How the bloody hell can it be January 2014?! Well, it is. I imagine that even if I look back to January in March time, I’ll still be shocked by the swift passage of time.
This has been a strange old month of recovering from 2013 and then trying to get back into work mode after the down time.
I think Christmas was a bit rubbish for me this year – firstly as the second half of last year was pretty emotional; and secondly because I got really crap presents but bought really good presents. I didn’t even want to exchange presents this year. I hope that by the time March comes around I’ll have lost some of my bitterness about this, but I fear not.
So for me this January there’s been no big resolutions, no running off to join a gym, no spring cleaning, because it’s felt like I needed some time to just stop. I went to Arran for a few days. I went on a singing weekend by the seaside. I stayed in bed a lot. I hunkered down, laying low, licking my wounds and trying not to rock any boats. It’s been a kind of hiding, I suppose.
And what happens to the work when you go into hiding? In some ways the work seems not to matter. The work is about helping yourself get back to yourself before you can even approach getting back to being an artist. In other ways, I feel the work as a necessary part of finding who I am or might be. I think in the past I’ve spent time worrying about putting too much energy into my work to the detriment of any kind of “work/life” balance. I know that partly this came from being just too busy at a time that I was in danger of burn out, but I now feel that it’s OK and maybe necessary to be so passionate about the work that it can take over from time to time and “be your baby” – at least for a little while.
So in January, the work has been little things and projects for others and planning. I had a lot of meetings. I spent two days with a dancer/choreography which taught me that I have a lot of strong opinions about performance. I adapted John Lennon’s “Imagine” so that it was about the unlikeliness of making a living as an artist for a symposium at The Arches. I was asked to be part of a panel to decide on the programme for Buzzcut and it was a privilege to look at and discuss some amazing application forms from a range of artists. And I didn’t instal an exhibition because this was unexpectedly postponed.
Let’s see how 2014 pans out…