to write first.” The more I lie thinking (rather than writing) the more thoughts and ideas I have, and the unwritten blog posts/book stubs begin to pile up in my mind until they seem insurmountable.

While the rising anxiety levels began to block the post-sleep endorphins which had previously been flooding my body, I lost my nerve, and went looking for input. Fear/doubt/uncertainty craves input, and the most habitual (though often least efficient) way we (or at least, I) gain input is by consuming other people’s content; or, even more reactive, by looking for reactions to our previous actions/reactions to that (or our own) content.

However, I had blocked myself from my usual sources of input/reactions using a handy little tool called the SelfControl app, which I make use of from time to time. I set this tool at night before bed, and use it in the morning to help me with my “create first, consume later” edict, which was the edict that helped me unblock in the first place, some years ago.

So those blocked potential (delightful!) distractions were out of the question. I then went to email. (As you can see I was determined!) I saw some emails there which were notifications from my new pals Taylor and Rebecca at Github, via the publication called MUDDLE that I mentioned in my last post here on WP. That brought me to the marvellous, new (to me) world of the Github back-alleys. I reacted to some delightful things there, but then I saw a very thorough and educational (as well as kind!) post from my new collaborator Rebecca telling me exactly how to do something easy, which for me was very complicated. It involved {{quakes with fear}} using a COMMAND LINE to type… {{stares with crazed eyes, nibbling fingernails}} …CODE!!!

But I was lazy, and I could not at that moment overcome my laziness to overcome my technological confusion at the seemingly-easy-yet -overwhelmingly-new task that must be performed. So instead I thought, “perhaps I shall do something easy and old and familiar instead.” (Or rather, I did not think, but rather just did that.)

I shan’t bore/distract you with the rest. [Shan’t? What word is this? From whence came it in my consciousness?] The main reason being is that I myself suddenly feel myself pulled away, as I have reached over 1000 words. (I myself did not know that, until I began to type it and then glanced at the word count to verify it. But somehow I have trained m[/M]yself to type one thousand words, which began as a daily goal, and which now, strangely enough, often appears to act as a subconscious limit, and because of that rigorous training I now find myself drawn inexorably away from my computer to go and do something more physical and real than staring at a screen or typing, once 1000 words have been reached.)

Also, hunger has finally kicked in. And sunshine floods the pane of glass angled above my head. And golden fall leaves are fluttering on, and down from, my beautiful friend the linden tree, outside the skylight. And the children (who have Wednesdays off school, here in France) are happily chatting away to one another, and I will see what they have done on Minecraft and we shall have something to eat, and then a very fine walk in the uncharacteristically fine-for-November (thank you, global warming!) sun and wind.

There’s a hawk in the top left quadrant, flying just behind the tree, can you see it?

So I sign off, with my utmost appreciation to you, dear friends. I did do a very imperfect job of it after all. There are many of you whose works I’ve read and some of you who took the time to “like” or otherwise respond to my bits and pieces (Dawne! The fact that you have my back if the agents come is major!!! ;))), and you have each helped me, and inspired me, so! Thank you thank you thank you, each and every one! LET’S MUDDLE ON together!

Oh yes, that’s what I wanted to say! If any of you have a technical/artistic inclination (or are curious enough to try), you could check out, and possibly contribute to, MUDDLE’s “sandbox” in their new “backyard,” here on Github! I believe it’s open to everyone! I can’t really help much with the how’s, since I’m just learning myself… but from what I can gather, all it takes is a true desire to muddle artistically and digitally, in public, and see what happens! It’s the ultimate collaborative, generative, mud-to-lotus and everything-in-between, idea-in-the-process-of-coming-to-fruition! Birthed by Digital Humanities graduate goddesses/students, Taylor and Rebecca, at Loyola University Chicago!  So check it out and get MUDDLing!

(Or, if you’re not quiiiiiite ready yet, just grab some tea or coffee, relax, and watch it all unfold, just as I used to do [/have done/sometimes-still-do], for so many, many, maaaany years. That’s all part of the process, too. It’s truly all part of the process. Have faith in you. And only do what your “heart” says to do.)

with love,

xo n





4 thoughts on “MUDDLing…

  1. Nadine (Taylor here),
    You are such a wonderful person and we are so incredibly lucky to have made this connection with you. This blog post is not only a model for everything that we are striving to do at MUDDLE, but it is also a prismatic window into a talented creator’s mind. Thank you so much for honoring us with your kind words and for inviting your friends to join us. They are, of course, welcome to play in our backyard anytime 🙂 Looking forward to all of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Creative (Non)Fiction Works – Bloomwords

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