I should have expected this. Right on time I went a bit crazy with anxiety over my writing. I know about the hard work of writing (and just about any creative endeavour)and I had the crazy idea that because I have overcome so many of my “demons” I would be able to slog through the nasty bits of finishing off my novella for possible publication. I also thought I could handle having to talk to other people about it. Instead I sunk into a black despair which I commonly call “being in the grip of the black dogs”. I think I have written about this and how it compares to grief, both of which are not really the same as sadness despite the social misuse of the term “depressed”.
Where I have fallen down and continue to fall down is not in falling down but
in trying to hide it.
I can’t write the “great novel”. I can only write my novel and be as true as I can possibly be. That includes letting it fail but doing the work anyway.
Sometimes when I am riding my bike home with my groceries I am passed on the road by someone all suited up with the latest apparel and newest bike and I think of the old lady I used to see in Ottawa. She carried her groceries in the front basket of an old bicycle. She made lunches for a local day care. I would see her everyday. She always dressed in a skirt and wore a hat or scarf and she rode very erect. She is the one I remember out of all the cyclists whizzing by me in my lifetime. I have no ego invested in the daily chores that riding my bike help me complete, I don’t compare myself to athletes or pretend to be other than who I am.
So until I can get a loaner brain I am hanging out with babies and family pets and avoiding complex questions, like, do I need to wear clothes? The last time I felt this confounded I had recently fallen on my face metaphorically, I won’t expand on the subject, suffice to say, falling on your face can take time to get over, even when its metaphorically.
I could however ride my bike, not a metaphorical or even a stationary one like those being ridden by the spin class behind me in my heading picture, but a REAL bicycle and so my youngest and I rode around Ottawa taking in all the great parks and canals and free stuff that our wonderful capital city provides. After riding until we felt tired we would get off our bikes, lie on the grass and slurp on some box juices and watch the clouds.
There is a wonderful state under a big sky when you feel as if you are falling, or flying or floating. And nothing moves in your mind faster than the clouds, in fact it almost seems you are thinking the clouds.
This is Wilf. He is six months old. I think he noticed the same thing.
Which brings me to the Tai Chi movement, move hands like clouds. I am still sitting zazen, but I am finding tai chi helps the most. After doing a short set in the morning I can move my head from side to side without feeling dizzy. When I was studying Tai Chi with a group in Ottawa I met many people, including a man who had been severely brain injured by a drunk driver, who found Tai Chi good for their brains.
allegory in art
When we make a snap judgement about what we see, we are being human.
the way we perceive, how we perceive, what we perceive, is it’s manipulation art?
Is the frame we put around a picture, the duration of a performance, the context, are these the things that make it digestible? And within what we can bare to see and experience, the difference between entertainment, distraction and trauma?
I’ve been having a hard time with Facebook and the spectrum of information it assaults one with, this was even before I started chronicling my recovery from a fall. I have posted a picture of my face next to a piece of art everyday. (Doing this was my son’s suggestion. He is a Vancouver artist, Linton Murphy). I have joined the fray as it were with my posts. I have no idea how many people are screening me from their news feed now. Ha!
Having a concussion has been interesting. I have enjoyed an increased sensitivity to colour, while I am more exhausted by the rigours of conversation, preferring cats, dogs and small children to most adults except for the ones who are physically emotive. People who have hugged me: A technician who spent a lot of time talking about how she loves her children (while prodding me with an ultrasound device) and the effect of war and poverty on her mother in her home country; The receptionist at the doctor’s; The nurse’s assistant from the Philippines who helped me wash my cuts at the hospital. My daughter, her mother-in-law, my son-in-law, my upstairs tenant… I am not an emotive person normally, nor a hugger. Moments outside watching dramatic cloud formations and being transfixed by awesomeness, for lack of a better word. As it wanes the usualness of my space and my expectations is settling in. Some changes. Some.
This was taken only ten years or so, before I was with the Artists Network, then the Artists’ Network of Riverdale. I am holding a painting called, Opening to Opennes. I didnt get much positive feedback for it but I was really happy with it. Making it included embracing some randomness. I had been painting endless “enso” and gaining a better appreciation of “letting go” in general. I was at a wonderful place in my life having been scared out of my usual reticence due to surviving a real battle with a blood cancer, stage 4, NHL.
I felt I took a really big chance with it. I suffered the confusion of those who knew my portraiture work, (it’s worse when I tell them I am making quilts now) but I did sell one: “Epi-graffiti” the last one pictured here. Since then I have seen other local artists exploring mixed media in similar ways, so that is fun to see. It was a good time creatively at least personally if not financially.
I have it still. It still makes me happy. It reminds me that shit can happen no matter how hard we try to hide from it, that doing so can lead to our being frozen and buried. But even trapped by a long winter we can see through it.
The track along the dark mountain is as real as this path in front of you,
the one you see,
the one we can talk about.
The mountains in the distance
keep steady pace
with my slow, deliberate, pedestrian way.
I walk beside you,
but when I am walking on that mountain
I can't remember any place else.
How could a breath be so?
scoops out the melon of all folly and leaves a chasm,
reach a depth
where sadness lives
and nothing else can grow.
What a great costume
I really do not have a funny bone any more. I am going back into hibernation. Wake me when the weather improves.
but I’m giving you something I took off the internets…sometimes fashion and Sci-fi do a smash up, What?
You can read all about it here.