A while ago, a friend, who happens to be a very good poet, taught me to bear these three words in mind as I live my life – risk, share trust. I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I’ve been on a few dates with people I’ve made contact with via the internet or ads in the paper. This involves all three things. Trust that they will turn up, and that they will be something like their description, both in appearance and behaviour; share comes into this as people advise not to share too much too soon. The danger here is that they do that too and after a while you find out that they have major problems of one kind or another. Then there’s risk. It’s risky meeting new people. On the one hand, there’s a miniscule chance they may be dangerous. On the other hand, they may break your hurt, causing you pain. I know of many women who, having been let down/hurt/ etc simply don’t take the risk.
For me, risk is an essential part of life. We take risks all the time. Even if I never left the house, I could still fall down the stairs. There are so many ways we can hurt ourselves. Pain is, sadly, part of life. Joy is too. I believe that it’s vital to take a few risks or our worlds can shrink and die. At the same time, it’s important to weigh things up. For example, today is officially my day off. I should be going to the new art class, then the choral society, but I’m not going. The risk of falling over, the pavements are treacherous, outweighs the benefits of going. If I’m honest, which I always am, I am not enjoying either group as much as I’d hoped. In the art class, I was hoping for more tuition, or demonstrations, just watching somebody paint who knows what they’re doing would be helpful right now. I’m not overjoyed with the subject matter either – landscapes. Scenes don’t turn me on the way that living things do. Then there’s the choral society. I want to sing. I love to sing. I don’t want to sit and listen to the other sections go over the same piece, time and time again.
I sing tenor whenever I have the option. It’s less of a strain than alto, plus the tenors get the tunes while the altos often get stuck with harmony. The trouble is the tenors are the best section in the choral society which means that we get to sing our bit once, maybe twice. The end result is that we actually only get to sing for a a few minutes in every rehearsal, mainly in the warm up
I am wondering whether I want to go to either of these groups, snow or no snow. A while ago, I would have felt duty bound. I have, after all, paid a membership fee; not going would be a waste of money. These days I take a different view. If I’m not getting anything out of going, I’m better off finding something else to do, whether that means I lose money or not.
So, today, on my ‘day off’ I will play it by ear. I may work on a story or two. I may sort out various cupboards having, yesterday, moved furniture, AGAIN. I now have the back room arranged as a sitting/reading/ painting/dining/writing/listening to music or radio room. I’m hoping that means I’ll be able to break the habit of sitting in the front room everything night I stay in, watching TV and eating rubbish out of boredom. I’ll have to see how that goes.
I’m taking risks with my writing too. I am now working on a book with no expectation that it will be successful. I am writing it because I’ve been wanting to write it for years and somehow couldn’t allow myself to ‘give it a go’ as that meant taking a break from writing short stories, which is how I make my living. I’m also toying with the idea of entering more competitions, which again means stepping outside my comfort zone. I attended a workshop on Saturday which looked at non-linear narratives (translated means telling a story in the wrong order). It gave me food for thought which is always good. If I know one thing about writing it’s this – there are always things to learn.