You can only go with that gut feeling can’t you?
In the studio, with the making, things aren’t going well. Everything either looks twee and stupid, or contrived and derivative of someone else, something else, or a re-hash of what has gone before. I’m not getting that tingling in my fingers that tells me to stitch faster because I’m onto something. Four garments hang against the wall, stitched, but mocking me: “Is this all you can come up with?”
Meanwhile in another part of my head, words swim about and get scribbled onto the page as fast as they can. Emotional concepts derive links from overheard conversations and common memories. The workings of other people’s minds are puzzled over and speculated upon and the rumblings end up as barely legible scrawl in my songwriting notebook. Sometimes they crowd me out, getting themselves from my brain to the page without thought until I discover them there later, like the outpourings of someone possessed. Some of this scribble, is, of course, absolute bollocks. But occasionally, there’s a seedling amongst the manure.
Meanwhile in another part of my world, I had another performance last night. I puzzle over this too. It was received well, very well actually… I had comments and compliments about my words, and my singing. I hesitate to take it to heart, as I feel a huge part of how I am received is the fact I have Dan sat next to me. He has a quiet brilliance, a presence that I am sure rubs off on me, and that I have learned from. I bask in reflected glory. He is also validation: “If Dan Whitehouse is playing with her she must be good!” This is much like “If the Arts Council gave her the money, it must be good!”
I am cautious to be swayed too much by this… but… this is where the buzz is coming from lately…
Have I been bitten by the bug of instant gratification – an audience that claps and cheers (and whistles! Dear God!) immediately the final note is sung?
The thing is… the reason I want to go to the studio tomorrow is to record, not to stitch or draw. So I should follow that. I always tidy my studio desk and put things away and clean up before I come home. Despite my house being a tip, my studio is really tidy. This surprised me from day 1. I had always presumed that if I had a studio “It would be great because I could leave things out and pick up the next day”… what I have found is that it isn’t like this AT ALL…. and it never has been. What happens is, I want to go into the studio every day with the excitement of the fact that I would NOT feel duty bound, beholden, guilty. I want to go into the studio every day with the excitement of the fact that ANYTHING is possible… and that MUST be the case every day I walk through the door…
So, the garments that mock me will stay hung on the wall, and I shall ignore them. I’m going to plug the mic in. I’m going to sing, and write and record.
Meanwhile, in another part of my house, there are pieces of work, throughout my creative life, that have been unceremoniously abandoned. There was the half made dress… The elaborate stump work embroidery, the dragonfly tapestry… the half quilted quilt… they were just dumped, in favour of the idea that followed, never to be returned to. My obsession with songwriting and recording and singing could quite possibly herald another such sea-change… I can smell salt in the air…
I won’t have any idea if this is the case until it has happened, until maybe a year on… when the garment hanging on the wall is covered in dust, or I have thrown it in a corner and pinned lyrics to the wall instead…
I stared at the bottom of the boat I just fell from
Could see the tree dappled sunlight
Saw the pink cloud expand
My blood drifted in rings round the ends of the willow boughs
I could see the shouting
Movement slowed by the screen of the surface
I felt calm and peaceful and wanted to stay
They pulled me from the quiet water like a second birth
The sound slapped me as I rejoined the world
I stay away from the water now, because it calls me back
I won’t trust myself to not dive back in
to find peace again.