Wednesday, 10 October 2012
I've spent a great deal of the last couple of years worrying and wondering about how much I'm working, whether on music or on art. In the end I learned to be philosophical about the long gaps and spaces that seemed to be occurring, and even began to see that space might be an essential part of the working.
From this perspective, it's interesting to observe my internal state and my behaviour since my involvement in the Ecstasis project. After the first day of recuperation, I've found that, though I'm not tired, I've not wanted to play the viola at all. It says something about the driven habits of my mind that perhaps I should even consider this to be notable. I still seem to believe somewhere that if I stop for a day or so that it's 'the thin end of the wedge' - the beginning of a steady slide downwards into sloth and apathy. At the very least that whatever capabilities I have will start to decline from 'lack of practice'.
Yesterday, some part of my mind said, 'right, back to the instrument before the slide begins'. I played the violin for about three minutes and the viola for the same. As soon as I stopped I could feel my hand beginning to hurt, in a way that it hadn't done, remotely, after the four hours of playing on Saturday, or in the two days that followed. And it's been sore since. It looks as if my overall body/emotion/mind system knew instinctively that it was not a good idea to play. Maybe for a week, who knows. And who cares, said the system. The minute my mind over-rode that instinctive knowing, more drastic halting measures were instigated.
The other thing that's interesting is that, in the lead up to Ecstasis, I was aware that I wasn't really doing much painting, as there was so much to explore with the music. I somehow didn't want to paint, there wasn't space for it. The minute the project was over, the painting just started itself up, no mind-stuff involved. It was like reaching out for a glass of water when you're thirsty.
Why do I worry that if I relax my vigilance, or change my routine (which actually changes all the time anyway, I just pretend that it doesn't), everything will stop? Why do I seem to believe that somehow my natural state is sloth and inactivity, and that I have to keep geeing myself up with my mind to make anything happen? When in fact all the actual evidence suggests that if I stop all this trying and intending and disciplining, 'creativity' seems to happen like breathing, like a river winding down to the sea. It has its rhythms; its tides and its storms, its patches of calm, its cool breezes. When I get out of the way, it seems to be the movement of life itself.