So today I have been busy painting and mark-making in my artist books, and listening to a podcast on Radio 4 entitled ‘What does it mean to be me?’.
Yesterday, browsing in the Oxfam bookshop, I found a copy of my first undergraduate philosophy text book, ‘An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis’ by John Hospers. I came home and ordered copies of Jean Paul Sartre’s Roads to Freedom trilogy. I have been dipping in and out of ‘Western Philosophy: An Anthology’, which arrived from Amazon last week, and I am continuing to read T S Eliot. I seem to have come full circle and be revisiting my undergraduate university education. Strange (or not?) that I didn’t appreciate it at the time, didn’t bother to read too deeply or think too hard; I wanted a lifestyle experience, and now, having had lots of lifestyle experiences, one of which nearly ended in disaster, I am back at the books and on my personal road to freedom.
The artists’ books seem to be a good place to try and explore what I’m trying to say; I’m still feverishly scribbling away in my notebook – ideas, quotes, thoughts, and the intuitive, gestural marks I have made in my hand-made books seem to echo some kind of written script. Interestingly, although I love to write in pencil in my notebook, the writing I did in my artist book felt more comfortable in ink. The use of the dip pen and india ink seemed to mirror the loose, intuitive style of the paint marks I had put down previously, embracing the relinquishing of control. The fragments of ideas, thoughts and quotes sit alongside the fragments of paintings and drawings.
Fragments, half-forgotten thoughts, ideas, quotes, the fleeting nature of personal experience, personal identity, memory, making thought visible. All (some) of the detruitus which makes up the unique experience of what it means to be me.