Letting Go - by SC Skillman

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about 'letting go'. We are often told, as creatives, never to 'give up' and that is so true. But nevertheless, there is a subtle distinction between 'giving up' and gracefully 'letting go'. This applies to so many areas of human life and can be especially poignant when you are a writer and have pursued what you believe to be your 'dream' for many years, but still see it dancing before you, quixotic, ephemeral and elusive, but always just out of reach. 

For me, the theme of 'letting go' has a new and very personal meaning. I've just returned from a two- month trip to Australia to visit my daughter Abigail who now lives and works there. She travelled out to stay with my sister and brother-in-law in Brisbane in January 2019 - very fortuitous timing as she (unknowingly) was to avoid all the agony of the pandemic, lockdowns and Brexit in Europe and the UK, and instead forged ahead in Queensland, gaining a Master's in Screen Production, and starting to work for the ABC. She has a new life, and has achieved wonderful things, met fascinating people, and moved ahead in a way I could scarcely have believed possible in these three and a half years. She is happy, confident and fulfilled, so different from the once vulnerable, timid, insecure little girl whom I always felt I had to protect.

Not long ago I reviewed a lovely reflective book of poems and flash fiction by a fellow author who is also well experienced in travelling through and living in different cultures and then moving on: and one of her poems is about her own feelings as her daughter too has flown the nest to a faraway country. She imagines her journey of reflection as a conversation with Atropos, who is one of the three Fates in Ancient Greek mythology, guardian of fate and destiny: "It is her path to take... this decision will enrich her life... she will do magnificent things, but you must let her go, so in time she can return." 

I confess it felt very strange as I left Brisbane this time, knowing I had left Abigail to her other life, and that this may after all be the best life for her. Three Christian friends said this to me: 

"You have relinquished her with love, Sheila, and your gift has allowed Abigail to blossom wonderfully so, whatever the future holds for her, you have made it possible."

"Our fledglings can't flourish until they fly the nest."

"Your generosity means Abigail is free to fly and find her place to flourish in the world."

Life is full of letting go and moving on, and this applies to our writing journey as well. Perhaps we cherish long-held hopes and dreams that ultimately need to be re-aligned to God's will for our lives. What do you think? What is your experience, when all that you hoped for seems very far from being fulfilled? I wrote about this in my chapter 'Pursuing Your Creative Passion' in my book 'Perilous Path'. This chapter also forms the free e-book I send out to new email subscribers. In it I do take a very high, spiritual view, based upon an inspiring book I read by Margaret Silf, 'Sacred Spaces'. I end with God's Rainbow, and the word, 'Yes.'

But what do you think? Are there times when our optimism may be blind, or misplaced? Thoughts of 'letting go' cannot be separated from the creative journey. Do share in the comments about your own feelings on the tension between the ideas of 'giving up' and 'letting go' as a creative person.

SC Skillman writes paranormal, psychological mystery fiction, and highly illustrated non-fiction about Warwickshire history. Her two Warwickshire books are published by Amberley, and 'A-Z of Warwick' will be released in 2023. She is now researching a fourth book for Amberley and her latest novel is being considered by publishers, while she works on the sequel. Meanwhile she blogs weekly at scskillman.com and also sends out a monthly newsletter to subscribers. Find out more on her website

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