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This evening I drove my son over to a friend’s place. This is a task I actually don’t mind at all. Driving home by myself is my pay-back. I love to be in the car alone, especially at night. It’s a transitional space, a little pause in the day where no-one is demanding my attention, where I can play music and sing along loudly and badly, and where I have no other duties I can possibly be performing but driving. A car is a capsule where I can be alone, yet with the luxury of knowing home and family are at the end of the drive.

And it’s often beautiful on the road at night.

I flipped through my cd player in the car and this old favourite came on:

‘Time (The Revelator)’ by Gillian Welch. I have listened to this so many times, it’s tattooed across my heart now, I think.

I feel, rather melodramatically, that this cd saved my life in my personal annus horribilis, 2005. I listened to it over and over, late at night, when everyone was in bed. I would close the door to the study, sit at the desk and obsessively rip up paper and magazine pictures to make indecipherable collages and cry while listening to it. A friend who studied art therapy told me, some time after that period, that making collages is akin to recreating the self in therapy. Well, I must have well and truly worked on that. Then one day, I just stopped. Couldn’t do it anymore. Maybe the self was remade. Maybe I just didn’t need to cry any more. Who knows.

So, I give thanks to Gillian. Thanks to self-prescribed art therapy. And thanks for those precious times alone, driving home in the car. You never know what small thing could be your saviour.