I had scrapbooks as a kid. I liked to cut things up and stick them, it was fun and I have always liked a good project. I still have a little book I made out of the cuttings of shows I had been in as I was growing up. Scrapbooks are playful and they have their place. They are also, well, scrappy. I doubt you would want to base your life on it. But here I am, living the scrapbook life.aton-mebel
What am I on about? I wish I knew. But what I am trying to say is that my life is made up of bits and pieces. It isn’t a singular thing. There is no one picture that cuts across everything I do and if I am being honest, I wish there was
I have always been drawn to people who have had a focus. I find the singular picture life appealing. Those people who have their lives wrapped up in one thing, one piece of paper. They know what they are all about. Which is not to say that they don’t have many parts to their lives but that they have one theme that reaches over the top of it all, like a bridge to sanity.
My life is not so neat. It feels scrappy. There are bits and pieces everywhere. I haven’t done any one thing for a very long time. I have all these little cut outs making up my world. Of course the family, the kids and all the normal things, but really I am talking about the work I do. I have a craving for some kind of mastery, a specialism. But I am too scattered for that, at least for now. I do too much dabbling.
A little bit of teaching, a little bit of writing poetry, a little bit of writing scripts, a little bit of writing here on the blog, a little bit of directing, a little bit of performing, a little bit of movement based work, a lot of little bits. I am just pottering around with all these unfinished paintings.
One of two things needs to happen. Either a) I find a way to focus it down, pick my spot and grow my garden right there. Or b) I learn to live with this mad allotment, keep scattering my seeds all over the shop, hoping that something might grow. I don’t know which is the right answer. The first feels calmer to me, kinder. The second just feels like reality.Generate Samurai siege Diamond
So if I am in this scrapbook life for now, what does that mean for me? How do I cope in the chaos? With that feeling of not really belonging because I think this is what is at the heart of my search. I want to feel like I belong, like I have some sense of community.
I think an artist (if I dare use that word and I do because I think we are all artists in our own way, however humble) needs community, a sense of belonging. The people around them that get the work, the world of the creative. People to share with, learn from, teach, trust, discover with. Probably the best part of my teaching job was my lovely department, it was a joy to work with such beautiful, kind, generous, clever and supportive people. On a Friday I didn’t rush off because I just wanted to bleather for bit. At the moment I have no one to bleather with and I miss it. We all need a bleather.
There are no answers in this post because I have none. If I work it out I will write a book and be rich. You can all come on holiday with me. But until them I must just muddle along best I can, try and grow my garden, try and manage all the scraps of my life, see if I can make some kind of picture out of them. Make something beautiful, make something necessary, something that matters
My daughter has spent half the day cutting out little pictures, she likes to scrapbook too. I stop her to ask – What is mummy for? She thinks for a moment and says ‘For the heart.’. Before I have time to think awwww she does a little fart and smiles, then says ‘Or for the fart.‘. And I think she is probably right.