Saturday, 19 January 2013

Who am I talking to?

At the moment, it's an intriguing confusion between many unestablished voices, multiplied by their potential destinations, and spread out across my limited experience. Endless possibility... some days exciting, sometimes soul freezing. I am putting myself through The Artist's Way, a method from the 90s for unlocking creativity, and building some faith in this wilderness. I'm actually getting into it, though the lightness does of course come back around and poke me on the shoulder, asks me to add a bit of cynicism to rationalise the experience, but I'm just saying no. For once I'm on the bandwagon, it's a pretty good view from up here, there's some softly worn fabric cushions of faded brights to sit on, and some pleasant maybes to pass the time. For the moment being, cynicism can hide under a rock, but it's no coincidence that the contemporary reprint of the book omits the old tagline of 'A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity'

Maybe it's just because I went to yoga three times this week. As much as I do it at home all the time, especially now as I am unemployed with boundless time, class makes me forget my body as well as my brain, and fully immerse in the philosophy. I don't know what it was yesterday, but I kept getting really profound flashes at the oddest moments, by the end I'd devised a menu of points to take away, starter,main, dessert, along with the word allow. Quite boring just there, but at the time, it glowed. The plans that made sense to me within that two hours, once I'd had a kebab and got to writing them down, it just dissipated. Revelations turned into plain English sounded watery and thin, like explaining a dream, it was so much more thrilling and involving at the time, I guess you had to be there.

So, I'm doing The Artist's Way, and glad I have centuries-old back-up to ward off the Americanism that my inner cynic bites on. I do skip paragraphs where intention is lost in language, cringe, and fill in my own gaps.  Each day I'm writing 15 minutes of Morning Pages, designed to take off the cream, or the scum, and my classification of 'morning' can sometimes be lax. After just 2 weeks you can notice a pleasing attitude change to such practice, along with a change of results. As I write the 4 pages in an orange Rhodia A5 notepad with a medium blue Muji pen, I scribble loud ideas with a 2B Stadtler pencil onto a Muji B4 scrapbook, underneath. Two tracks. I have an on-the-go notebook which feels like an external brain, impartially capturing thoughts and potential leads as well as boring crap. Three. I've started expanding autobiographical shots which would here become too narrative somehow, into small descriptions of under 1000 words. These are not (yet?) stories, because no-one is sad, nowhere is surreal and nothing really happens. Fourth. A blog like this sometimes presents itself. I don't know if it should, what it does, or how it operates, only that it mixes the methods mentioned, and adds a whole other realm of broadcasting and qualitative issues.

So there is the writing as verb, the writing as philosophy, the writing as theory, the writing as illustration, the writing as noun. They happen on different timescales and crawl towards a variety of endpoints, as yet unexplored and undecided. Flashes of thought seeds, completed pictures that merely need writing up, words that happen as you make them, a variety of distances between you and the Work. Possible destination must be deciphered by me but belongs to the words - Poetry, short stories, novellas, novels, creative non-fiction, art writing, art critique, art theory, philosophy, and all this before you approach paid-for words and modes my naivety hasn't found yet. It makes the question 'What do you write' a difficult one to answer. On the spot, unpracticed, cold. People want empirical examples, but some things you can't put into words.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Resolution time

One of my new years resolutions was 'Be hot'. It was quite a loose list, more like nice motions, one of which was made up from a friend's chat typo ('No Ransom', I liked it, something about not being constrained within your self, reminded me of the letter Sol le Witt wrote to Eva Hesse). The list had a lot about freedom and youth, things I had quit my job and moved location to find in myself again. I was 29, I felt old, tired and bored, I didn't want to look back and have an empty mind, wasted body and absolutely nothing to talk about. I'll be someone who lies on their deathbed and if some young writer doing a piece about the regrets of the dying comes along to question me, they'll be sadly disappointed by my lack of material.

Be hot. What do I mean by that? People still now look at old photos of me from Before him and say, 'I looked hot/cute/etc when'. It was a mixture of untainted youth and chemically applied brightness, and of course we'll ignore the heavy editing involved with the coming of digital images. Anyway, I've moaned about wanting to get back to that Before stage for quite some time. It isn't just about getting a dye job or being a size ten, though these cheats would lead part way there if only by association. It's no longer about the cattle market of Going Out, hitting bars and dance floors with some idea of appropriated sex.

Now, I'm actually taking the focus away from them and putting it back onto me. What makes me worth it? Validation from the inside glows outwards. It follows on from the shunning of definition by the external factors of work or relationships. Those times I 'looked hot' were yes a time when someone was in love with me, but I added that extra layer. I admit it's often easier when someone else has proved you first, you're not starting from scratch, but if you can muster it all from within then that is some heat. I always remember him saying, that seeing a girl out dancing in a bar by herself, doing her own thing, is irrevocably cool (read, hot).

I lead a pretty bodily-praising lifestyle, yoga when warm enough to take socks off, dancing everywhere but the supermarket (big coats hide sneaky street moves). It's not that I'm afraid of letting the world see me. I've been carrying a layer a emotional insulation that I think will drop in time. Starting as physically close to the inside as possible, I've done a fair bit of underwear shopping this week.  I've hung out in a variety of changing rooms with perspex walls, feature cut-out doors, or scant curtains, which when coupled with mirrors give outsiders the perfect perve. But I didn't fight it, didn't feel prudish or imperfect. I'm young, vibrant and exciting,  and I let you see me. Such openness and candour belongs to everyone. That's hot.