Someone pointed out to me last night that things are dark around this blog at the moment… they do seem that way! it’s important to note again that this blog is not an autobiographical journal of my life. And when i do write about my own life, it’s almost always in retrospect. things are good here. Mostly anyway. Though i am convinced this advent actually is darker than normal, and not just for me.
I have, however, been on a desperate search for new inspiration. My job is changing shape at the beginning of next year, and i’m at an awkward ‘finished and not yet begun’ point with much of my work. We have been trying to create a balance in the new position which will mean that i continue to do some of the creative parts of my job – I’d agreed with the board that this was important, because i know that the imaginative stuff is fun, and it makes me want to come into work each day. What this last few weeks has reminded me is that I actually need the projects in which i use my imagination, in order to know how to do the other stuff i do which doesn’t need imagination. None of my brain seems to work if i’m not using part of it to push beyond what i already know. I have to use my imagination, even in order to be able to do things that don’t require imagination.
I’m heading to Hobart for a couple of days next week, to put some flesh on the bones of an event I hope to run next year, which will be a space for people to rekindle their own imaginations… and I’m also putting some space into thinking about Lent next year – the current idea is a weekly space, called Relent. I feel ridiculously excited about both these things. And this afternoon i’m heading back into the prison to begin preparing there for Christmas – always a favourite part of my work.
And in the interim, as part of my search for inspiration, I’ve been watching Andy Goldsworthy’s Rivers and Tides. It has a lot of gasp-out-loud moments – for sheer beauty, of course, but also because of the unexpected moments of resonance. I actually cried this morning while watching an excerpt where he was making a sculpture of sticks that hung like a cobweb from a tree, while talking about fragility: When I make a work I often take it to the edge of its collapse. It’s a very beautiful balance. As if on cue, the wind came up around him. He desperately tried to hold the cobweb together, but it disintegrated completely, and its beauty, made possible only because he was willing for it not to last, disappeared and became simply a pile of sticks.