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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


Motivation, creativity and life

Life has been different for these last few months, challenging perhaps, and as we live through the second set of national restrictions, I’ve started to rediscover some creative motivation.

With the Corona virus situation, lockdowns and my impending 60th birthday I’ve found myself quite unintentionally revisiting interests from the past. Perhaps it also comes from walking more and spending more time indoors looking out of the window.

I’ve been listening to musicians I listened to years ago and loving both their old and new material, and I’ve found myself really enjoying a BBC radio series by the author Michael Morpurgo about traditional folk songs. Old friends from Nottingham, Lawrence County, released an excellent new album during lockdown and it’s taken me back to places I once knew and to places I’ve never really been.

As a youngster I was fascinated by everything about the natural world, the animals the plants and the places they lived. My most read books were by Joy Adamson, Gerald Durrell and David Attenborough and I would watch “Survival” and “Up a Gumtree”, glued to the screen desperate to know more about the amazing environments around us. Later on, I gained a BSc in Ecology from Lancaster University. Recently I’ve started reading about nature again and two books that impressed were “Diary of a young naturalist” by Dara McAnulty and “The great naturalists” by Robert Huxley.

Although I’m not very fit, a new mountain bike has enabled me to ride into the local hills and soak up the environment. Last weekend I stopped to take a photo near the top of Blackstone Edge, overlooking Rochdale, and I watched a buzzard slowly circling; it was magnificent. It might not be an eagle, but I was lost in the moment and my head was filled with the lyrics from Peter Gabriel’s Salisbury Hill.

In nature the remnants from the past nourish and sustain the present and the same works for us too. Sometimes when we do things we used to enjoy, rekindle interests and look at them through more experienced eyes our minds can join the dots, from then to now.

Gradually I’ve started to feel like a writer and artist again, I’ve started to make art rather than just think about it and I’m more positive.

So why am I sharing this? Self-indulgence perhaps, but I hope that something here will

help others to reignite their own creative mojo.

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