Tuesday, 4 August 2009


I often wonder why I go through these periods of being more visual, then cycling back again to writing again? In the past, when I was relatively guilt free, it was easier to free-wheel these periods of creative flux. Now that I am increasingly aware of time’s elastic growing taut I worry at my own lack of sticking power.

I wonder if some frenzied, over stimulated part of my brain simply wants a rest? I imagine it steaming away like a broken television (of the old cathode ray variety), while another rested area of the brain takes over for a while. I generally feel less emotional, more reflective and neutral when I draw. I can listen to talk radio, music, songs, words, I can listen to conversation, I feel generally more happy when I’m doing something visual than when I’m writing, then I need silence; I’m tense, fraught, the slightest noise winds me up (though noise in general, other people’s noise, tends to wind me up). I guess it must be those opposing halves of the brain having a different effect on my behaviour.

On Sunday afternoon and evening I enjoyed giving into this impulse to draw. While listening to the Cricket I worked on my pen and ink drawing, and then I drew a little outside. At the top of our garden, where the shed and garage used to be is a raised platform of grey and brittle concrete. Dad dismantled both shed and garage about 20 years ago, when he made the garden gates. I remember how we found a family of dead rats crushed beneath the shed after it had fallen, their feet sticking out from under the rubble, perfectly clean and pink, like victims of a bomb blast.

A few years ago the people who own the houses that were built (again, about 20 years ago) at the bottom of our garden planted conifers up against the dividing fence. These have grown and now their roots are breaking up our concrete. Weeds and grass spurt up in the cracks, eroding the concrete even further. It’s annoying, but also the textures of the aging, mossy, slowly decomposing concrete has its beauty. I enjoyed making a few small drawings of them and the old flower pots that have become abandoned up there over the years, where only dandelions and weeds flourish.
The roots edging their way into our garden, crumbling the edges, seems an oddly appropriate metaphor. Thoughts too have their way of impinging on peace of mind (the territory of composure). It’s difficult to fend off these subtle intrusions. Perhaps the best medicine for my fretting and anxiety is simply to draw or write the blues away.

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