Secret Messages

I’ve been reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a book about living a creative life. Something that I have neglected over the past three years or so.

I could put it down to the pressure of a more senior role, additional responsibilities at home, low mood or just slowing down (I’m at a difficult age, but aren’t we all?). The truth is I haven’t recently enjoyed good creative pastimes. It’s been too long.

Gilbert writes about just doing what you can. And what you want to do. Right now I’m not sure, so I looked for the closest things to hand and found my tile set and colouring pencils.

For now I’m going to indulge myself with some low effort and basic art. I mean really basic. I was advised not to take art in my junior school and I can’t say that my drawing skills have improved since…

But what do I do with the finished article? Pin it on the wall? Give it to a friend or family member?

Remember, I’m doing what I want. I don’t feel the need to adorn my walls with my masterpieces. I don’t want to witness the disappointment on the face of a loved one at the thought of yet another hand-made card.

I want to pass this onto a stranger. They can keep it for fun for as long as they like. They can pass it on. They can throw it in the bin. But they will see it. However briefly.

With this in mind my first tile (and possibly many more) will be left within the pages of a book in a charity shop.

I had a song playing in head at the time.

And here it is. In all it’s childish glory:

“Ambition and love wearing boxing gloves and singing hearts and flowers” Somewhere In My Heart (Aztec Camera)

For now this will do. I can return to the dressmaking, silk painting, piano playing, song writing, etc soon enough.

I’ve added my wordpress page link since taking the photos. If you find it, please let me know.

MinG

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Impossible Exchanges: Woman at the Supermarket

Fear Of The Lord

It was just another ordinary Wednesday. I had popped into our local supermarket on my way to work to buy lunch. I was just about to leave the lobby area when I heard a haunting voice warning about “the storms”.

The anxiety in the voice was clear and I would normally have feigned deafness and quickened my step towards the safety of my car. This time I glanced to my right. The voice was that of woman, about my age, huddled over what I assumed to be a baby, telling it of her fears.

“The storms are coming. They will be bad. We all need to take cover”.

The baby, on closer inspection, turned out to be a holdall, and as our eyes met, I knew instantly that the forecast snow was the least of her problems. This is definitely the point where I should have produced an awkward smile and headed for sanctuary.

I was on my way to work.

I had deadlines.

My parents warned my about talking to strangers.

She was talking to herself.

She was shouting at passers-by.

What if she had a knife?

I had pressing deadlines.

I wouldn’t normally do this.

I walked towards her.

I sat down on the bench, next to the holdall.

“Oh I don’t think it will be that bad. The media like to whip up a story when there’s no real news.”

She didn’t mean the snow. She knew about the snow. That would pass. Her storms were beyond measurement by Beaufort. She asked me my name.

I lied. “Jennifer”.

Her name was Jennifer too and she was 47. My age. She said, that despite appearances, she wasn’t homeless and thanked me for not patronising her with the offer of a cup of tea or coffee. Besides, both were evil in her eyes. Poison. She came to the store daily to pass on her warnings. Messages from a higher place. People normally ignored her, but she could see that I believed her. Believed.

There was a pause as we took each other in. We aware of only each other and our reflections in the perfect plate-glass which surrounds the lobby and shielded us from the biting wind.

“I don’t know if I believe. What are the storms?”

Ignoring me, Jennifer outlined her life so far. She came from a caring family and had left school with a good education. She worked in insurance for over twenty years, then set up as an independent financial advisor. She lived alone in the centre of the town, in a lovely apartment overlooking the park. She avoided her neighbours. They were self-centred, media obsessed retail junkies and worthless.

“They must have some good qualities”.

Giving me a piercing stare, Jennifer reminded me that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

“Yet it was the basis of your career for so long. It provided for you and I expect it helped you buy your apartment?”

Jennifer said that this contradiction fuelled her inner storm. She did not live a life of excess, enjoyed the simple things, but could not let go of her comforts bought by dubious means.

“But you were providing a service to people. Products that they wanted for their own security”.

To satisfy their greed, to provide false hope, to protect them from their own stupid actions when they should be more responsible. Consequences are lessons to be learned. Many forms of insurance are just self-denial. They allow fools to continue unchecked. The weak and the meek couldn’t or wouldn’t buy this illusion, and the fools prosper.

She paused. Financial products make money from money, not from honest hard work. No materials. No finished product. There was no craft in what she had done. The storms were coming and I had to prepare myself.

“Where are the storms?”

Inside you.

“Storms of the mind? Of the soul?”

Precisely. I had to choose. To continue my apathetic existence, surrounded by and feeding greed and ignorance. Or to fight against it. I had to choose. Just as she had chosen.

“But have you? You still have your apartment. How does that fit with the storms?”

She said nothing.

I looked to the floor, thinking about my own house, career, car, possessions, savings. My world, in financial and material terms. I had not come by them through craft. Arguably I had used skills, but those skills had built increasingly efficient systems to put hundreds, perhaps thousands, out of work. My path had been similar to Jennifer’s.

I looked up. She had gone.

All that was left was my own reflection in that perfect, spotless, plate-glass.

MinG

Endless Impossibilities…

The most recent post from the blogging101 course has probably been the most inspirational one for me. I have enjoyed the various exercises, but I felt that my blog was lacking direction. I knew that I had things to say but I wasn’t sure exactly what and why. What would I write? And why would people continue to follow and read?

The idea of building in a regular feature, filled me with dread. How could I keep that up? What common theme? But the suggestion of looking at what had brought the most positive responses gave me a “eureka” moment.

 

I was so excited in the car hat I started talking to myself, and selling myself the idea.

 

This might only be based upon limited feedback (I don’t have many followers), but it created that spark which had eluded me for the past week or so. The inspiration came from an earlier post : Dear Sweet Impossible You.

My theme is “Impossible Conversations” (this is a working title and may change). The basis is a series of conversations that have not taken place and, for various reasons, just cannot. They might be:

  • A discussion with a person who I only met briefly, but who I found inspiring and/or interesting in some manner;
  • A conversation with an inanimate object;
  • A tribute and response to and from someone who has touched my life without our paths ever crossing;
  • How I imagine a chat with an animal would be if we could have such an exchange;
  • What I might learn from a tree or building who had seen their surroundings change.
  • A meeting with someone special who has left my life.

There are endless possibilities, and I find the idea of blending a real encounter or experience with fiction to create an impossible exchange that could have been.

I’ve started work on that first conversation…

 

More later,

MinG