Posts by Busybird

Making a New Path

Posted by on Jun 6, 2019 in Busybird | 0 comments

Here’s an exercise: take a personal item – it could be anything, but preferably something that’s at least a few years old. Hold it in your hand if you can. If you can’t, look at it. Think not about the memories it evokes, but the emotions. What do you feel? Happiness? Sadness? Contentment? Maybe you feel more than one emotion. That’s okay. Just let whatever you’re feeling come up.

Next, take a look around the room you’re sitting in. What emotions do you feel now? If you’re sitting in a room you use regularly – like a dining room – the emotions might be overwhelming. You might feel joy, melancholy, anger, frustration, and more, because all sorts of different things have happened in this room, and your emotions have become like a lot of people shouting at you at once.

As we move through the world, we imprint not only on the people around us, but also inanimate objects. That’s why we can get attached to possessions. We might feel sentimental towards a trinket, like a mug. A ring that was given to us for an engagement may now evoke anger because the relationship turned acrimonious. We may have developed a loyalty toward a car that served us well.

We also develop associations, e.g. the kitchen is for eating, the dining room is for relaxing, the bedroom is for sleeping. By fitting into these niches, we also deal with what those places mean to us. We mightn’t do it on a conscious level, or we mightn’t do that immediately, but we do. And, sometimes, we feel that weigh on us. Why else would we declutter, or give the house a makeover? It’s an attempt to revamp something and, in doing that, revamp our own outlook.

If we wind through all those things that govern and influence and colour our thinking, if we delve down through this daunting and elaborate framework, if we navigate all the niches and passageways, we’ll ultimately discover that unique spark that makes each of us who we are. But that’s the challenge. Finding that, buried, smothered, asphyxiated.

Our heads become so full of stuff we didn’t even realise we were collecting that it can be next-to-impossible to consider something different, something new, in our lives. This is why people take holidays – to get away from everything they’ve known, to get away from that construction, to leave behind those emotional echoes, and go somewhere familiar that is comforting where we don’t have to deal with any of those other things (or only deal with them on a peripheral level), or somewhere new that opens up a whole line of new thinking, and feeling.

For that time, we are almost born again. We are new, we are open, and we seek a positive and constructive experience. When we go home, we want to be able to tell everybody this and that happened, and have happy memories and joyful experiences that we can reminisce about. We’re building new pathways in our head through the tired old routes.

This is also why we organize retreats.

A retreat is the chance to get away from everything you know, to get away from all that programming, to get away from all those emotional states that hinder or block you, and to take the time and space to work on yourself, to work on your craft, and to work on building meaningful pathways that you’ll be able to tread – and continue to tread – long after you’ve gone home.

It’s your chance to be you.

Isn’t that about time?

If you’re interested, check out our Busybird Bali Writing Retreat running 1st–6th November here.

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What is a Writer?

Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Busybird | 2 comments

When can someone say they’re a writer?

On the surface this is a weird question because the answer can be at once obvious but also murky. Is it when they are published? Or can someone call themselves a writer if writing is something they love to do? This brings up its own set of questions. How often does one then have to write? Do they have to be a good writer, or can they just love writing?

My first memories of writing are during prep. I was tasked with writing about my weekend. However, it wasn’t until grade three that I genuinely discovered my love of writing. We had to retell a fairytale, and I chose Shrek. I had Fiona and Donkey rescuing Shrek, while having to fight off Rapunzel and Snow White, and there wasn’t an ogre in sight. After this I filled notebook after notebook with short stories, thoughts, ideas and terrible song lyrics. My love of reading both influenced and fed off my love of writing and soon I was telling anyone who would listen that I was going to be a famous author just like J.K. Rowling.

Since those early days I have written many things, from an untold number of uni essays to a thesis and to articles published online. Yet, the older I have gotten, the more difficult it has been to balance things like university and work with having the time and space to write what I want to write. Am I still a writer?

In our society, it feels as though someone can only claim they are a writer or an artist if they commit large amounts of their time to a project or work on it as a job. Simultaneously, writing – or anything creative really – is undervalued. I’ve lost track of the number of times I have heard of an artist being asked to work for free or at a rate that doesn’t allow them to support themselves. On top of this, many artists and writers describe the work on their creations as a need.

Between work, university, assignments and my internship here at Busybird, it is hard to find time to write. In fact, this blog is the first thing I’ve written that’s not related to uni in almost three months. This has happened nearly every semester that I have been at uni. I start out hopeful that I’m going to be able to juggle everything. Then the first assignment hits, then the second, and then the third. Before I know it, it’s almost the end of semester and I’ve barely written anything. Yet, I spend the whole time feeling like something is missing.

I feel I am still a writer, despite all of this. And maybe that’s the answer to the question. We alone can decide when or if we feel comfortable calling ourselves writers, and what the circumstances are that influence this decision.

Charlotte Long
Editing Intern

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