Last Monday I ‘attended’ the funeral of a lovely person who was younger than I am, who died from secondary breast cancer. She was always adamant that this shouldn’t be described as a battle nor her as brave, so I won’t. However, typing these words alone makes me fill up. She was a number of lovely things and among them was writer. She blogged and she was writing a novel.
She didn’t finish.
All of us will eventually leave something unfinished and her daughter is a writer too and I hope, when she is able to, that she’ll complete the novel and get it published for the world. And really – of the things that matter – Edwina was complete and beloved: funny, faithful, honest and pragmatic; mother, daughter, friend, partner.
Of course most of us worry we won’t complete all the things we want to, me included. The day-job and various responsibilities seem determined to stop me from getting any writing done, not to mention my own ability to procrastinate and side-track myself.
I had a day’s leave from work on Thursday, and a chance conversation led me on a whim to ask if I could borrow a room in an old building to do some writing away from my home with all its noise and responsibilities and drains to creativity.
The building’s normally an alternative therapy centre, so I wrote in an upper room bathed in sunshine which was also glinting off candles and crystals and bright, colourful throws and pictures.
Since I was there, I’d decided to buy some crystals for my daughter.
My friend who sells them told me to go with what called to me. My daughter had said she’d like a piece of quartz and among the pretty bracelets, I found the one in the blurry photograph below.
It’s a funny sort of shape and looks a little chipped and the outside is not perfectly smooth, dull almost – but if you hold it up to the light, there appear to be smoky clouds inside. As you twist and turn it, you can see them curling in a seemingly infinite dance.
I thought of what message I was sending to my daughter if I bought it: here’s a gift which is clearly imperfect and looks a little battered on the outside.
But that’s how I feel sometimes and know she does too.
And… inside this piece of quartz, those smoky clouds are like a curious inner world of magic and imagination to draw on.
So I bought it, sent it to her and explained.
‘I love it,’ she said.
Oh and just in case you’re wondering how the writing went, I managed to write the most words I’ve written in a day for ages: nearly 5,000. This is nothing to many authors, but it was good for me. It was exhausting.
I don’t know if it was the sunshine or the crystals or just being away from home for a bit, but it felt good.
Words and photograph copyright 2021 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.