Memory, dogs, sculptures and chainsaws

Sunday 24 August 2008

Ever since I was ill with chronic fatigue syndrome, my memory hasn't been so good. Now, my memory has never been all that great, and I suppose five years of smoking 10 bongs a week may have contributed to its worsening. But it's been markedly worse since the whole CFS deal. This doesn't make much sense when you call what I had chronic fatigue syndrome (that is the stupidest, most insulting name ever invented). If you call it myalgic encephalomyelitis, however, it sounds much more likely that a condition involving years of brain inflammation, and neurological messings, will have contributed somehow to this problem. Or maybe I'm just getting older :)

This ponderance about short-term memory makes me think. (Which is good, as long as I realise I'm going to forget that I did, heh :) In some ways, a not-so-great short term memory is a good thing for someone who still harbours hopes that she will actually write and complete something at some point in her life that is not a blog post (nothing personal, darlings :) I remember reading a quote somewhere about writers and compost, about how all the stuff that moves out of our direct memory goes down into that compost and becomes writing fertilizer. My inner Grandma really likes that - what a practical way of recycling my thoughts into something creative :) Coolies :)

Yesterday I took myself off for an artist date. I have begun reading Julia Cameron's successor to The Artist's Way. It's called Walking in this World. I really enjoy her style. One of the things I am agreeing to do while reading this book is to have a weekly artist date. An hour-long date alone, to do things that are festive or that feed my creativity. Because sheesh, the well has been feeling bone dry of recent weeks; it needs refilling. These artist dates are something I struggle with massively. I feel so resistant towards them, which is such a strange thing. Why feel resistant at something that feeds me, that drips down into my days ahead, that renews my focus? I was thinking maybe it was just me that had such major problems with this set playtime, but there must have been a lot of feedback for Julia to write about these dates that their importance should not be denied even though the resistance flourishes. "Resist your resistance," she advises. The ways I will try to sabotage my own creativity never cease to amaze me. What is it? Is it a fear of creativity's power? Or is it, as Cameron suggests, that not facing our creativity means that we don't have to face ourselves? Perhaps that is all it comes down to, and perhaps that is why there must be some sort of ebb and flow in a creative life. I have been facing so much of my own stuff of recent times, there must be days and weeks where the inward gaze stops, or I shall go mad. Or perhaps not even so much the inward gaze - how do you live a life without being aware of what is going on inside you? That's abdication - but more the inward discovery, the realisation of certain unattractive proclivities you have. That is a wonderful thing to have happen, but it is exhausting, and I think there has to be wisdom in the looking and the timing. Like I mentioned at Kent's place yesterday, the ways the Great Creator unravels our stuff is an art form in itself. It's just exhausting, that's all. There needs to be breaks inbetween for rejuvenation.

And so yesterday I took myself off to Gasworks Art Park, after being reminded of it on the telly the other night. This place has been converted from an old gasworks site into a bit of a creative hub. The old buildings have been recreated into about 12 different studios that sit around the outside. Nice red brick buildings they are. Kind of look like stables. On the inside of the site is an off-leash dog park. This place combines two of my favourite things, creativity and dogs, and the combination - even without any directly observed creativity, except the sounds of some sort of chainsaw or such tool from the sculptor's studio - was enough to put a bit of a spring in my step. Creativity fosters creativity the way yeast fosters yeast or hate fosters hate. What organic creatures we are.

I was thinking whilst driving to the park (thank you, Graeme, for changing my tyre) about an idea for a new blog I've got swirling around. Thought I could loosely document different dog-friendly places I visit around Melbourne. The name came to me, seemingly out of the blue: Not Without Lester. Yeah, that sounds alright. Might try that.

Got to the park and began walking and came upon the sculpture that graces the eastern side of the park. Lester barked at it, as he usually does, but it was pretty much bluster, as it often is. Took some happy snaps of the sculpture, thinking that it would be nice for my new blog. Then looked at the name. The sculpture is called Not Without Chomley.

Obviously I remembered that somehow, from last year when I visited this park and read the scupture's name then, while Lester barked at it. But I'd forgotten it, at least in my conscious memory.

Which is kinda cool, I guess. I ... what was I saying?


  1. My memory is not what it used to be. But I don't remember what it used to be, either. :S
    I couldn't resist buying a magnet that now has pride of place on my fridge. It reads:
    My mind wanders. Sometimes it leaves me completely.

  2. AW... how cute, maybe that would be a good blog name, sounds good to me lol.

    And I have to give you a more insulting medical term. After my third miscarriage, the doctor spoke into his little tape recorder that I was a "habitual aborter."

    Dang, now that is callous. Here I wanted to have a baby worse than anything, lost three within 9 months and he is calling me something that sounds like I went down to a clinic and did it on purpose!

    It's also bad to be pregnant and over 35. Then they call it "senile gravida" which sounds like it means "old and fat" to me....

  3. the ways the Great Creator unravels our stuff is an art form in itself. It's just exhausting, that's all. There needs to be breaks inbetween for rejuvenation.

    Sue, wonder if there are rejuvenating breaks inbetween given by our most patient Great Creator and we just miss them because we are so hard on ourselves and are exhaustingly focused on the end product?

  4. Barbara - hehe :) Cool magnet. I like the idea of the mind wandering away completely, actually :) A nice respite

    Tyler - habitual aborter, senile gravida. The medical profession, wedded to the Latin language, maketh for a whole lot of disgruntled consumers of medical treatment (which is good, you know - keeps the coffers flowing. Oh, dear. That's a bit cynical, isn't it :)

    Kent - yeah, what I actually meant was "it's just exhausting, that's all and therefore there needs to be breaks inbetween" Thankfully there are :) That's part of the Great Creator's artistic unravelling, I think. It's pretty good timing. (When I'm relaxed into that, though. That's the hard bit :)

  5. ooh, thanx for sharing the artist date, i loved doing them as part of Artist's Way

    now it's just a way of life (mostly) for me, and i know if I don't feed the inner kidlet, creative spirit, it will shrivel and get mighty cross with the world around her

    how cool about that "not without" compost surfacing... sounds like a cool idea, and one that might even generate some pocket money through adsense click throughs from people interested in doggy things

    wysiwyg, my blog-a-dog, says go for it!

  6. Kel - that is interesting that you said you loved doing artist dates. I love the idea, I love them while I'm doing them, I love them even more after I have done them. And yet before, a day or two before, there is that resistance. It's very strange. Did you have that?

    Pocket money - that's an idea. I'd probably be more inclined to use adsense over there. I wouldn't use it here. For me that would be like shitting in my own bedroom :) LOL

  7. i don't remember resisting artist dates, i remember resisting some of the exercises from Artist's Way, but not the play dates :)

    re adsense, i reckon it depends on the intent of your visitors, I used to have it on xfacta, for the huge volume of traffic I was getting from my original "seashell" photos, which have ranked #1 in Google image searches for the past few years.

    Figured since they were coming in and stealing my original photography, the least they could do was click through to ads about seashells and earn me a few cents each time. Now several sites have swiped my photo and my number one google ranking with it, so for me adsense doesn't make sense anymore

    I don't think it's a bad thing to earn income from creative endeavours - it's tough to do, but it's not bad ;-)

  8. Yeah, I must say I haven't considered the adsense thing before ... feels a bit dirty to me, you know? But who knows, I might do it :)

    Earning income from creative endeavours? Does such a thing happen?

  9. you can earn income from creative endeavours, maybe not enough to live on without a "day job" or maybe more than enough to live on in the case of music artists . . .


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