There’s nothing like starting the New Year in the way you intend to go on. A bit of a clear out today and I’m not good at it. I pick things up look at them and can usually come up with 10 good reasons to hold onto them and 4 to let them go. But today sorting through some of my many …

img_1391 … many …

img_1394… notebooks. I came across a handy post-it note with this quotation scribbled on it.

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how those who do not write compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in the human situation.”


I don’t know how many years ago I scribbled this down. I might even have used it in the blog before. It obviously rang bells. It still does. And there it was waiting for me to read on 6/1/2017. Well, it is Epiphany, after all.

My problem with this time of year is that usually it’s the longest I go without writing. From about half way through December my concentration breaks down because there are too many things to do and think about. And one thing I do know is that the longer I go without writing the more my anxiety and fear grows. Not enormously but insidiously it all ratchets up a couple of notches. Coming back to it I have to circle it a bit, make coffee, make tea, hoover, do the washing up, stare out of the window. There are always pine needles to sweep up. It’s a way of drawing back down to me the zeppelin that is my work in progress because sometimes it can seem as if it has floated far, far away and is quite happy where it is with absolutely no inclination to come back down to me at all. In other words it is ignoring me.

Robert Burton, who wrote the huge tome the Anatomy of Melancholy which was first published in 1621, was himself prone to depression. When badly effected he would go to Folly Bridge near his college Christ Church in Oxford and hearing the ribaldry of the Thames bargemen would be thrown into a violent fit of laughter. I wonder if comedians do particularly well in January.

Personally, I have never been so happy to be out of one year and into another. So a Happy New Year to you all and a Happy Epiphany. Here’s hoping 2017 isn’t as bad as 2016 suggests it might be and that there is less madness, melancholia, panic and fear. Now wouldn’t that be nice? And good luck with the  pine needles. I’m usually still picking mine off the floor in the middle of August.


  1. Yes, writing is most definitely therapy of the best kind. My way of dealing with New Year blues was transformed when I simply moved to a different hemisphere. Voila, midwinter bleakness has become summer torpor…Not sure either is great for creativity, though!

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  2. Writing has definitely been therapy for me, but then I also wonder if I would be the writer I am if I didn’t need writing as a catharsis! Writing isn’t just putting pen to paper, it’s all the unseen stuff going on in your head – so you aren’t not writing in January, you’re just writing in a different way 🙂

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