Monday, June 6, 2016

Stay Nervous

Excited thoughts of writing a blog post tonight were met equally with grandly anxious thoughts regarding how long it's been since I last wrote a blog post. This blog is far more sporadic these days, I don't keep the routine I used to tucked up in bed clacking away on the keys religiously each night. Now, it is maybe every third night, fourth night, week or month. It doesn't matter. My physical being continues to writhe with thoughts and sentences, they are just consumed by a lesser in numbers audience. When I have something to share farther or wider I do so and I move on. There's not so much rambling anymore, aimless points or shoots.

Instagram lately has even slightly lost its sheen for me, I don't know what it is - I think it too got too entwined in my routine, it became a task, bordering on an obligation. In light of this I need to make things more interesting for myself and my audience, whether the latter be dwindling or not. 'Lately' has been a patch of obligations and necessaries, mostly working part-time, making big decisions, very slowly venturing into adult territory. I think this patch has contributed to my lack of things to share or say online.

For the past 12 weeks I've been teaching two classes at Monash University. On top of that, working three days a week at my part-time job. I felt like I was working full time, and it drained a lot of my usual life out of me. I've done maybe one drawing and one collage over this time, and it hasn't been enough to satisfy me. My mind wanders at these points, to destructive and useless thought patterns. That I'm too old now to enjoy success, that I might not have anything more to offer creatively, what's the point, et al. I know these statements are blatantly untrue, but in a specific bubble they can appear clear and scathing.

To escape this bubble I convinced myself and subsequently my boyfriend that we should take a trip somewhere, Japan, maybe, as soon as humanly possible. I can spend some of my hard earned teaching cash and in the meantime have something other than my non-creativeness to fixate on. It's worked a treat and I wish I'd done it 1, 2, or 3 years ago. My last overseas trip was in 2012, which seems an enormous amount of time ago given that air travel and the rest is almost as accessible as a bus fare. I just always had an excuse not to. I didn't want to go alone, I had this project, or that, or an exhibition, or maybe something might come up, or maybe something might go wrong? I am a worrier. I digress. I've done it now. Booked the flights and accommodation that is. Bought a phrase book and wrote a list of all the places I want to go and see and take pictures and buy souvenirs. I can't wait to be a tourist again. To view everything in awe rather than in bore(dom), to come back feeling inspired and refreshed. That's the plan, anyway.

Last week I had a really nasty virus which caused me to have to spend a few successive days in bed. On the evening of one of those days I was required to go to an opening of an art prize I had been shortlisted for. Feeling massively under the weather I went with my Mum and boyfriend and I ended up winning the $5000 first prize. It felt like a dream, you know when they start talking about who has won before they tell you the name, and so they're describing my work and I realised it was me and walked in like slow motion, sniffing, onto the stage? I just felt like oh wow, winning something feels great - I've never actually won an art competition/prize before and it was really satisfying. So, I can't remember why else I bought this up other than to mention that it happened... but maybe as a little beacon amongst a rather stagnant phase of my creative existence detailed above.

Last night I was getting over my virus feeling a little sorry for myself still and my boyfriend came over and we watched Lost in Translation and it was great, you know, I forgot what it was like to get excited about something, like a place, and immerse yourself thoroughly in this thing until you get so excited you can hardly sit still. With excitement for me invariably comes nervousness, but I credit a degree of nervousness to getting me "where I am today" (Clearly I don't really know where that is exactly). Anyway, Penny Modra from The Good Copy had a T-shirt made of her mantra which is "Stay Nervous" and I love it and she's right.

I stay nervous quite easily as people are always asking me "What's next for you?" as if I have to say something really exciting, as if I have to one up myself again and again. Something is next but I've decided it's not going to come out in an inhumanly slight amount of time as my other projects have tended to. I'm going to work, and breathe in between. I shouldn't be staying nervous about running out of time to work, but staying nervous about running out of time to breathe. I'll always keep a reasonable balance of both, I just do the former automatically and the latter I need a few reminders and a little bit of encouragement. Baby steps. Baby steps 8,254 kilometres across the ocean. :)

Collage by me commissioned for the cover of the Winter issue of Imprint magazine.

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