Journal October 2022

They also serve who stand and…

It has been some time since I wrote a journal piece so I thought I’d write a piece to explain why, The long and short of it is the news headlines but that it’s the whole story. At the end of last year my intention was to ditch my Twitter account and just focus on this website. Then I thought what about all my artists of the month which is the one feature that relies upon it for me to pick living artists whose work I like from the 500 odd followers I currently have there. I’d have to at least sign in to Twitter to find them and indeed to promote them by directing followers there to here. Within two weeks as the new year began I found myself bored without regularly popping into to my Twitter account and uninspired to do much artwork myself after the long slog of trying to do an artwork a day for 2021.

From February 2021 and we had storms like this last month.

I had intended to make art less of a chore from that and make it a fun thing to do again and so initially thought of doing quick daily sketches to keep up my skills without over burdening myself but soon discovered that even that was becoming more than I wanted to take on so that idea got abandoned. I was frankly worn out by all my efforts last year. I had taken on too much. Eventually I settled on switching to picking a media for each month and decided not to commit myself to do many but instead I chose to try to make what I did artworks that I spent time on. Frankly that hasn’t worked out too well either but for now I will endeavour to persevere.

Last year I had my briefest trip into psychosis ever and the aim has been this year to ensure I don’t let over commitment lead to another episode. During the winter months, as is my long standing habit now, I went into hibernation mode. When working in theatre the Pantomine season invariably got me through it til February and last year art had helped this year what I wanted to do most was write a novel. And it seems that writing has become my main interest and focus for 2022. That said I nearly had another encounter with psychosis so after starting my novel as my brain raced with ideas that were so fast and furious that there was no time to write then down. I had to take a break to sort it and have been so fearful of a recurrence that I have been reluctant to continue. The revelation I had early this year from my psychiatrist was that if I can avoid becoming overloaded, I can avoid becoming manic and thereafter psychotic. Why no one had pointed this out before I don’t know. Maybe they did and I hadn’t registered it. Regardless they could’ve said it more often if so.

I now have three creative stories on the go, two novellas and one full blown novel. The grim headlines have not helped with my motivation one bit as I’ve been feeling it inappropriate to continue creatively when with every inch of my being I feel I ought to be thinking an doing something more meaningful to try to help others. I have also been going through one of those phases where you feel everything you do is just rubbish so why bother as is common among artists. I still struggle with getting really expressive by drawing or painting, but writing for me frees me up to do just that. Then I remembered my tripped to York and the course I went on. Lesley Birch had said words to the effect of there is no point envying the talents of others or trying to acquire their skills. You are you and you’re are wired with unique abilities of your own, don’t fight it, got with it.

Pottery sadly has had to go on nigh on permanent hold as energy, fuel and food prices are all set to soar. In efforts to economise I’ve reduced my central heating to a bear minimum and been living in my dressing gown and trying to use as little lighting as possible along with reducing food intake and water consumption in the hope that such economies will help to sustain such basic luxuries. Then the war in the Ukraine started to herald the need for yet more economies to be made. So one way or another it has become a struggle for me to justify being an artist at all.

Thankfully the first warm sunshine came yesterday to lift my spirits. Now more than ever we need to cling onto the best of what it is to be human. For our morale, spiritual and mental well being we are at our best when being creative not destructive. Creativity helps us to record events and our responses to them that no amount of factual statements, news reports, debates and documentaries can. For myself I’m using artistic endeavour as a safe haven away from worldly troubles to leave others to far more deeply embroiled in them to record their experiences their way. We can only ever hope to record our own responses and experiences as we journey through life when all is said and done and we have a choice on what we pick out to record.

Artwork from May 2021

So I have concluded that for me it’s not down to what is worthy of mention because it is a historical fact but more a case of what is worthy of recording because it is me. Ultimately I have chosen the no less difficult task of trying to keep my morale up and to record what I can of my experience of living. People will always need something of hope to keep them going. No, I don’t feel guilty now for being indulging in my art now as I know I am not one to shy away from, ignore or be glib about the traumas that we each encounter as we journey through life. It is by what method we endure that must surely be worth sharing.

But really, wars on top of Covid, price hikes and Climate Change! What on Earth is the matter with our species that it should come to this. Food for thought I hope. Apparently we are to have a national day of reflection soon…

It is sunny again today. I am going on a walk… to prepare.