Sunday, August 9, 2009


A very delayed response to the question what inspires you... from the Weaver of Grass blog (link here).

A good while back, a very very good friend of mine said something to me that I thought at the time was a bit of a put down, but I have since realised was one of the wisest things she has said, and she says alot of wise things, (even though she never reads this blog - so I'm not sure where all the wisdom comes from) (but btw in case she does ever read this I want to emphasise that I do love her to bits, and she's great)
What she said anyway was the following -
"It's so great the way you don't care whether your stuff is perfect, you'll just get up and say your poems anyway."
She had just seen me doing a poetry reading.
Would you have taken that badly?
I did. A little.
But then I realised that actually it is a bit great that I haven't so far and hopefully won't in future let fear of not being perfect paralyse me into not doing something I really want to do. And I've gone from being someone who looks and I quote another friend when I say "like a four year old that wants to go to the bathroom" just before a reading - to someone who looks like maybe an eight year old that wants to go to the bathroom, in less than a year.
So yeah, I'll continue, not caring if people think I'm crap, because there's absolutely no one out there that doesn't have someone who thinks they're crap, it's all so subjective. And if you don't try, you definitely won't get better. Don't let fear discourage you, better yet - harness any criticism/ knockbacks/ rejections you do get to inspire yourself - if someone just thinks you're average, not the best in the world at something - use that as the kick you needed to make you the absolute best you can be... you'll show em. Jujitso.
Today's life lesson is brought to you by the letter P for pretentious, pompous, and peurile. The number 3, and the fruit banana.


Dublin Dave said...

That's a great attitude Niamh - and your'e right the only way writing can defeat you is if you give up on it. You have to find some way of not caring, and not giving up.

Rachel Fox said...

I enjoyed this sounding off!

Drama Queen said...

Of course the comment stung! I'd have felt like bopping her on the nose!
The day you don't care is the day you're no good - so you have to care, you have to get hurt, you have to get up there again and stuff it to them! How would one improve without challenge (and wanting to wee)and practice!
Keep it going baby! I think you're great!

Emerging Writer said...

I'm hoping it came out different to the way it sounded in her head.

Niamh B said...

Thanks Dave - you're right - not caring is the way to go.
Thanks Rachel - v kind of you to say so
Thanks DQ - you're right - caring is the way to go.
Thanks EW - it was meant in a purely complementary and admiring way - and came out kinda wrong at the time, but I do think it had a lot of value in that it highlighted how fear can make people stagnate and breaking free of that is hugely valuable.

And I'm not being flippant by the way - I do think caring and not caring are important, but the key is knowing when to apply each, if confusing.

Dominic Rivron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dominic Rivron said...

I wouldn't be without great writers, musicians, artists, etc., but I often think back to the time (was it ever like this?) when the art/poetry/music/etc. available was by and large "by the people for the people". It may be fanciful, but it feels as if blogging -at its best- kind of takes us back to then.

(Sorry I messed up the first effort...)

Niamh B said...

Thanks Dominic. I guess it always is for the people, that's got to be the original motivation, but art maybe often finds itself tied up in knots relating to craft and points of reference. I sometimes would be inclined to think that's a waste if it doesn't get out there because the artist is so tied up in making it more and more perfect, however if getting there excites the person that much maybe the journey itself is worth it, and when they come out the other end - tortured genius that they are - they'll have hopefully produced something that is worth all the work that went in.

beedlemama said...

Hmmm, I too would have been mortally offended and would have heard only the 'not perfect' in the sentence, but like you say, you are wise to take it in its rounded form (as in as a compliment!) Putting yourself on the line in any form of art or love or friendship is always a bit like jumping off a cliff, but it is always the best bit.. you are free!!