Obviously mood affects the work. In my case that is kind of the point. Cause and Effect.

But all those years I was in a job working for a salary, never did I feel so totally alone with my mental state. By which I mean that if I had an off day, there were other people around to pick up the slack for an hour, or two, or a few days… until it lifted and then I would do the same for someone else. 

In amongst all of the advantages of working by myself, for myself, there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent. Most of the time that’s ok. Most of the time I draw through it, write, sing, or in the extreme, stay at home with the heating on, wear soft clothes and wade through several series of Death in Paradise on Netflix. 

I’ve had a bad week I suppose. Maybe a couple of weeks. Where the physical has combined with the emotional to provide a deep trough that’s hard to see out of let alone climb out of. (Not with my knees!) I am waiting again to hear about a couple of funding streams, but can’t seem to motivate myself to DO anything much. The professional momentum is therefore compromised, and there is no one to pick up the slack. It’s on me.

Maybe it’s an age thing too? I’m 59 next month. This seems a too big number for how I feel really. I’ve got nothing sussed out as well as I anticipated I would by this grand age. I’m still fucking unpredictably peri-menopausal and it is doing my bloody head in. There are days when I have no capacity for anything else but managing this body.

I have had a few good bits. Some good gigs. A couple of Lino print workshops with Louise have provided making opportunities with a bit of brain wrestling of the technical kind, but not the conceptual kind. That’s been good. I’m going to do more I think. 

I’m having the soft clothes day today. I have a gig tonight that I’m working myself up to. It’ll be ok once I have had a shower, put my face on and got there.

I’ve also had news that my solo show is going up at The Custard Factory in Digbeth next week, until the end of April. This is such a boost to my mood I can’t tell you! 

I’m glad that I still can see the positives, sometimes it’s overwhelmingly hard work to keep that positive face on for professional purposes. It’s a hard slog to keep filling in the forms when it’s the last thing you feel like doing. It feels relentless, but on the good days (and there are many) I go like the clappers trying to get things in motion, so that I can coast a bit through the bad days. It seems to take less and less to knock me off the rails as I get older. 

But luckily, at the moment, it doesn’t take much to give me a little boost either.

Thanks to my “boosters”… xxx


The Lines Between Us

The connected conversations that rely on timelessness, by which I mean no interruptions, no deadlines, no need to be elsewhere unless hunger or sleep call.

I yearn for those conversations that rattle along easily with the occasional punctuation caused by pauses for thought. These are not conversations about offspring or shopping, or when the plumber is coming. I don’t know what they are about, or even actually, if the “about” is the important thing. When these conversations happen, they are calm and quiet and easy. Maybe easy is the wrong word, because sometimes they can be deeply emotional. We might cry and we might laugh. But the display of emotion and the expression of it is unselfconscious, it is loving, and is held firmly between us. The spreading of mascara and mucus is unheeded. A tissue is delved for, proffered, received gratefully but unthanked.

There is a barely regarded, unstated, understanding of humanity. There’s no requirement to fix anything, just the space and time in which to say it and be heard, and to hear it said. A nod, a smile, a hand reached out… or absurd snorting laughter.

I feel a yearning for this mutuality, this lightening interaction on heavy dark days. When in the midst of them we are warmed, understood, valued.

Afterwards I often discover myself deep in thought. I have been challenged in some way, not a threatening challenge, but one that charges me to consider the weight of what has passed. The consideration of one another is a requirement, a need… but it doesn’t weigh heavily because it holds love.

Today I consider… while I draw lines.