Poet Will Humphreys

Will shares some of his thoughts, on writing his collection, in a fluid lyrical way.

“I can’t tell you what’s in my head. If I did you’d never feel safe sleeping next to me again”, She said…

Relationships, to me, are like trees. You start with a seed and feed it. It grows and puts down roots and pushes branches into the air of life. Some of those branches become the core that holds everything together, they are the fundamental rules, boundaries, and emotions that help you weather the storms.

Some times branches break, because they are moving in the wrong direction and are not feeding the rest of the tree. This is natural attrition and a healthy part of growth. Other branches, the fundamental rules branches are there to help you weather the hardest storms and keep you true, safe and healthy – ready to grow new branches when the sun arrives again.

In my experience relationships can’t always recover from a storm that breaks one of these core branches. Oh, you might fix it back in place, brace it and the bark will heal, but underneath it will never be as strong as it was before. It will always be the first to snap when tension is placed upon it.

I remember with vivid clarity the first time I fell in love. At least what I believed was love, in terms that any normal twelve year old can understand. She was a year older than me, which at that age, is a huge gap; especially as she was a well travelled and highly educated girl who knew exactly what she wanted. Way out of my league!

She was thirteen. Long red hair, pale complexion with the most delicate freckles, strawberry coloured lips, skinny legs that poked out of a mini skirt made out of different coloured suede patches; and one lung.

I never found out the true reason for the missing lung as she like to joke about it, but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t torn out during a shark attack; which was one of the many stories she told.

For one glorious summer I followed her around like a lost kitten. Eager to hear every word she uttered and to look at her all day long. Having been staying with her pen-friend, who lived in the next road, I was utterly crushed, when summer holidays came to a close and she waved goodbye, as she was driven off to the airport.

For the next three decades I made my way through life and loves. Sometimes stopping for a while and sometimes not. Sometimes knowing I had to move on, and sometimes being moved on, when I desperately needed to stay. There were also times when love was taken from me far too soon, and I never got to find out if there was more. Life is not something you can control. All you can do is learn how to manage yourself, within life.

I learned a lot about what love really is, and what it is not. And I learned most of all that love is something that can only be experienced, never taught and is nothing to do with ‘you’ but everything to do with the person that is the focus of your feelings.

Throughout those years, I wrote about my feelings and experiences. Sometimes using reams of paper through long sleepless weeks of angst. Sometimes it was a brief note on a napkin, while sipping a coffee. It was my expression of feelings, my self-analysis, my efforts to understand and my exorcism, all rolled into one.

I kept my scribbling’s, all of them. I don’t recall making a conscious decision to do so, and it seemed to happen by itself.

“I can’t tell you what’s in my head. If I did you’d never feel safe sleeping next to me again”, She said.….

That was the moment, when in my mid forties, I suddenly realised the relationship I was in, was never going to work. The reality and inevitable outcome had been pasted to walls, doors ceilings and windows all around me, for a year or more. But my heart chose to ignore the signs.

So, as does typically happen in these circumstances, life pops up and gives you a seriously solid lesson to learn. One that you can’t ignore and cant walk away from. One that breaks a branch that you believed in your heart was unbreakable. It does this to bring you to the point of realisation and to urge you into action. Self-preservation, to be precise.

You see, we can want something so bad, that it clouds all evidence telling us this isn’t it. Once this relationship ended and still reeling from the highly emotional and painful way they frequently end, I made a promise to myself. Never again would I get into a long-term relationship, and definitely never again would I marry.

That, was the pain talking.

After a few months, I found by accident in the attic, a large box. Contained within were the scribbling’s. Diaries, notebooks, bits of paper, cards and all manner of items with emotions written all over them.

Several days, and many bottles of wine later I had read through the lot. The memories flooded back. The happy times, the pain, the laughter and tears, were all in there. Also the beauty, the learning’s, those once in a lifetime experiences that my busy mind had placed into the darkest corners. Lost and found.

Something happened to me after reading the words I had written. I reached an understanding about myself. I decide that love was something that had given me so much, both the good and the bad, that I could never exclude it from my world.

SO, I made a pact with my head and heart. We decided together, once we had healed properly from the last eclipse, that we would go forth with an open mind and an open heart – as wide and free as we knew how. We would challenge the world to bring to us the most outstanding love that had ever been and to embrace it and enrobe ourselves with it, because whatever it brought with it, good and bad, it would give us more of life than anything else could.

As a mark of my commitment, I decide to write up all my notes, prose and poetry and publish them in a book. For all to see. Not for self vanity, but to share with people the things I had experienced, and to state categorically in its final page, that no matter what, I would keep my heart open to the feelings that had fed my life and the opportunity to love again.

The resulting book was Longing, Love, Loss and Beyond. It contains a reality that I have found resonates with others. People have told me that they have found things in my words that deeply meant something to them. And for this I am most humbled. I keep writing and know I always will. It is part of me and it is a good thing.

Little did I know, that not many years later, I would be guided through seemingly disastrous circumstances, to a love that was like nothing I had ever experienced before. But that, as they say, is another story…….

For those of you in Cheltenham, Waterstones is currently offering this wonderful book.