what a journey i am on these days, (in between working on ‘the books’). what I cannot seem to get over is, how in doing my “research” (life process/investigations) all of my readings are somehow connected to each other. I feel a bit like a character in an Umberto Eco novel. this may seem obvious, due to the ‘cross-culture’ nature of artists and writers and there will always be links between them (visible or not). but these links (between my readings and my life experiences lately) continue to surprise me.
for example, I am currently studying the concept of phenomenology, which brings me to a number of different authors and concepts while at the same time working on a book that incoporates all of these philosophies, on the subject of guerilla art, (only I didn’t know that when I originally wrote the book). I am now and always was a phenomenolgist but didn’t know it. this pursuit brings me to new concepts and artists, (psychogeography, alan fletcher, fluxus, allan kaprow, eva hesse, modernism, David Abram, the art of the everyday, john cage, culture jamming, walt whitman, the situationists, jane jacobs, the list goes on,) they are all connected to space, nature, the everyday, movement, poetry, art, community, creativity, chance, and jumping off the edge of the known world.
last week i bought a card with a picture of walt whitman on the front it, (not knowing who it was at first), because he had such beautiful eyes, and for the line “Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.”
now i am reading whitman everywhere. today a stranger sends me the most amazing book about corita kent (to which I am eternally grateful) and I open it up and read,
“His [Whitman's] favourite occupation seemed to be strolling or sauntering about outdoors by himself, looking at the grass, the trees, the flowers, the vistas of light, the varying aspects of the sky, and listening to the birds, the crickets, the tree frogs, and all the hundres of natural sounds. It was evident that these things gave him a pleasure far beyond what they give to ordinary people.” ~John Dewey
every day that i wake up i cannot wait to see what new connections the day will bring.
(one observation I have made is that EVERYONE is connected to john cage.)
time to clean up the pile of books at my feet, put away my research for the time being, eat some lentil soup for lunch, and later sweep the floor.
even if you discover all of the secrets of the universe during your research, the floor still needs sweeping.
juice container rings.
I was sad to hear of the death of canadian radio host Lister Sinclair, who hosted the enlightening show, “Ideas”, (one of my favourite nightime companions for many years.) His passion for knowledge and for his work was completely contagious, and (like my favourite teachers) left me wanting to go out and do my own investigations into the topics he presented. In explaining mr. sinclair’s process, the executive producer of Ideas Bernie Lucht said,
“He felt that the job of humanity was to find out what it was about, what we were about and what our surroundings, the universe into which we had been born, were about.”
something about these words hit me at a deep level. kind of an “aha” moment. it so simple, this is our only work, to find out what we and the place that we live are about. maybe the big conclusions never come. i am an investigator, doing reseach and documenting my findings.
I suppose this is exactly what I have been doing all along, yet lately I am wanting to have a distinct conclusion, a formulation of meaning, clear results from my findings. But what if my only role is in documenting, investigating, observing?
yes, i can do that.
“Same old eyes, same old world but the difference is how you look at what is in front of you, not what it is.” ~Lister Sinclair
thank you for sharing your heart mr. lister sinclair.
It’s amazing how much your surroundings can affect your sense of well being. While it did not seem to affect my ability to create these last few months, I now feel myself lighter, calmer, more in my body, sleeping so very deeply (something I haven’t done for months.) I have been transformed into a more secure version of myself.
The house is one of my creations that I add to with little bits here and there, a robin’s egg blue on this wall, a small collection of stones over here, a couple of my collages in the corner, photos from travels in frames. I have not yet been able to pull out my books just yet as I do not have a bookshelf for them in the studio. They are the most important component in my creative life, even just seeing them gives me a feeling of excitement. The wanting to run to the journal to write. I love that feeling.
Let me tell you that even after so many years of doing work that I love on a regular basis I have never lost that feeling of “not knowing what I am doing”. Some of it is with me every day. After this year I will have written and had published six books with major publishers. I still feel like I am a hack that is about to get figured out. Someone will call me up next week and in a strong voice say, “the gig is up missus, I know what you’ve been doing, and it’s all over.”
But then, I’ve learned that everyone feels this way, only most of us don’t talk about it. I’m not sure why I’m writing about this right now, except that the thought came into my head and it wants to come out for some reason. So there you have it. Reading obsessivley about Eva Hesse’s life has brought some new insights into the forefront. I want to be willing to let go of the need to ‘produce’, I want to let go of the pressure to be a great artist, (where did that come from?) Eva writes…
“One of my first visions when I woke up from my operation is that I didn’t have to be an artist to justify my existence. That I had a right to live without being one.”
Oh, how we pressure ourselves. Reading that made me feel better for a time. Take a few deeper breaths. Who would you be if you stopped trying so hard? Contemplate that just for a moment. Sit with it if you dare. what if you didn’t produce a thing for the next while? (something about this thought terrifies me I admit.)
Lately I look out the window at the fire-red trees and think to myself, “how can I be inside right now when the leaves are changing, the leaves are changing.” I want to watch them every minute so I can soak it all in, get every color into my palette, this fall will never happen again.
I guess that is why we love it so. Because it is fleeting. Impermanent.
But I am enjoying being inside in this new place. Walking from room to room. Cooking over a big pot in the kitchen. Filling the house with new smells of curry and incense and clean sheets. How wonderful it is to have a real bed again, instead of sleeping on a couch, (or thermarest).
the leaves are calling me to come join them, and so I do. there is enough time for everything else. later.
it has been an intense 48 hours, but we are finally moved into the new house!
amazingly I have unpacked 80% of the boxes, only because we have been living out of boxes for well over three months now and I couldn’t bear the sight of them anymore. what a novelty, to be able to put things away again! the house could not be better, cozy, quaint, and full of good writing energy!
the move was made a bit more difficult by a raging migrane, three days long, (combined with a strange and unusual case of acne!?, I haven’t had it like this since I was 15). i suppose all the tension of the last few months all came flooding out all at once. but i have been able to keep food down, and i must be feeling better because I made my first walk downtown this morning. it’s a little longer of a walk now, about 1/2 hour.
as I walked through my new neighborhood i found myself tearing up. the street are filled with big beautiful old victorians decorated for halloween. right across the street is the quintessential halloween house, (I’ll see if I can get a photo of it), think of the design of the psycho house but much more quaint and beautiful and not scary at all.
walking down the big hill i pass a fancy old street lined with well kept ‘professors’ houses, a beautiful big pond hidden by trees, a waterfall, and an ancient graveyard.
as i walk i think of how i am excited to go home again later and (ignoring all the work I have to do), curl up with a good book and some tea.
(i’ll try and post a photo soon, once again i’m without internet.)