Words and Music

Hello, it’s been a while since I last posted! I’ve been away to focus on my first term of second year studying English at The University of Oxford, as well as mental health. On one hand, I’ve been doing a lot of academic writing these past few months – such is the nature of the Oxford term – on the other, I’ve been hesitant to jump into creative writing after a period of rest. Writing means a certain a level of vulnerability; for someone with anxiety (or at least I can speak for myself), the tendency is to run away from vulnerability. Without that willingness to be wrong, or mess up, of course, there is no way I will ever be able to reach my full potential. It would seem to be a straightforward decision, only with mental illness it feels like walking a tight-rope – I am always wondering what will put my hypersensitive mind out of kilter. But somewhere along the line, I would like to keep sharing my writing because of the way it helps me connect with myself, readers of my writing and the writers who inspire me. Call it a sort of ecosystem: it’s the same type of feeling that you might get from being closely in touch with all the elements. Sidenote, I write more about this feeling of being at one with nature here.

So to ease back into my creative work, I’ve worked on a prompt: words and music. I first got the idea from a project undertaken by one of my favourite writers, Richard Powers, and the Nouveau Classical Project. I love both – words and music – so I thought I would write something inspired from an instrumental track. The song I used was ‘Wade in the Water.’ I find in the words of the song a stirring promise of hope even in pain, a soothing sense of perseverance and equanimity, good-humoured bravery towards all odds.

My inspo music, an instrumental of Wade in the Water performed by Justin Johnson. I owe much to Johnson’s skilful, expressive playing. I am, after all, someone who is making an effort to set aside her self-criticism and actually write; the ambiance of the music helped massively.

My poem:

~~~

Chapter Wade

So I smile as I slip into your arms,

so I learn to wade in the water,

I say I will not drown today; just

let your cool skin merge with mine.

Carry me forward –

these limbs of lead

slice, push, lift

within you –

So I become timeless.

~~~

Thank you for reading, and love,

Shreya