Ariadne’s Thread

As a child I had many Ladybird books; quite a few of them were Sunday school prizes for Bible exams; others bought by my parents. I don’t remember where the two I had about Greek myths came from but they were amongst my favourites.

One told the tale of Perseus beheading the Gorgon Medusa; the other told of Theseus battling with the Minotaur. I read and re-read these a million times but the heroes’ exploits were not as fascinating to me as the key female characters.

I felt a real kinship with Ariadne and her golden thread because of my name: Weaving. The idea of being lost in a labyrinth – the confusion of endless walls and a darkness that is home to something unknown and terrifying – was and still is a frightening thought to me; the thread that helps to retrace steps, to make sense of the complex layout of a world designed to baffle and unnerve, felt to my childish self an invaluable gift, one I longed to possess.

As an adult, I still long to posses it. For me, Ariadne’s thread is now very much linked to writing as a process of ‘making sense’ of life. I have certainly used my Blog to work through thoughts and feelings, quite often at times when I feel confused, upset or curious to discover more about my actions or reactions. Writing is a mysterious process, one that seems to uncover hidden depths and motives. When we think or ponder on an issue, we are aware of a singular voice or even a dialogue. This voice or these inner conversations might meander around our minds, uncovering insights or posing yet more questions but when we write, we quite often meet the shadow of our thoughts, a soundless being that emerges from between the words. Ariadne’s thread is not just about the sense and meaning that language can give to our world – after all, the thread, like language, can bind or liberate – it is also about the unnamed possibilities that lurk beneath language, hiding in the darkened corners; an instinctual energy that hums in the spaces between words and is as important as anything that is said or written.

Quite often when I begin to write my initial certainties fall away; I try to reach for the words that will elaborate or clarify and, eventually, with much crafting and stitching together endeavour to come to a place of understanding. It is not until I read back, quite often after some time, that I begin to see that this understanding is actually superficial and that thoughts and feelings barely formed in my conscious expression of language will have seeped through the page and suddenly become glaringly obvious to me. We might try to lie when we write; we might try to hide ourselves behind our language but we are always there, exposing ourselves even when we feel we are at our most veiled and controlled.

Writing takes guts because we can so easily reveal ourselves, our vulnerabilities, our deepest and most forbidden longings; all that we might strive to contain within the boundaries of the words we carefully choose can rise up between the sentences, heard with alarming clarity, echoing in the cavities of paragraph breaks and pauses.

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