the thought-stream of an artist and writer



the thought-stream of an artist and writer

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hunting The Muse

Vertigo, 1982


I've been thinking about writing a blog for a while now. I used to write daily but fell out of the habit when life got so busy and time so elusive.... after I entered the world decisively, as a wife, step-mother, woman with a steady, emotionally and physically demanding, worldly job. When I lived alone and often went on retreat, my writing seemed a lifeline both to the physical world I did not inhabit comfortably, and a delicate tether to the otherworldly. Finding painting was a turning inward for me, finally with a purpose, though one I could not articulate. Prompted once in critique with a very famous painter to explain what it was I was after I could only say, hopelessly, "to make a better painting". I couldn't blame him for giving up and turning to someone more interesting.

Hedge, 1985


I dropped out of grad school in tears of frustration. I am sorry now that I saw it as a defeat, a retreat from something too difficult for me, a lack of fitness. I was wordless for so long, my journals taking to describing the weather, simple activities of my day, random fleeting thoughts, simply to record something, anything, of the amorphous, shape-shifting inner life I seemed destined to live. Ten years, twenty, now thirty since I started mixing paint, scraping palettes, wrestling with canvas, frustration and hope in equal measures. I felt lost when I could not record, just as I felt lost when I couldn't mess around with paint.
What was I doing? It felt as if I was building something completely from scratch in those days. Yes there were guideposts, other artists, writers that I could look to. But my own voice was as distant and faint to me as a radio signal in the jungle.
So I begin again, without really any idea of where I'm going with this. But I have a lexicon now, of sorts... words and symbols and wide swaths of colour that I hoist up like sails to see what breeze catches on them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Portent



Everything
Once tidied and put away, beneath
The long flat wait of winter,
Is jumbled up now
All together-
Hope and penance, mud and memories,
Prayers, snowdrops, robin birds.

Domains are being readied
For the season of propagation and increase,
Under the comet's ghostly maneuvers.
Planted in the swing and bang of
The beginning,
Harrowed and divided by the stretch of stars,
Propelled with insistence into Holy Week,
We are yoked with a thousand years of senarios.

So Easter day comes
Hanging heavy and unredeemed.
The Christ is risen
But the shiver is still there-
Heavy breathing war horses groaning across England,
And A10 warthogs shreiking over desert in Nevada and Iraq.

The same night
Choirboys fling joy at the rafters,
Trembling the clerestory with angelic vibration,
We stand in corn stubble and cow field,
Watching the bad star.
Collecting, from rooftop and balcony,
In angled mirror and wide lens,
The dust and spangle of
Our collective imagining, that,
Borne in the comet's fag end,
Is our history and our almanac.

© 1999