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Dear Cinema of the Mind

Dearest Clare Who Doubts,

I know, with all my heart, how very hard this is right now; how tempted you are to give up, and how loud the voices of doubt. I know how very real the imagined corpse of your future seems – pale and bloated with inadequacy in the gully below – and the agony of fears multiplying through the deep fissures of every handhold.

Please don’t despair darling – hold on, hold on! These thoughts aren’t the truth of you, just passing scavengers of your consciousness whose appetites are inflamed by your fright. It’s the carrion of your confidence that draws them in, wings and claws all blocking out the light.

Try not to swipe at them, however sharp their beaks. Panic only increases the flow of water into this cramped little breathing space of life. I do so understand the terror, but you cannot be saved from drowning if you continue to fight.

So take a deep breath my dear; stop thrashing, and gently press pause! Let the tides of your attention retreat from the rocky shorelines of your mind, exhaling deep into the ocean of your inner sight.

Just for now, I want you to see those despairing thoughts as a film – harmless ribbons of negatives magnified onto the giant underground cinema of your mind. You’re sitting in a luxurious leather loveseat, a tub of popcorn to one side. Now see the projectionist, a kindly, diligent soul who only wants what’s best for you, crinkle-eyed with care. Ask him why he’s only screened disaster movies your whole life and he’ll tell you about your early days together, how fear was the only way to keep you safe. He’s been dedicated to your survival ever since, rushing the worst horrors up on screen before you risk endangering yourself with change.

But do you see the endless aisles of films available to choose from? Infinite Disney-channels of bright hope, all dusty with neglect? He’s left them untouched ever since they got you into so much trouble growing up. But it’s time to thank him for his concern and let him know you’ll choose the films from now on. Or hit pause anytime he forgets.The new stuff might be a little temperamental at first – a few glitches here and there – but they’ll run perfectly smooth again once they’ve been played enough.

So settle back into your armchair, slide an arm over the shoulders of your fearful self.

‘How to Tame Your Dragon’ is playing at last!

With all my love and confidence,

Clare Who Knows



I’ve had many surprising incarnations in this life so far; academic, nursing assistant, footballer, rugby player, au-pair, epidemiologist, fancy-dress enthusiast, ice-hockey player, circus performer, professional gardener, artistic doodler and occasional duck. But in forty years, writing is the one area I’ve most deeply yearned to express myself but rarely found the courage or pluck. And so now I’m travelling this inner journey of exploration and expansion at last, a curious cartographer of inner worlds and outer reflections in the mirrors of life, gently unpeeling layers of my created self to unearth the rich bedrock beneath. And I offer my journey here, to whoever it may reach, as a token of connection, courage, love and trust.