The past 18 months have been extraordinary for the whole world, that is indisputable. Certainly in my own circle of family and friends, there have been an unprecedented number of deaths, only one of which so far was Covid related, and dashing up in a joyful second place, births. The generation above me is in their 80s and beyond, and the one below (in truth, at least 1.5 below me!), seem to have been making hay while the sun doth shine - and they were all isolated indoors. I certainly know my way around an online funeral, and the newborn teddy bear shop is on speed dial. Just found out that one child has named his teddy bear (actually lion) Bruce - my name shall live on. Life Lesson there is to buy the best quality bear or lion, you can, in case it unexpectedly becomes your only legacy!
In the past 5 days, another long and fascinating life has come to an end, and a new life is but a couple of days underway. So much going on, seemingly endless change while lockdown continues and many days seem to blur into each other.
A really useful reframing question when all seems overwhelming and possibilities are too few or too many to be identifiable , is to consider how did we get this far, how did we achieve ANYTHING, in the face of the situation as it is or feels to be?
Often by looking through the lens of achievement, glimpses of what might be manageable in the next forward step begin to be better defined. Personally, this is a helpful question to ask as much when struggling with complicated creative processes or “stuckness” as it is with more formal planning and problem solving. I will force myself to stay off my soapbox and not rant about the definitions of ‘bring’ and ‘take’ in standard English - the language is changing around me, I choose not to capitulate ! - but looking at the skills, knowledge and experiences you bring with you to utilise in moving forward, is a brilliant and super helpful exercise to do for yourself. Probably once you begin, your memory will be jogged in all manner of directions and your list will likewise flourish. Certainly most of us will discover that the list of skills and abilities written on that list represents a capable and interesting person who we may not automatically recognise as ourselves ever moment of the day, but certainly is a significant and positive portrait of what you are capable. Hopefully what is attractive to you as a next step will also become sharper, and the bank of skills to move towards that outcome, will be already right there in your inventory.
What do you bring with you to this moment, in your creative work and expression? Anything new and interesting you’ve come to understand after probable months of lockdown and foggy glasses? Imagine the possibilities now of melding all of that together as fuel and inspiration for something new in the immediate future!
The image attached was one of my very first photomontage works, and one that started to make me feel very excited about what I could express by working in that style. Often used as a header image online, including the opening page of this blog. Slightly surreal I guess, it illustrates the idea of moving through where you are, to where you desire to be, with what you have brought with you that maybe useful on the way to that destination. I have never ridden a surfboard, (I seem to have skipped the grommet era and landed directly in old crusty territory, for any other Aussie beach readers who have come in from out the back and are now doing towlies behind their Kombies). But it represents those skills learned and well used and effective to me on the passage through the dessert canyon to the sandy beach. I have lived in the desert, I have lived by the beach. I’m a big city kid at heart, currently far from any of those interesting landscapes. Nevertheless, I keep the Kombi running, board strapped to the roof and the factor 50 at hand. Will certainly need at least some of these pretty soon. (I will be available for book signings and explanations of any idiosyncratic words and phrases used - accurately or otherwise - at the conclusion of the presentation.)