I’m as corny as Kansas in August,
I’m as normal as blueberry pie,
No more a smart little girl with no heart,
It’s just not an easy thing to do. You open yourself up and you don’t know why. You ask people to listen but you barely dare to hear yourself. You embark on journeys into the unknown, following whims and habits and paths of desire, indulging yourself entirely and then spill your guts telling and showing where you’ve been as if anyone cares. “What makes you think anyone wants to see this”, my tutor at college once asked and those words alternate between empowering me and reducing me to paralysis.
It goes out there (that thing you made) but maybe doesn’t travel very far. Maybe it gets stuck on the first outing and only exists in the blurred memories of a few people. This is heart-breaking when genius strikes, and bloody lucky when mediocrity jumps on the band wagon. If I have learned anything, it is that there is not one true pure wondrous kind of work that can be good enough to make its way in the world on it’s own, just by being brought into being. Even genius will need coaxing and support and someone else to believe in it and see a way to polish it and present it in a shiny box with a pricetag. This can also be wonderful because something that’s just pretty good can then take you out into the world and sustain you and keep itself going. But the flipside of this is that many brilliant things just won’t go anywhere. Let’s have a moment’s silence to mourn for those perfect lost souls.
It’s not easy to know what the problem is and when you think you’ve named the problem, it’s really not that simple to solve it. Sometimes it’s even difficult to let go of the idea that you’ve got a problem even when that problem has actually been solved already. I realize that part of my internal narrative (and I hate narrative) is that I have to say yes to the work because I don’t have very much money and it’s really difficult to work on stuff because I have no money so I need to say yes to work…. Now I’m by no means rolling in it, but now, particularly after the bounty of the Commonwealth Games, I have some stores of fat for the coming winter. Now the real difficulty comes – if nothing’s stopping me, then what’s stopping me?
And the main thing I guess I’m learning as I’m becoming more myself and getting used to what that might mean, is that there’s never really one solution. I probably won’t ever thrill to doing admin in a timely and completely organized manner., but maybe I’m slowly getting better at it and finding ways to trick myself into doing it. I might always need deadlines so I force out my ideas in a flurry of passion, but maybe I can find ways to make my own deadlines earlier than the final deadlines. It won’t ever be easy doing this artist thing and I don’t think I really want it to be, but I can find ways to make it easier to bear through building confidence and authenticity and slowly putting things in place that give “notions of fixity within this instability” as Bill Viola put it.
I know that Team Effort has been full of notions of fixity as well as friendship, a port in the storm, a place to be understood, a space to test myself out in, room to cry and not feel weird about that, a chance to moan and then find the reasons to be cheerful within that moaning or a new thought about the way out of the trouble. I hope to hold onto these lovely notions. Thanks, Team!