Friday, 26 July 2013

how we spend our days is how we spend our lives

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order - willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern."

Annie Dillard

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

get Ben to Trinity Laban

This link will take you to the campaign site of a young dancer who I'm very keen to support. He started his dance career at the age of 19 and has just got into one of the top dance schools in the UK. But it's in London and he has absolutely no funding as he previously studied graphic design. If you can even donate £1 or a $1 towards his campaign, it will help!

I've seen him perform and he's amazing. Please share this with your friends if you think he deserves support.  

Thank you!


Sunday, 21 July 2013

it's just a little fear...


no transcendence

I seem to carry some deep fantasy about the possibility of transcendence -  about transformation which has the power to actually eradicate; to result in final, ultimate cessation.

Of whatever 'it' is that holds me back from freer artistic expression.

Of whatever 'it' is that cripples me with self-consciousness when I want to sing.

I did once experience a long-term transformation of consciousness, which presumably is what is at the root of this belief. But eventually that transformation was lost, leaving behind just the faintest trace of itself in my memory. It seems to me now that transformations are possible, but that they seem not to come about by any mechanism of transcendence or leaving behind.

You don't graduate from your needy child and turn into your adult. You don't remove ego just because you begin to see its workings. And you don't serve yourself by looking back at your history and saying, I was wrong, how misguided I was, how blind. Because this implies that now you can see. Which you cannot. Such self-castigations are betrayals of the soul, and only perpetuate the splitting off inside.

I would guess that the removal of obstacles involves some kind of integration. Some kind of acceptance and understanding. Some kind of making space and some kind of taking of responsibility. Over and over again, in an endless cycle, not in the straight line of progression.

No final resolution. No transcendence.

When the self if growing, forming
It is tentative, unsure
of what it is
where its boundaries are
If it gets the attention
it needs
It slowly consolidates itself
Comes to know itself
Learns to rest in itself
Learns how to soothe itself
and protect itself from harm
Learns how much to reveal
When to hold back
When to let go

If it doesn't get attention
at that early stage
It can never complete itself
It's never sure
Where it starts or ends
It doesn't know itself
It can't grasp hold
of itself
It tries to stand firm
But it has strange holes
Blind spots
Places that it can unexpectedly
leak out from
that can unexpectedly
permit entry
to things that should not
be let in

in ancient brambles
It can't move
backwards, or

Until the day comes
Perhaps through
an enormous shock
it sees
The brambles
The thicket of thorns
How it has been
Shrinking back
Flooding out
Leaking, seeping
Recoiling, weeping
Secretly pleading
With the whole wide world

'I will show you
who I really am
if you will tell me
that what I am
is supremely

The world
does not make this 

Seeing this
The self begins to
unstick itself
To become 
just a little 
more free
I am here
It whispers 
In its own ear
My feet
are on this earth
My body 
Is a bridge
I speak
I sing
And when I speak
I do not speak
That you praise me
If you praise me
I let your praise
Fly over 
me like a passing
If you ignore me
I don't stop my song
I am here


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

settling back into the muck of your own mind

'All artists work to acquire and perfect the tools of their craft, and all art involves evaluation, clarification, and revision. But these are secondary tasks. They cannot begin (sometimes they must not begin) until the materia, the body of the work, is on the page or on the canvas.... Premature evaluation cuts off the flow. The imagination does not barter its 'engendering images'. In the beginning we have no choice but to accept what has come to us, hoping that the cinders some forest spirit saw fit to bestow may turn to gold when we have carried them back to the hearth. Allen Ginsberg has been our consistent spokesman for that phase of the work in which the artist lays evaluation aside so that the gift may come forward:

   The parts that embarrass you the most are usually the most interesting poetically, are usually the most naked of all, the rawest, the goofiest, the strangest and most eccentric and at the same time, most representative, most universal... That was something I learned from Kerouac, which was that spontaneous writing could be embarrassing... The cure for that is to write things down which you will not publish and which you won't show people. To write secretly... so you can actually be free to say anything you want...
    It means abandoning being a poet, abandoning your careerism, abandoning even the idea of writing any poetry, really abandoning, giving up as hopeless - abandoning the possibility of really expressing yourself to the nations of the world. Abandoning the idea of being a prophet with honor and dignity, and abandoning the glory of poetry and just settling down to the muck of your own mind... You really have to make a resolution just to write for yourself... in the sense of not writing to impress yourself, but just writing what your self is saying.'

Having accepted what has been given to him - either in the sense of inspiration or in the sense of talent - the artist often feels compelled, feels the desire, to make the work and offer it to an audience. The gift must stay in motion. 'Publish or perish' is an internal demand of the creative spirit, one that we learn from the gift itself, not from any school or church... May Sarton writes...'The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It is as if the flow of life were backed up''

Lewis Hyde, The Gift, 2006, 147-148


Monday, 1 July 2013

wild life

A shocking and difficult Authentic Artist workshop for me last weekend. On the workshop I met a poet who told me about a book with the same name as my exhibition, Wild Life.

I ordered it, and when I opened it, this was the first poem that I read:


It is time.

Crawl up from the underworld.
Depart your long stay in
thick darkness and clay.

Find your roots.

Find your roots.

Follow - straight or
spiraling - to the surface and
into the humid,
star-storied night.

Proceed, slowly, yes,
but with the unyielding intent
to become the amazing thing
that you have never before

Can you feel your soft, tender body
up against the inside of your
dry, tight, skin?

The edge. The tightness.

It tears you apart....

this back-splitting longing to
be larger than that which has
contained you.

I know that dream.

The one about having wings.

So, find that place where you will,
take the last step
as who you have been,
unfold your future,
and cast the old story behind you.

Emerge. Break free.

Surrender to your destiny,
lifting your long struggled form forth
onto a tree trunk,
or a flower stalk.

The moistness.
It is always there -
conception, growth,
birth, life, death.

Notice the eyes.


Let the soft dawning breezes
caress your sensitive nature,
as you unfurl lacy,
iridescent dreams.
So clear.

Now firm in the daylight.
You are seen.


The world is calling to you.

Let yourself be heard.

Trust in what you have been

Trust in what you have been

Take flight -

with this core truth:

Where you land
and what you do
will determine
how well grounded
we are in the future.

Jamie K. Reaser



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