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Sonia Boué and I have both recently blogged about the cycles of work and thought, the state of flow, the state of staring into the middle distance and the state I previously have referred to as a slump, but is actually an intense period of reflection, review and recuperation, as valid and valuable a part of the cycle as actually “doing” the work.

This morning I have put a name to another phase:

“Anti-Social Miserable Selfish Bitch Phase” I name it this, so that others can recognise it. Because actually I am not miserable at all, in fact often quite the opposite. I am entering this at the moment. I have identified the need to perhaps wear a hat to warn others of this state. Perhaps a large brimmed affair I can hide under, with ASMSB embroidered around the crown?


I don’t want kind acts from others, I don’t want to be offered cups of tea when I look as if I’m taking a break, because what looks like taking a break, isn’t in fact that at all! This is when I need to get myself to the studio for as many hours as possible, lock myself in and hide. I will buy my lunch from Tesco so I can use the express till and not have to smile at anyone. (I bloody hate Tesco, so this shows the strength of feeling)

It is also identifiable by prolific amounts of stitching, obsessiveness, multiples, repetition. An outward sign might be the playing of just one song over and over again… the current top five would be:

Elliot Smith’s Waltz #2;

Elbow’s The Loneliness of A Tower Crane Driver; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_5aypcf_Yw

Jesca Hoop’s Born To

Doves’ Sea Song;

David Lynch’s Wishin’ Well…..

Or at the moment, it might be one of my own, one that has an issue to be addressed that I can’t quite see a resolution for. By playing on repeat, I lose the end and the beginning, it washes over me, it can be ignored, or sung along to. After an exceedingly long time, after many many repeats… it slips under my skin, becomes more passive, part of the air, the landscape, and only then, the answer appears… I can identify which part causes irritation, and can then start to listen more actively, seeking out the solution.


It is the aural equivalent of looking at a drawing in the mirror, or upside down… or living with something right in front of me, until it becomes obvious what is wrong, or I become so used to it it no longer matters…


Anyway, sometimes ASMSBP can arrive at inconvenient moments…. I sense its approach, but have organised my Open Studio Event for the end of this month. Maybe I can dive into it and be out of the other side by then? or maybe try to hold back until after?… I find it is not totally under my control… so let’s just hope for the best eh?