The nature of dipping in and out of a book means most of the pages are, for a long time, just scraps of whims, streaks of paint, isolated doodles and jottings. And they are quite loud and ugly.
In a book of no intrinsic value, it means nothing to open it up and find a space to wipe off my paint brush, to test out an old pen, to blurt and vent some spleen. A dumping ground for bits of thing laying scattered on my work table. Cut outs and scraps, they all go in.
Nothing to lose. Some would argue (shhh — they don’t understand), nothing to be gained.
We know different, right?
Again I remember, how it’s all a metaphor for life. Keep pushing through, it’s ugly now but keep going, it’s a phase. If you have that strength of belief to carry you through it can come good.
At no point in this process do I have an idea of finished – what it will look like or when it may happen. (or if… tbh there’s always an if)
Then I catch a little corner, in my eye or my camera, and I know it will be ok.
Amid the hubbub of chatter inside my head I’m sometimes aware of one group of voices much more clearly than all the others.
it’s louder, more forceful than the rest of them.
More strident, it’s shoutier… y’know?
In order to distance my own thinking from theirs,
I’ve named them the ‘chorus of cynics’.
Some days they’re so vocal, they’re so convincing, their opinions stretch the full spectrum of topics. They’ve got a snide sideways aspect on every last subject, if I couldn’t disconnect from their scorn and derision it would still bite like it used to.
I’ve heard our immediate reaction to a situation reflects our early programming. Let that pass and listen for our next thought, that comes from our true self. So I’m learning to let that knee-jerk of harsh sarcasm wash past; a more empathetic aspect will be close on its tail.
That reflex derision does no good to anyone. The insight of affinity is warming to the soul.
The chorus of cynics will laugh and mock this as mimsy.
Now I let them.
I don’t want their fights.
There’s a department in my mind that holds onto criticism and scorns, these memories, filed under P for Potential to Spiral Out Of Proportion, is kept closely guarded these days.
Too vague, too woolly, too dull and simpery soft-bellied.
You’ve got no definition, no essence, no core.
Too proud, narcissistic, all haughty and vain
Idealistic, unrealistic, unaware of your privilege:
That girl – Go Home!
Twisting out from some comeback,
Flips extremes to befuddle, bemuse and condemn.
Try harder, work harder, do more in less time.
Be valid, be worthy, be helpful, have value, be more than you are.
Of course, the older I get, the less I care.
What I make, what I think, what I care about and focus my life around, these are my choices. I’m gratefully blessed to be alive in a part of history and geography where I’m free to express these without fear.
But the older I get, the more experience adds volume to the chorus too.
My nativity gets dinked and dented as I discover there are more people more capable of more hatred, more inconsistently judgemental, more out and out mad. And their voices accumulate.
Their comments can bubble up from time to time in the clamour of the committee and I can choose whether or not to listen.
We’ve all got our own way of categorising, organising, ordering our worlds about us. And we often aren’t even aware of this until we encounter someone whose ways differ greatly from our own.
For me, it’s by colour. (no shit…really?)
Back in a previous life when I was an office bunny who shuffled papers and rattled at a keyboard all day I sought out opportunities to invent new systems I could colour-code.
I’d spend any spare time buried in the stationery catalogues, choosing folders and files and highlighter pens.
What I came to realise much later on was that I just had a thirst for colour and creativity that was going unquenched.
Beyond that, colour is the defining visual attribute I’ll notice over any other: He’s the guy in the blue shirt, it’s the house with the red paintwork, the shop with the green & yellow signboard … I don’t know any of their names, but I usually know what colours they are.
It occurred to me today, as I edited these images from my current journal to show you, a habit of mine to spend a time with a group of colours.
I revel in their company, their character, the memories they muster and the feelings they stir up.
When sated, I can move on, visit a different range of the spectrum.
I never know which colours will appear next, or how long I’ll be in the company of my current companions. But while we’re together, they will seep into aspects of my day without me even realising.
I put these images together, here I am in the realms of purple and a little to either side, and I felt a pang of familiarity, a sense that something’s closer than I realise…
We’ve all got our theories, our beliefs, or rules by which – with varying degrees of conviction – we play this game.
The nutshelled version of my belief system is: We’re all doing the best that we can, given the resources and information we have to work with, and that nobody knows what’s going on.
Not with any hard-core provable certainty. (No matter what they claim).
We’re all holding on as best we can, to what we can reality on this little blue orb spinning about somewhere in the midst of an unimaginably large amount of other stuff that popular science tells us is expanding, at high speed, into … into… well … more of the what we don’t know what.
One notion I’m drawn to is the fractal universe. I like Carl Sagan’s description here:
I find the soothing quality of his voice makes something mind-stretchingly unimaginable sound so simple, almost obvious.
I’m not a scientist, and I’m not that interested in debating the detail (explanations usually collapse under their own weight anyway), I just find this notion pleasingly tidy.
I’m totally intrigued by feedback loops. (this very snippet from Mr Sagan appears somewhere in this – I’ll post the full version one day… Remind me)
It’s all made up of loops: It all feels like a loop. Like, a spiralling loop.
You know me well enough by now – you know not to expect a simple train of logic, don’t you?
When I found this anonymous model, the leopardskin, that sultry seductive look, and all the glamour of the 1940’s ‘do — and I don’t remember the exact connecting train of thought that same next –– I just straight away thought mermaid.
A few days past the Equinox – whichever hemisphere you’re reading this from – we’ve all just tipped a balance of seasons.
I’m typing to you from the north, so my days are now eversoslightly longer then my nights.
Which makes me glad.
It suits my intermittent insomniac tendencies – if it isn’t cold and dark when I wake up my days are more likely to begin earlier – and in turn rebalance my days and nights into natural circadian rhythms. (Until next time…)
Last week my sleep was completely unsettled.
Beginning with the night I had all the nightmares that children get where beasties and monsters are chewing my feet. And my tired mind forgets it’s just a dream and refuses to go back there just in case.
Popular science de jour supports the belief that missed sleeps can’t exactly be repaid at a later date, and rather than try to catch up, it’s better to enforce a bed time and wake time, forcing the body to comply. Good sleep hygiene. All that stuff.
I’ve tried that.
The obstinate donkey that runs my brain doesn’t like that game, so won’t play.
We (me & donkeybrain) have to lay there all restless and thinky for a long time when we try this. Unmedicated early nights are effective only when preceded by some fairly appalling regard to rest for a good few days by way of a build up. Even the donkey doesn’t think that’s wise.
If I do get to sleep by my ideal of 11pm I fall into what feels like a deliciously deep, eight hour, dream fuelled, well rested slumber. Mmmmmm…
But in reality turns out to have lasted just 90 minutes or so.
And is followed by any combination of thinky/over-thinky/wide-awake/best-ideas-ever-just-not-quite-awake-enough-to-write-down-or-record-somehow/what-the-crazies-was-that-dream-meant-to-be-about?…………….
I mean – it’s rarely worrisome thoughts – I’m not that ball of anxiety (had that in previous chapters, thankfully free of that now). So it could be worse.
I say to myself: Shush, it will be morning soon, you just need to shush back to sleep for a little while til then… continually for 5-6 hours before another 90 min nap.
Last week I had two consecutive nights on just scraps of rest and a few really busy days with a lot of fresh air and walking. So that should be an effective reset, right?
Then the weekend was almost totally filled up with sleep.
Like the rest of my life, I think I’m probably quite well balancedon average – but looking at individual episodes I’m mostly to be found on the outer edges of everything.
There we are.
This isn’t me, but she can be my representative in this tale of chaos. Standing there in her mismatched legs, holding onto her head (keeping the donkey in – he has his uses) and leaning – all casual like – against the one edge of this so called reality. Just for now.