I Write Because…

I’ve recently found the email courses on the WordPress Daily Post blog, which you can visit here; I started this blog at the end of last year, and I’ve managed to keep it updated weekly for a whole year! Writing and blogging has actually become something of a minor obsession for me; I have always been a compulsive list maker, and can even admit to having copied lists out again when they got too crossed out and scribbled on (I call it ‘updating’); and I am completely obsessed with stationery, being unable to walk into any shop without browsing (buying) notebooks, pens, pencils etc.

But when I started exploring my own ideas and practice in more depth on the Artist Teacher Scheme, I suddenly felt compelled to start writing again; I mean proper writing, like I did as a teenager at school and university, working on essays and keeping a diary and doodling in the margin. Pencils (pencils!) and notebooks and highlighter pens. I think that at the moment I am going through such a massive period of growth both professionally and personally that the only way to stop my head from exploding is to let some of it out onto paper, write it down so I don’t forget it and I can come back to it, write it down so I know it isn’t lost forever.

I love the physical act of writing longhand; I am mesmerised by the regular rhythmic movement of my hand as it progresses across the page; I love the shapes of the words and I marvel that my brain and hand working together can produce these same shapes again and again and again. I recall how my handwriting has changed and evolved over the years as I have grown and matured. I am obsessed with the physical process; I have filmed my hand writing and made audio recordings of the sound of the pencil moving across the page.

My art work takes its starting points from memory, personal narrative, the persistence of identity; I am fascinated by the philosophical paradox of self – what makes me uniquely me? how come I am still the same person that I was 20 years ago? how is it that physically, my brain looks much like everyone else’s, but my thoughts, dreams, likes, dislikes etc are uniquely mine? I attempt to express the processes, both mental and physical, that I am exploring and trying to capture. Writing has become part of that process of self-exploration and self-discovery.

I write only because

There is a voice within me

That will not be still.

Sylvia Plath

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Show & Tell

Yesterday was the first session of the second phase of the Artist Teacher Scheme. We met at the School of Art in Margaret Street, and looked at the MA final show before sitting down in the basement to share some of our 100 pieces of work and talk.

I’m still attempting to get my head round what it is that I’m trying (struggling) to express, and I have no idea where I’m going with this, or what my practice will look like when I finally manage to locate it… all I can say is that I feel like an avalanche has been released in my brain (not that it was an tidy and uncluttered place beforehand) and I am frantically trying to capture thoughts and ideas and write stuff in my notebook and record things, and try to find ways to record things I’ve never even thought about before – trying to catch hold of it all before it is carried off like a wisp of smoke in the wind.

This afternoon I suddenly decided to wallpaper a large piece of packing cardboard that has been sitting in my living room for several weeks. Don’t ask me why. I don’t even know what I’m going to do with the bloody thing when I’ve finished it – it’s actually too big to fit anywhere. I am veering between amused exasperation with myself, and a niggling sensation that this is something to do with the emergency blanket piece that I’m trying to make for Sketchbook Circle. It’s about the physical manifestation of the process, the idea that it was inside me all along and all I had to do was look… or something.

Something below the surface is fidgeting to be let out, and all of a sudden that doesn’t frighten me. All of a sudden I think I want to take a look.