Waking from a coma, so I’ve read, occurs in stages.
One may transition from the barely responsive vegetative state in which you cannot focus on what’s going on around you, to a minimally conscious state where your body starts to recognise and follow movement, objects and people.
For me, the (documented) process of regaining and rehabilitating consciousness is a neat literary analogy for the experience of easing back into habits that formerly preoccupied one’s time after a long hiatus.
Not that I’ve ever been in a coma, but the consequence of moving countries, having children, switching jobs and generally arm-wrestling with the bogeymen of our existence and current timeline compelled me to place personal pursuits aside, cease writing, abandon projects and swap all opportunities for reflective adjournment for survival tasks.
The consequence was that I felt detached from my creative work, and unable to summon original thoughts. The mere contemplation of writing, editing or doing anything that didn’t contribute to maintaining our second-to-bottom position on Maslow’s pyramid made me drool, which is in itself horrifying to contemplate.
Yet slowly I’m emerging from the deep sleep. I can wiggle my toes, write 100 words every other day. 250 words the next. Atomic habits.
I can ask myself to form an opinion rather than scrolling for one, look for connections in my life and work and take those roads as avenues for craftsmanship, pick up the unfinished novel.
A project that is dear to me, and one that has helped me rise from my creative coma is WordPress, where the endeavours of art and writing and publishing ride the train of technology and human collaboration. Not only working on the core application and thinking about the challenges writers and publishers face, but also using it.
And here I am, blogging again, and with a soupçon of deliberation.
All this made me think: recovering momentum and rediscovering the world can’t be measured by how many words I’m writing, or whether I’m ticking off a list of tasks. I need to rediscover my environment, recognise what’s going on around me, and slowly gather the blocks I require – a sentence or a line of colour – to rebuild the wall of my desired conscious state.