Writing, Rebellion & A Leather Jacket
This is a story about an old leather jacket.
Black, butter-soft and scuffed at the elbows. The lining inside frayed as a Dementor’s cloak. A stud is missing so the right lapel flaps in the wind like the broken wing of a giant bat.
This jacket hails from 1970-something. Another soul inhabited it before me, and perhaps there were others in between.
Amid the silken camisoles, grandad cardigans, rumpled shirts and (let’s face it) pyjamas, that comprise my personal style, this hardened, scuffed piece of leather, glittering with badges and studs, seems an anomaly. Too cool for someone who spends her Friday nights reading about seal-people and folk customs.
Often, I worry I’m not rebellious enough, capable enough – in short, good enough – to run my own business or write the books that live in my heart. To say what’s unsaid or contribute something valuable and new. There are creatives far more disruptive than I, anarchists who can be nothing but unique and belong completely to themselves.
Then I don my scruffy leather jacket, my flexible, roughened armour, and feel different. I look at the lapels and see little odes to my bookish personality, wherein lies a secret disruption.
Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful – a quote from Frankenstein that reminds me to fearlessly cleave to my own path and values.
Russian authors who taught me a lesson in expecting (and achieving) more for myself.
I see a goat riding a broomstick because, once the outcast high school goth, always the outcast high school goth.
A rare woodland flower expresses my ideal that the wild and rare ought to be protected, be it flower, animal or language.
Finally, I see my Bone-Men pin badge - a reminder of my own work, that I too can produce something of value.
Sometimes, in a fast-paced world that’s constantly hitting refresh, it’s easy to lose sight of your own values. This battered jacket, armoured with mementos of individuality, shields me from a homogenous culture and reminds me of the importance of be incongruous – the jigsaw piece that doesn’t quite fit the big picture puzzle of society.
I am reminded that I find solace in mountains and chill November mists. Folklore and legends mean something to me. I am a person who does not want Gaelic to die and who feels bereft without books.
And underneath all that there is a most basic of needs: all I want is to be myself and do things my own way.
Obviously, there’s a grain of resistance somewhere that made me choose the unconventional path of a writer. And that choosing is important. Becoming a writer is one of the first decisions I’ve made based solely on my needs and desires.
My own books, in some shape or form, are assertions of freedom, a preservation of what is unique and valuable in this world. In life (and matters of personal style 😉), I hope I never lose the ability to choose.
And that is the story of an old leather jacket.