Monday, 28 February 2011

Art, Identity and Connectivity

A query trouble has come upon me. Reading part 2 of Rima Staines' insightful interview Around the Table, I find myself musing on how being an artist affects my connections with people.

In my last post I said that one of the reasons I blog is to discover new friends and to offer friendship out to the world. That is certainly true. What I am realising right now, in my solar plexus, is how in some cases this dive into my creatrix heart pulls me further from other areas of my life weave.

Choosing my side of the fence

There has to be sacrifice. As I allow the muse increasing control in my daily life (in between the obvious 'now I am doing art' bits), I am attracting beautiful, wonderful, inspirational people into my orbit. And, too, I am watching helplessly as other friends, also beautiful and wonderful and inspirational, spin out of my orbit, our hands outstretched in an attempt to regrasp even as we wave goodbye. 

 Signals in the dark
(Me in the middle)

I'm not talking about falling out with people, it is more subtle than that. Simply, perhaps, that as I become more definite about my shape I find I cannot tessellate, sit comfortably next to, people with whom I have shared space for years.
It is telling that these people are always on the fringes of my life. Those who are closest to my heart just crank up their magnetism to match mine and we are joined with greater strength.

So, in the midst of the joy which garnishes the days, I find a little hollow space for a lonely feeling as I let go of the people who can no longer recognise me for the friend they once met. I know this is okay, but I feel this is achey. 

 Always leaving someone behind
(Devon's Jurassic Coast)

And there is a question in me about who these peripheral, ephemeral friends were attracted to if not the real, creatrix me. It doesn't matter. It isn't quite me, so it doesn't quite work. 

Now I have paused and asked myself, Who are these people I'm writing about? What are their names? And the answers are not clear. It is more that I feel I have chosen this mountain to climb and I can see lots of people I think I would love to climb with on another mountain; I remember us all gathering at the feet of our lives and making choices. I didn't know (despite being told) that when I chose where to climb, who to follow, who to tie myself onto, I also chose who I would not meet again until we Hallooed from distant peaks. 

Myself and good friends
walking to Tyncornel Hostel 

I am lonely for all the people climbing a different mountain to me. There is space in my heart for everybody, but time in my life for so few, it seems.

Wherever you climb, may the view be worth it.

Wast Water 
Taken by my climbing partner Thomas Hine


  1. Lunar, I know what you're talking about, I really do. I have always thought of it as the path of the writer/musician because that's where the creative draw lies for me, but hearing you describe this firming up of identity and loss of periphery people and concerns is spot on to my experience.

    I was just thinking about the disconnect I feel with most people. I get really sad sometimes that I have only ever been nourished in social circumstances that involve direct creation or discussion about an artform. I have a very limited circle of people here, and these precious times are few and far between. I'm not sure that I would have the yearning and sharp sight that I find in my work if I was a social butterfly, though.

    I am absolutely devouring the artist series that you put up, I love Rima's work and I'm excited to hear her thoughts on being an artist and blogging. I'm thinking about writing something up myself.

    Happy Journey,

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Claire. Looking forward to hearing your write-up (if it manifests). I know there are artists out there who have one foot firmly planted in the maelstrom of fashion and flirting and frippery which (the media tell me) is the 'real world', but I have no idea how they do it. Or why.

  3. I think I might be one of those?......i'm not sure whether it's a firm foot, more like the odd toe, but the 'why' is easy.
    Aside from a love of working with the human body, be it ritual performance, theatre, depiction of 'self' through the lense or a fashion runway.
    It's my way of changing the world. This would be a very enthused blah about changing attitudes to what and how people cover themselves, how they dispose of it etc blah blah blah, but that would be digressing. It seems the pit falls and quandries of creativity are the same across the board.
    I abandoned blogging in favour of "real life" last year for a multitude of reasons and even abandoned internet at home. But your blog has inspired me to start again...reading your Small Stones reminded me that I had an urge to write!
    That I do what I do because I love people and communicating and words and pictures. Creativity (wonderful as it is)can be a solitary and sometimes lonely place. So now I am raising my glass and logging into my blog once again. Cheers x x

  4. I found this incredibly moving, Lunar and the beautiful honesty of this part in particular really struck a chord with me: "I didn't know (despite being told) that when I chose where to climb, who to follow, who to tie myself onto, I also chose who I would not meet again until we Hallooed from distant peaks" Isn't it funny how we can know but not really know all at the same time. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. I think I have known this a long time - which is why I never climb the mountain of my artistic self even beyond the foothills, or every really come down to the party on the valley floor.

    We have talked about what I mean by being a 'proper' artist before (never very good at finding the 'proper' word for this!), and why I wont become one - this is sort of what I mean. I cannot leave normality entirely, yet there is a hiraeth for the climb that pushes me back up the slope into the forest-line.

    It is lonely, being against the hegemony.

  6. You have said this so beautifully. I have a friend where we are orbiting each other just out of reach. It saddens me profoundly, yet I am unable to navigate there just now.
    I read this and thought perhaps that's it, I will have to wait until we reach our individual summits, and maybe we'll be able to grasp hands back at basecamp.
    Thank you for this.

  7. So beautifully expressed Lunar.

    I love the image of the weave of our lives...yet amidst the warp and weft of threads that go to make up that weave, an unfolding tapestry of the story of our life, there are times when some threads are not used anymore, or they are absent for a time only to reappear in the unfolding picture on the tapestry later.

    That they were in the tapestry at all is the true beauty of the piece, whether only a few flecks of colour or a foundation tone that runs through the whole piece. Not all threads and colours can be found throughout a weave.

  8. This is resonating with me, and its making me think, this is precisely why I am enjoying the blogging world, I see things written ina way I can relate to,I see art daily that makes my heart sing and my eyes boggle it enriches me in many ways and also helps me understand and shows me others points of views. Plus, I feel mostly I get the truth from people, I do feel in the real world that many many people lie at the drop of a hat, they are not willing to share much of themselves. It is so refreshing to share peoples truths, and to share mine.

  9. Thanks so much for all your comments, people. In between my work (i.e. non-childcaring)days I don't connect to the net and I've been worrying about this post, almost wishing I'd deleted it. Now I see this was partly because it made me quite vulnerable, but I am so warmly and gently received that vulnerability is an chance to stretch, take off a layer. Thank you.
    Angharad, that is excellent. I'll look forward to reading it. And I could join you in the rant about clothes.
    Julie, it seems I have spent my life not knowing what I've been told. We can say I'm bad at listening or that I prefer to learn from experience, but either way I am the queen of wheel reinvention!
    Ent, I do know what you mean. I believe it is the shaman in you always trying to find the balance to keep one foot in each world. You inspire me daily. x
    Thank you Lyra. All things pass, even the passing by.
    Beautifully expressed yourself Alice. You're so right - sometimes a whole tapestry is lifted by just a few threads of one colour. That is just how it is sometimes meant to be.
    Cranky Crone, thank you. It is my (maybe overblown) hope that us bods being a little bit brave and true here on the web will encourage bravery and truth in all parts of the world. Truth encourages truth. I believe much lying is about fear and feeling a need to protect oneself. If we are heartful and open, maybe someone will decide to risk telling us a truth instead of one of those easy lies which slippery out.


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