Sunday, 13 January 2008

Always becoming

This is a strange time of year for me, as much to do with the fraught changeover from one year to the next as with the fact that I spent a long Xmas-break away, with family and friends - good time, precious time, but time during which I half lost sight of my artist-self. And now that I’m back and have more or less recovered from the journey I find that I don’t easily fall into my mode of working again. It’s not just a matter of picking up the threads I left dangling, I have to actively reconnect, have to make an effort to reinstate myself. Is that weird?
I tend to feel weighed down by big dates (incl. birthdays), their charged significance and the affected cuts they make in the flow of time. M.E. certainly has brought with it the persistent sense of lagging behind and questions like: do I measure up? am I where I should be at this time of my life? distract me from what is crucial – just the business of living, of being in process, of becoming.
I want to have my own, living, breathing ways to look at, think of this time of year. And eventually yesterday, on my own, I found it in my wet sunny garden, reacquainting myself with the dark green bushes and hedges, checking for buds which I discovered in abundance and all kinds of shapes and colours. The ones that touched me most were tiny red ones at the end of dark, thin, brittle-looking rose branches, at first glance almost fleshy and close up revealing dense layers of minuscule leaves. Seeing old and new so inseparable and indivisible helped me realign myself with what I am and not with what I sometimes think I should be.
Good news: I will have several of my paper figures (some already existing, some yet to be made) in an exhibition this year. More details about the show at a later date.

The figure: work in process, dimensions: 51cm x 43 cm x 26 cm


cally said...

Delighted by your return, your thoughts, your work and the exhibition that will follow.

I know what you mean about needing to reconnect (not picked up my crochet since Christmas broke the spell) and about the effect of birthdays on the way we think about ourselves. Sounds like you've just had, or are about to have, your own, if so best wishes to you.

Mine is close and I'm thinking the same way sometimes in a deep way others shallow, like today- " I'm nearly 37 and I still haven't managed to get a letterbox fitted to my house" followed by sobbing, fixed by cake (wheat & dairy free of course).

When I was 8yrs old I thought I'd be running my own sweet shop and boutique by now, with 2 kids and lots of cats and dogs. Ok, I also thought I'd be married to a Prince (the kind that seems like a pauper but reveals his true identity after you've accepted him as he is). Ha, I still enjoy my fairy tales but I'm more realistic about how they don't fit into my real life.

Given teh M.E., I think we're doing, as much as possible, a damn fine job in crappy circumstances.Particularly you, as you have maintained and adapted your art without losing any of it's quality or resonance.

I'm glad your garden buds are bringing you clarity. Up here there is still a rose flowering outside, very bedraggled, but flowering. Sounds a bit like us, growing through adversity.

Kirsty said...

You wrote: "M.E. certainly has brought with it the persistent sense of lagging behind..."

Oh, I relate to this and the rest of that paragraph so very strongly. I found that doing The Diary Project last year kept me very anchored in the real world and gave me a little feeling of achievement every day, which can be vital when you're struggling with a chronic condition as we are. I need to find ways to remind myself to stop and notice things every day this year too because it was such an empowering thing to do.