How To Not Write About Grief

How To Not Write About Grief

I've been writing religiously since I was eleven years old, when I made polar bears and penguins talk in my Year 7 English class. I wrote all through high school, I wrote my way into a creative writing degree where an insane, brilliant man made me throw snowballs at a wall and then scribbled a path into a couple of writing jobs here and there. Words have always made sense to me.

I’ve been finding out what the limitations of writing are recently.

There are things I can't write about - not yet, maybe. Not ever, maybe. It makes me sick to think about how to compress a feeling into syllables, how to find freckles and unicorns in the corners of the alphabet.

So instead I keep writing about myself and my pretentious feelings about myself writing and I keep on writing circles around this absence, like someone who knows better than to look into the sun.

There are some things I do know though.

I know what it is to stand on a beach barefooted, trap a year in a floating lantern and return it to the moon.

I know what it is to choke on a Facebook feed like a tidal wave, to wake up one day and see wordswordswordswordswords

I know what it is to climb a spiral staircase for the last time and see the skyline soar untouchable above me like hundreds of church steeples

I know what it is to chase the ladylike fingers of cigarette smoke until they melt, finally, into lamp light

I know what the beauty of a shooting star is and I know the way it danced, I saw it smile and I heard it laugh as it passed our universe by

I have looked at too many photographs and thought are these all of them, are these all we are ever going to get

I have thought about James Dean, not forever young in red jackets and cigarette ends, but I have thought about how the years would have washed over him, how the wrinkles would have formed in his smile and how he would have swapped to nicotine patches

I have thought of new festivals too bright to photograph, of faces golden with exhilaration and music racing each heartbeat to the next, of a walkie talkie streaming with voices and the manicured hands around it

I have thought about how to dismantle the English language, how to tear words apart and make a person whole again

I have thought about how to write about you without writing about you

I have loved the kingdoms in you too fiercely to be fearful of a world that roars on without you

Freelance lifestyle writer and elderly puppy cuddler. Based in London/Hong Kong, scribbling at Give Me Chills. Give me a shout at