We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience. – John Dewey

I’ve wanted to include a series of pauses along my creative path for a while. Something to remind me that I just need to stop and reflect far more than I have thus far in this life. I couldn’t think how until I came across this in the latest Faye Kellerman, where she alludes to the character’s Shabbat –

 Decker’s comma, a pause in the week to take a breath before rushing off to finish the sentence of one’s life.

How great is that?

But ‘comma’ didn’t exactly set me alight – I know it’s a useful little chap – and I use the term ‘Chap’ with some hesitation, following a bit of a set-to with a male friend who remains convinced that commas are ‘Most surely female as they interrupt everything …

Now I cannot, of course, speak for the whole of womankind but, being something of a prolific interrupter (and user of commas …), I did indeed concede the point to him, but only just, and most certainly not here …

Nevertheless, comma is a bit bland – I am after all she who yearned to one day be a coiffured floaty creature, effortlessly feminine and sophisticated, releasing her inner Vivienne Leigh wherever she went – far too glamorous for a mere comma though, sadly, with size nine feet and alopecia I was never likely to ever make that particular cut …

But a girl can stop, and dream, and look.

And find –

… caesura – any break, pause or interruption …

Floaty, sophisticated and Vivienne Leigh, all rolled into one.

Eat your heart out, comma.

So here we are, the starting point of my caesuras which, by happy coincidence, is not only the month of my birth but also the point in the year when I stop to reflect on that which has been.

My harvest, where I gather afterthoughts which, with Mother Nature, is the time when the fruits of my labour become most apparent.

What is going well, what I could have done better and what I should never have done at all. Thus, proving why afterthoughts are such inconsistent things – some rich and plentiful like nature’s bounty, whilst others fall on stony ground, unlikely to flourish further.

Perhaps that’s why they have something of the negative about them – oft perceived as the little sticks of (too) late wisdom used to beat ourselves, or sharply prod the ribs of our psyche.

But instead we should treat them with positivity – sift, sort and store – the seeds of realisation and change for next year, and all the years to follow …

Enabling us all to complete the sentence of our life …

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