Coincidence is Coloured Green

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I fell in love with someone because they had the same birthday as my deceased mother.
I was broke and needed money for cat food, and found exactly the right  amount whilst walking to work one morning.
All my long term relationships were with people whose initials were GDH.

The above are snippets of my life, although awareness of the last statement (my partners having the same initials) was only recently realised.
I love coincidences. They are like markers or rewards in life indicating that you are treading the correct path or swimming in the right current.
Life can be a proverbial existential morass that signs, symbols and visible portents lighten and brighten a path through.  I’m aware that these things can be tricksters (see the first of the above examples) but they definitely make things more interesting.
I’m also aware of the need for discernment, suspicion and reticence, because this sort of focusing can lead down the path of obsession and delusion. I’ve seen more than a few friends meander off on that strange route, never to return, lost in a world of deciphering car license plates and phone numbers. Fortunately not being particularly numerically orientated and possessing a hyper analytic nature helps keeps me ‘relatively’ sane.
One of my favourite poems ‘Black Rook in Rainy Weather’ by Sylvia Plath mentions
‘a celestial burning took
possession of the most obtuse objects…’
which is what coincidence does.
Coincidence is a rhythm, a colour, a strange vehicle.
It adds depth to the mundane, creating a pattern that makes reality a vision, rather than something merely glimpsed as it is raced past on your way from life landmark to life landmark to grave.

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Budget Edition Mid-Life Crisis.

image.jpegToday’s rhythm shall be encapsulated by the rather splendid word ‘discombobulated’.
I’m in London and not really sure why. I should be at home working, with financial related anxiety issues edging past the corners of my eyes as I obsessively create for an upcoming exhibition.
I don’t seem alone in my perhaps, generation orientated panic.
Many friends in my 50-ish age group are reevaluating their life choices and how much control they actually have over their destiny.
I’m at the bottom end of the pile, financially anyway. To an extent my years living as a ducking and diving junkie, have given me an edge in that I’m adept at seeing every angle to gain enough funds to get by.
On one level I have the freedom to do what I want, and always manage to find the means to express that, but on another I’m occasionally so broke that I can’t afford bus fare and to eat as well as I’d like to.
God knows what will happen to me in later years although various friends and myself have discussed possibilities of living in some sort of arty geriatric, self supporting co op.
A few of my peers are the proverbial high fliers, and the huge wages they receive suddenly don’t seem so golden as they find themselves in un-lived in flats filled with beautiful objects and dust, working for organisations that see them as two dimensional disposable cogs.
Other people are trying to work out a next step, but are constrained by medical concerns that allows little freedom to manoeuvre.
Then there are those like me.
No children, a tad left field, and suddenly noticing that every year brings further deaths within our age bracket which seems to necessitate some reactive change as a response.
Live fast and damn the consequences? Well I did that years ago, and am still recovering, so perhaps that isn’t the best option.
Travel and adventure and experience as much as possible seems to be the choice of most of us, unless you are one of the rare beings who can appreciate and enjoy life in situ, and strangely enough I know no one like that.
To get to the crux of the matter. I’m broke and cannot afford to catch a plane, so the onus at this point is on trains and buses.
Now, I’m off to explore London equipped with sturdy shoes, a thermos of coffee and a free listings guide.

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My Muse Wears Tracksuit Bottoms Covered In Food Stains

imageWorking from home is proving to be challenging. Nick Cave alluded to the fact that being ridden by your muse is not a pretty thing, and I’d agree. However I would also add that being ignored by your muse is even uglier.
Whilst I’m averse to discipline being imposed to me, an innate masochism means I’m extremely good at submitting myself to rigid and sometimes obsessive regimes.
Unfortunately some of my time off at present is being spent house sitting (I qualified that I could write anywhere and thinking that house sitting was an easy job, I believed the change of location would provide new stimulation for me).
I didn’t realise that having my art equipment and my garden on hand was so necessary to my process.
I also underestimated the lure of technology, my addiction of which seems to accelerated to the point where logging onto social networking sites now brings entrance  into a long term fugue state.
Dressing has never been an issue when working from home, as living in an isolated area and moving from messy sculpting ingredients to a muddy garden mean that sartorial elegance is a delusion and gas mask couture with matching stained clothing and elastic waist bands, is the way to go.
Washing and basic care is easy enough as it breaks up the day nicely and a shower or bath in winter is a way of keeping warm.
Eating tends to be rather haphazard. A long term grazing process that preferably leaves a trail as I wander between the sofa, the kitchen and places that I can access social networking sites.
The first house sitting work that I had was in an incredible Georgian house in the centre of a small city.
There was no garden so a daily walk was vital, but as the house was in an affluent area, leaving it meant that getting dressed to an acceptable level was necessary.
I haven’t had a television for years and wasn’t able to operate the many remote control units for the massive screen at this particular abode, so adding TV viewing to my list of how to enter a vegetative state wasn’t an option.
The following home was beautiful, bohemian and easier to leave when dressed in casual rags, but unfortunately had an accessible and understandable television console.
Thus I have been staying up until four each morning watching mindless programmes about zombie housewives and satanic historical dramas.
I’m also cat sitting in this second abode.
Two beautiful Siamese who act in unison…a little like the twins from ‘The Shining’. At the previous house sitting job I was only keeping an eye on an elderly mother, and as we all know, animal companions are always much more treasured than any human relative, so therefore more stressful to look after.
So I went to bed at three this morning and was woken by the cats several hours later. I fed the cats and did my exercise routine ( newly entered, unfortunately every exercise I introduce seems to bring a compliment injury  with it) which is presently limited and gentle stretches due to a recent pulled muscle.
Fugue state on Facebook and Instagram entered for an unknown period of time, then I start the day proper (once I clean out the cat litter, have another coffee, and perhaps a short walk).
Today’s muse is not pretty, but I can hear her approaching. I’ll just have some crackers whilst I wait for her to arrive.

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Book Shaped Portals.

imageFor the first time in many years I’ve started reading fiction again.
I’m not referring to the inundation of misinformation by various media outlets although I can’t deny that I’ve been jumping from one news agency to another trying to construct more plausible scenarios, but rather, books that contain flights of fancy and imagination.
I’ve always been a voracious reader.
I was constantly read to as a small child and by the age of four was reading by myself and able to consciously dive into the wonderful worlds that books can lead to.
Mundane reality made no sense to me, but reading took me places where anything was possible, where I was inspired to go on wondrous adventures and explore realities, futures and possibilities.
I would hide behind a chair in my grandmother’s parlour devouring outrageous Victorian encyclopaedias, racist religious tracts, stories about sassie girls and wild boys.
I would read in school breaks and lunch hours, read by the light that came in under the bedroom door when I was supposed to be sleeping, and every birthday and Christmas I would receive a treasured book voucher.
The library was my haven and books were my portal.
My reading was precocious and wide ranging and occasionally the school would call in my parents to discuss my too advanced tastes in literature.
In my twenties I shifted my tastes to non fiction. Initially history, biography and autobiography were my primary interests and this later expanded to reference books related to my passion, the phenomenology and study of religions and beliefs systems.
When I became homeless, I lost near all my library so the first thing I did when I was put into sheltered housing was start to rebuild my collection.
I couldn’t afford book cases so I had piles of tomes flowed along the walls and piled in the corners of my bedsit which created a feeling of safety and progression for me.
I spent the following 18 years in a larger flat filled with bulging bookcases which a flood eventually decimated a large portion of, then moved into a static home where I needed to deliberately cull even more of my precious volumes.
So I primarily kept the reference books that I felt were definitive on specific subjects, inspirational art books, and favourite tracts on mysticism.
I try not to add to this collection and if I do succumb, something else has to go create the necessary space.
I will not look at the books in second hand shop unless I desire something disposable i.e the ‘gobble’ read which is generally formulaic crime that I’ll obsessively devour until finished (often at four in the morning) then hand on to another charity shop.Kindle daily deals is my other resource for this fast food literary consumption.
I do buy art books and local mythology and fairy tales when I travel, but that is the only time I allow my passion to be released unless I’m on a particular, obsessive information gathering mission.
When I read I get lost to the outside world and all other activities are curtailed.
I don’t watch television and reading is my way to unwind and switch off.
However of late, I’ve become bored with non fiction and have cracked the formulas of my trash reads and find myself skimming them without absorbing.
So I’ve started reading well written fiction again.
What a joy it is seeing the places that imagination can lead to, the gates that can be opened and the wonder and inspiration that comes from letting the mind and spirit fly free.
In difficult times, times of change, freedom of imagination isn’t an indulgence nor is it a panicked escapism but rather, an inspirational necessity.

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Living The Dream

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I’ve worked in the same place for twenty years. Over the last ten years I’ve drastically cut my hours to accommodate my art work, writing, exhibitions and presentations.
Despite the lessened hours, my day job has remained a stability of sorts in a life that tends towards the creatively anarchic.
Yesterday the shop I work in shut for an indefinite period of time, for a refurb. We’ve spent months building up to this point, clearing stock, and packing up jewellery.
The old Georgian building that houses my work-place seems to recognise this wind down and as the space emptied I became clumsier, unable to adapt to the new layout.
The carpet had marks where cabinets had stood for years, someone smashed the front window, customers who had come in as children and now had progeny of their own, would rush in saying ‘but you’re not shutting are you?’
I was working here when 9-11 occurred, when my colleague and dear friend found out that her husband had cancer and later on when she was informed that he died.
I was there when the shop owner heard of her father’s death in South America and when I received the call to go to Singapore to be with my mother as she died.
Lovers came to visit me in this shop. I met my closest friend here, as well as many other interesting, odd and occasionally illustrious and very famous people.
Simply enough this place has been woven into my life: a foundation from which developed both good and sometimes difficult events.
I will receive a very basic wage whilst I’m not working and in many ways it could be seen as being the perfect opportunity to finally focus fully on my art and writing.
I don’t have enough money to travel, so I can spend all my time immersed in my home, the people around me, and my creative expressions.
Huge changes and quite unnerving as in many ways this is the situation that I have long yearned for; the time and space to commit myself to doing what I love.
I’m aware I’ll need to create a structure and routine of sorts as it would be way to easy for me to drift into an unemployed, agoraphobic, depressed teenager lifestyle.
There is an expression, ‘be careful what you wish for’ and in some respects I have had a wish granted. I’ve been given the opportunity to be a full time artist and writer and need to move past the grieving of what was and the fears of what could be, and learn how to appreciate this gift to the nth degree.

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The Colours in My Head

imageI’m an intensely seasonal creature. As the days get longer and the odd glimmer of green appears, I start to wake up and ideas and plans start pouring forth for adventures,exhibitions and happenings.
I try and ground myself and not get caught in a tsunami of excitement, as when I start talking and pulling others into my exponential accelerations, these ideas become reality.
Sounds good perhaps but in truth it can easily become too much. Suddenly I find myself bogged down with other people and their needs. Politics, logistics and organisation and accompanying stress override any joy in the creative act.
Interesting, intelligent people are often tricky. I’m one myself, so have first hand experience of this.
In the past my tangential ideas have led to books, week long art fairs with multi national attendees, world wide meditative e groups, zines and long running spiritual activist discussion and art events.
However they’ve also led to a personal breakdown, death threats by maniacal unhinged artists, physical collapse of overly sensitive pets who couldn’t cope with every available floor space in my house covered in sleeping bags filled with partying visitors, financial burnout and loss of my own creative direction.
Thus my trying to tread a sensible middle path, something that doesn’t come easy for me.
I’m presently trying to calm myself by bulk reading crime fiction that is well written but formulaic, with a somnambulant comfort found in the repetitive, familiar patterns.
Every now and then I slip into another more challenging book, perhaps populated by straw stuffed changeling children, animate pet milk cartons, or middle aged apocalypse survivors with protective weapons crafted from selfie sticks, which will prod me to dance again off on wonderful tangents.
The year is waking up, but finding the world even stranger than usual I find it very necessary, to take it slow and keep it simple.
Whether I can adhere to this for long is another matter, but for now, I’ll try.

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Clarion Call for A New Year

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My family were never good at celebrating festivities under duress.
Gift giving and joyous celebration were fine on a non regimented level and at spontaneous and random moments, but a whiff of obligation and the shit would hit the proverbial fan.
No money would be available at the necessary times due to pre seasonal stress related binge spending, special meals would be burnt, parents and grandparents would have knock down fights and my sister and I would wake to find a living room littered with foil wrappings from our Easter eggs after our mother succumbed to issue related chocolate needs in the middle of the night.
This family training tied in with my own anti authoritarian reactivity, have made New Year obligatory behaviours as distasteful as Christmas ones.
Thus I’m presently ensconced in a magnificent Georgian living room (I’m house sitting for a week) surrounded by remnants of someone else’s splendid Christmas, lying on an exceptionally large sofa and ignoring the sounds of revellers outside my central city window as 2017 approaches.
As with Christmas my only qualms with this evening’s choice of activities have been in how others would view me.
Luckily I’m staying away from my home and there isn’t the need to pull my curtains so the neighbours can’t make a judgement as to my sad and anti social life style choices.
Saying that, the older I get, the more I suspect that I’m not alone in the way I bring in the New Year.
Years ago my not drinking or imbibing chemicals meant that I was castigated somewhat for my choice of not spending long hours with others as they get progressively more hammered.
Now, most of my peers are themselves tucked up in their own homes with necessary supplies to see them through the evening.
Facebook activity among my friends presently seems to be much higher than usual and as I was in the supermarket after work I ran into a friend of a similar age who was bulk buying discount Christmas chocolate in preparation of the rigours of a night ahead in front of his television.
In some ways I’ve had an incredible year in 2016.
I’ve travelled in the name of my art and writing, pushing boundaries taking risks and achieving so much. I have experienced new and wonderful things, learned, created and challenged myself.
I have fallen in love, descended into some very old shitty patterns of behaviour and madness but eventually managed to claw my way out of the crazy hole.
I realised I am very loved, that I know incredible and unique people, and sometimes I even thought…I’m okay.
On a global scale it has been like an episode from a 2000 AD comic.
Decimation of icons of several generations, justifiable dissolution of faith in the media and political systems and a more than usually apparent madness and irrationality on the part of the powers that be.
So I’m welcoming in this New Year lying on a sofa positioned under a huge crystal chandelier, and vowing to hang onto my creative expressions and the knowledge of the wonderful people I love who love me back, and most importantly, vowing to hang on to hope.
As long as these things exist, there exists the strength to survive and create positive change.
A wonderful 2016 to everyone, and so many thanks for your support!

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