Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Divine Guidance

I was raised a good atheist, but recently have had a number of experiences that can only be described as spiritual. You're welcome to laugh. A previous incarnation of me (two years ago, say) would have joined you.

Here's the latest, and it's a doozie. Yesterday I was stuck. Wrote not a word. Nevertheless ended the work day (as I usually begin it) with a meditation and went about my business. In the evening, in a group I belong to, I was doing a visualisation exercise with a woman I know only vaguely, and she reported that for some reason she couldn't explain, all she could 'see' in her mind's eye was the crossroads at Chislehurst Common. I said, 'how funny, Chislehurst was where Christopher Marlowe was arrested'. She said 'I lived there as a child.' She asked me more about Marlowe, having never heard of him. I explained he was an Elizabethan poet and playwright and added 'He was staying with his friend Thomas Walsingham at Scadbury.' She said 'Our house was at the entrance to Scadbury Park. We went to Walsingham School'. How odd, we both said. What a coincidence. We went our separate ways.

Three hours later, at a most bizarre and personal moment (the sort of moment that we tell our children is what mummies and daddies do when they love each other), my husband said, out of the blue, 'Sir Thomas Walsingham'.

'Sorry?' I laughed. He explained that the name was in his head for some reason, he had no idea why, and had just had to blurt it out.

Well two Thomas Walsingham references out of the blue in a three hour period was too much for me. I told him about the earlier one. He said 'it must mean something'. (He too has esoteric leanings.) Synchronicity = a message. In this case, a message clearly intended for me, since no-one else (including my husband) gives a stuff about Sir Thomas Walsingham. So I thought about the verse novel, where I was with it that day, exactly where I was stuck and then realised exactly what I was missing.

Of course: Sir Thomas Walsingham! I'd been about to go down a very different road, but the surprise of having the words 'Sir Thomas Walsingham' fall out of my husband's mouth (especially in context, and after the earlier Chislehurst 'coincidence') was too funny and perfect a prompt to be ignored. And yes, clearly, this was the perfect moment for him to re-enter the story.

So with gratitude to a far greater intelligence than mine, I am back to writing.


  1. Sentience is a wonderful, wondrous thing. It's amazing what can happen when heads full of 'one hundred billion supersaturated cells' get together. Your experience was awesome (pre-degraded meaning) whatever the mechanism might have been.
    I sometimes wish I had more control over my writing head but am often amazed at the serendipity of aliterations and assonances etc. when it finally gets going. Put on the spot to write something and you can forget it. It like I'm another person living out here in conscious-land.

  2. I've come to this blog in a curious and roundabout way - trying to find the words of 'To Poverty' by Simon Armitage - but now that I have arrived, would love to stay and read a while.

    Maire Fisher