the best laid plans…Posted: February 6, 2012
It struck me that this was the perfect title for my blog as it represents where I began, where I’ve been and where I am going. Let me explain.
In 1785, the poet Robert Burns wrote To A Mouse. One of the final lines of this poem is (in the original Scots dialect) “the best laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”. This translates to “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.
I was born in 1978 in Edinburgh, but relocated shortly after to Galloway where I was raised until I left home aged 17. Burns was an Ayrshireman with strong links to Galloway and as a result we learned many of his poems at school. I spent weeks during my primary school years in Newton Stewart learning to recite this piece with a faultless local accent. It was around the statue to Robert Burns in Dumfries that we gathered as teenagers. It was from To A Mouse that John Steinbeck took the title of his novel Of Mice and Men, which remains one of my favourite books. And most recently A Red, Red Rose was read by my brother at my wedding to Gavin in 2010.
Whether it was the recital or occasional writing of poetry, essays or even messages in greetings cards, those close to me have always suggested that I should write. But my problem has always been that my best laid plans have gone awry. I’ve reached 33 and yet still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve had plenty of ideas and followed many paths but I still have a feeling in my very core that I just haven’t found my true calling. It’s a funny and frustrating feeling. Like I know I am really talented at something but I just haven’t worked it out yet.
A friend of mine is a decade younger than me and immensely talented in so many ways. But she struggles with insecurities and perhaps, by her own admission, holds herself back. I caught myself dishing out advice to her, something along the lines of “don’t let insecurities get in the way of talent”. I wanted her to throw caution to the wind. And then the penny dropped in my own mind. There I go again, dispensing advice which I am unwilling to take myself.
So, that led me to today and to this blog. My father used to tell me to sleep with a notebook and pen by my bed as I found that I would sometimes wake with thoughts, ideas or even whole poems in my mind. I guess that this blog will be the 2012 equivalent of the notebook and pen by my bed. I have laid no plan as to where this will lead or what form it will take. But it’s time to stop being that “cow’rin, tim’rous beastie”.