I am a great writer of lists.
In this period of uncertainty, disappointment, and yes, lets be frank, horror at the behaviour of certain human beings who would, if asked, consider themselves cultured and civilised…. in this period, my natural optimism has been tested.
When things go wrong I have a tendency to spend an amount of time brooding, swearing, arguing and so on. The amount of time spent doing this depends on the enormity of the event that has to be dealt with. I have explosive tendencies too. I can be nastily sarcastic and mean. I stomp about. I slam doors. And then I am mortified, apologetic… (but I don’t hold grudges…often)… I express myself verbally, to those closest to me usually, and rather more politely on social media. And then, when I’ve left people reeling, I’m ready to move on, and quite often unfortunately, having felt assaulted by my instant volatile reaction, they are not. I’m sorry. I’m always very sorry. While I was at work in a proper job, I learned to curb this a little. Now I don’t have a proper job I think my social skills have reverted to those of a recalcitrant teenager.
It’s probably a good thing that I no longer work in an environment where there was a closet Farage supporter (I learned this on my last day and was rendered speechless). This week, I would probably have been instantly sacked.
Anyway… while this is all going on, I don’t feel able to work on anything.
But afterwards, when my own personal dust cloud has settled, I have discovered I am at my most creative, and possibly my most emotionally vulnerable.
There is a decisive “RIGHT THEN!” and I dive back in. The events have an effect on the way I work, and what I work on. I work through it all. The hatred and venom are filtered through the fabric. The hot air balloon of indignation is punctured by my needle. The words of spite and cruelty and injustice are scribbled onto a page. (I have been asked by people who don’t know me, how someone as jolly and positive and fun-loving as me can produce work that holds such bitterness and misery… well that’s how.) (The people that really know me, also know that the jolly, positive, social me costs my energy stockpile dearly)
(A side note: actually, at first glance the work can also look and sound jolly… it is those people who dig deeper and look closer and listen more keenly who are rewarded with the bitterness and misery)
The “RIGHT THEN!” generally precedes the list-writing.
The list has everything… the things currently being done, and currently in exhibition status… to remind me that I’m not just sat here. It contains the things that are in the pipeline, that have been submitted and hold possibilities. It holds the future projects and proposals. It holds the things I might actually earn some money from (expenses are a dark and different list).
The list then gets pinned up, and I kick back the chair, put my feet on the desk (currently the dining table! scutter!). I drink tea and I ponder the possibilities.
The next bit of activity might be either a big bit of paper, coloured felt pens and words… or there might be a tipping out of work and materials to be sorted… This time, I think I’m going for the materials. I’m sorting out my apron collection (currently stands at 11) some have been worked on already, some are just there. The apron seems appropriate. A garment to protect, keep clean, be busy in.