My Most Beautiful Thing: Hope in a Lock of Love

Locks of Love

In my blog on 17 April, I wrote about my attempts to write about ‘My Most Beautiful Thing.’ The truth is, I haven’t written much at all since then. A few lines. Some small edits.

Today I’m taking part in the My Most Beautiful Thing Blogsplash to celebrate beautiful things – inspired by Fiona Robyn’s new novel, The Most Beautiful Thing. Bloggers from all over the world are taking part and writing or posting pictures of their most beautiful things today. Find out more here and see everyone else’s blog posts here.

I haven’t been writing, but I’ve been doing lots of reading. Reading is good. Reading lifts your spirits. I’ve been reading Suzanne Power’s Heart Lines and this will be followed by Fiona Robyn’s novel, The Most Beautiful Thing. My fiction treat is Vanessa Gebbie’s The Coward’s Tale. I’ve been eyeing it on my pile for a few months now, looking forward to hearing that Welsh lilt.

All of these books have something in common (at least in my current eyes): the struggle for meaning, our attempts to make sense of the world, the places in it and the strange places where we find ourselves. So how is this related to my blogsplash of My Most Beautiful Thing, I hear you ask?

Within all of these struggles there is hope.


No matter how meaning fails us, how much the fog of the morning blocks your view of the beauty of what lies ahead, hope is just over the horizon. Consider this photo I took of the Bernatek footbridge in Krakow, Poland.

My shadow and locks of love on the Bernatek footbridge, Krakow, Poland

Krakow is a city with such a past of suffering that, for me, the locks of love attached to the structure of the bridge show such a wonderful optimism and the hope of a nation which once had very little.

So the beautiful thing is not in itself the most beautiful thing (after all, how do we quantify hope-as-beauty?) but that which it represents:

Being hopeful, having hope but most of all creating hope is my very most beautiful thing.


My Most Beautiful Thing – The Preparation

Like a lot of writers I know, I love a challenge. Especially when you’re right in the middle of a pause in your own writing. Note that I didn’t say a writing pause – because I am still writing  – but there is a stillness to it, which means that the spark is, well…gone. So a challenge is good to get the old juices flowing.

Fiona Robyn has challenged writers to

write a post about your Most Beautiful Thing….You can post a photo of your most beautiful thing, a poem, a descriptive piece or whatever you like. Your thing can be an object, a person, a place, a memory or a philosophy/ideal (e.g. love).

Easy. Right? Well, not quite. I’ve started thinking what I might write about. I thought about beautiful things in my life:

the birth of a baby;

the astonishment on a boy’s face as he reads a word aloud – it’s magic, he cries;

the lick of lips tasting raspberry chocolate cake;

enjoying a newly discovered tea in the sun in a strange and beautiful city.

I thought about writing about these things. Or notions or versions of them. But there’s nothing. Nothing but the stereotypical (to paraphrase Paul Auster) nothing but a woman sitting alone in a room and writing a book. Except I’m not even trying to write a book; I’m just hoping for a few lines!

Orange peel, mint, honey: 'grandad' tea in Krakow, Poland

But pause for a moment and think about this nothingness. For in this moment what I am allowing myself to experience is something precious: permission to witness nothing, be in a moment of nothingness. I have a burning in my stomach – like I did when I awoke at 4am last week and wrote (without any memory of writing) five pages of a monologue. This feeling is growing; there’s more of that monologue coming.

And this wouldn’t be happening if I hadn’t stopped, looked at that blank page, then looked at the blank screen. So, a week before the actual challenge, and I am thinking that my most beautiful thing is

listening to the silence inside


Stepping Back

In my last post I’d scrawled some random-not-quite-formed thoughts about money and writing; the practicalities of life and creativeness. I hadn’t quite figured out what I wanted to say, but decided to put it out there anyway. A fellow writer posted a comment not knowing how or what to reply apart from “!!” and for me it epitomised the constant duality of the life of a writer.

There is a steady push-pull of the ‘reality’ of every day life, the humdrum of home-and-work-and-commitments, and the other ‘reality’ of the lushness of creating new worlds. I subscribe to Writing Our Way Home’s blog and read with some amazement Fiona’s comments about money and chocolate. What she offered was a way “out” or “in” to merge money, desire and need – in keeping with the inner creative self. More recently she’s expanded on the theme of desire and limiting ourselves. 

The cat just steps back and lets it be…

I ordered a book by the wonderful writer Suzanne Power – Heart Lines. It arrived this afternoon and I spent a few seconds admiring the cover; the dandelion seeds floating. The title of her first chapter is “Lined Hearts, Silvered Palms.” It fits with these thoughts. So this is where I’ve landed: to steal a line from a song, just let it be. It’s fine that:

  • I’ve three-quarters of a story in a tiny child’s notebook in my bag. I have yet to transcribe it onto my computer.
  • I am concurrently reading five books.
  • I keep dreaming of my second-almost-finished-novel.

They’ll all be. If I let them.

The synchronicity of the creativeness that surrounds us lets us be, if we let it.

Sometimes, you have to just step back.