At home, I sit down to sculpt, but I keep falling in love with my armatures and have trouble covering them with clay. Does anyone else get this, where the first gestural lines are so pure, you fear to go beyond them?
I like beginnings and endings, but oh god the middle part of everything is difficult. It takes slowness and more trust in one's hands and the world than I usually have.
Someone I've worked for for ages took me under his wing this year after I showed him a few maquettes, decided to teach me more formally. I've been going to the studio weekly on the quiet, making studies. I'll be helping others do the same next year.
I quit my editing job - it was robbing me of words, flattening my language to its needs, crowding my head, and eating all my time away. And the pay wasn't much good. Since I quit, all the sleepless nights of the past two years have caught up to me. I'm tired all the time, and find it even harder than usual to go among people, to talk. I don't open my mouth much at all with strangers. But my thoughts are my own again - sometimes my feral little brain fulgurates with ideas, and it feels good, so good. Excitement comes in sudden tremendous gusts, often followed by a kind of sleepy despair at another day passing with nothing of my own made. I guess I'm still re-calibrating. It'll take a little while to regain strength.
I think I was brave once. But I'm scared of everything now. Marks on paper. Words. Hurting people. Damaging things. Scared I'll do the wrong thing. Over the years, I seem to have retreated.
It's not all bad though. I've developed some new habits. For one, I spend a lot of time reading about perfume. I like how crazy people go over smells, how intensely they respond, how convoluted their mental images and associations are. In general, I enjoy descriptions of things I have no experience of. I hate how most perfume smells, but reading about it is fun. Sometimes, when I'm convinced something might be interesting and not too unpleasant, I go into a shop and try it. It's like going to the theater for me, and I like having read about it beforehand, so I have this cloud of other people's impressions hovering about my head.
People often say that scents evoke whole scenes for them, and describe them in great detail. Having never experienced this before, I felt a little skeptical - after all, people are prone to waxing exceedingly florid and exaggerating somewhat when they talk about things they hold dear.
So there I was on a very hot day indeed, a rare day off, and I decided it might be good to sniff something i'd been curious about for a while before making my way to the botanical gardens, where I hoped to check out the fernery. The description promised woods and earth and incense, which didn't sound too bad. So off I went, and the lady spritzed me, and I cringed - in the sunburnt heat, the stuff smelled like a tar pit. Oh well, I shrugged and ambled off to the gardens. While I walked, clouds began to mass, and by the time I was in the fernery, admiring their lygodium specimens, fat sunlit droplets began to fall, faster and faster until the whole place was being drenched by luminous downpour. Something incredible happened then - as the soil released its petrichor, the perfume that had fallen flat and dormant on my skin and clothes suddenly seemed to rise and unfurl to linger in the cooling, humid air. I could almost see an old, tall conifer forest shoot up through the ground around me, together with the remains of an abandoned Eastern Orthodox church, in the mossy remains of which someone had come to pay respects, and burned bitter frankiscence. The ghost of this forest (maybe even The Forest) hung about me for the rest of the day.
While this hasn't persuaded me to start owning and wearing perfume, I might laugh about other folks' deranged descriptions of mental images evoked by scent in a more understanding, less cynical manner.
So, I'm genuinely curious. Do any of you have a strong, transporting response to any smells (not necessarily perfumery)?
Listening to: "Wildwood" by Seeming
Reading: Wislawa Szymborska's poems
Drinking: Sweet, strong black tea