Thursday, September 8, 2016

Prejudice and discrimination.

Straight off the bat you might think I'm going to go off and add to the demonisation of these words... which might in itself, that start, show off my own prejudice within my own expectation of how I might decide you are coming to this post.

I suppose then, in the above instance, I could be illustrating why prejudice and discrimination are problematic and it's therefore easier to just bannerise these poor words without giving them the time and the space they might actually require.

I love prejudice and discrimination! (How's that for an opening? Throw your half empty coffee cup at the screen right now... and leave disgusted!)

noun: prejudice; plural noun: prejudices

preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

noun: discrimination; plural noun: discriminations
the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.

What has brought this up for me is one or two friends I've been talking to over the past few days who shared what for us, in hindsight, was growing up as a minority... except then it might have been a racial minority but now we don't really say such things as that and what we say is cultural minority though that doesn't work either because way back then, living and going to school in South Auckland, we were all part of that culture so even then cultural minority didn't apply unless one really went big and used the appellation in regard to the whole of New Zealand and the comparisons became economic stratifications...

So what it was is that we were white kids within a culture of predominantly darker skinned kids, see how difficult this is? What actual descriptive terms am I allowed to use?

The thing is that, and this comes through with quite a few, but by no means all, these people of Euro descent I now come across from the old days, is that it wasn't at all about measured differences at all and just surviving in what ever way seemed to be the best way to just keep surviving... and having fun.

And while I was talking to one of these old friends I even told a story where I went to Art School and the first month or so I felt uncomfortable and I couldn't figure out why until I eventually realised I hadn't actually spent so much time, day after day, just in the company of white people.

The thing was, I think, that we learned, without thinking about it, that prejudice was required to a certain degree (while at the same time we didn't even know prejudice was even a word) except it had to be held fairly lightly and one had to discriminate very quickly. What that means is that situations and circumstances could change all the time and you had to be fluid, you had to weigh up situations quickly and then live by those decisions... until things changed.

To that extent survival, if things got hot, depended somewhat on not being extreme in ones prejudices whereby one was overly positive or overly negative... that would get you into trouble. And with all that said the colour of ones skin was never more than a surface treatment. Far more important things came up first as instinctive and intuitive decisions had to be made.

Like one day you might be down in Mangere Bridge and at a house where the family were Maori but the father had been in some government job for decades and they lived in a much better house than you did and they introduced you to cheese spread out of a jar bought at the supermarket but then the next day you'd be on the other side of the mountain where the shade cooled out the house for most of the day, and be with another new friend you'd met at cubs, and their house would be run down and full of just washed clothes with a bunch of semi-pulled apart cars littering the section and learning how to shoplift down the local dairy and this boy would have blonder hair than you did.

It was just this big huge melting pot of difference, and yes, there were fairly obvious differences though they simply weren't differences that counted, and you just couldn't be prejudiced but then at the same time you needed to have some prejudice available in case it could be thrown up as a point of difference, a uniqueness to make things interesting. Yes, you did see prejudice, as we now like to call it, except you didn't 'look' at that. You 'looked' for anger and problems and the colour of ones skin had nothing to do with that... though of course it actually did.

Discrimination then became a life line. You needed absolutely to discriminate, to be discriminating. Again it had nothing to do with the colour of ones skin... it was the edges that counted, What was underneath and around the edges? What was the emotional underpinning, what seethed and boiled if anything? Was a smile at a joke hung on difference loaded or authentic?

Because what you did learn fairly quickly was that when situations might get tense it was often that this minority which you were supposedly a part of made you the representative of the majority you weren't actually a part of at all except, by default, simply because of the colour of your skin you became.

So yeah, I've had these few chats with white people who shared the same basic upbringing that I had and we're prejudiced as fuck, certified card carrying members of not even giving the bastards any chance to be anything other than what they obviously are... that surface details don't matter but they give you clues as in what kind of shit might be hidden and under what cloaks... or not.

Do I resent ever being part of what ever supposed minority I might or might not have been a part of given whatever circumstances were in progress that used such definitions to define what might be prejudicial? Fuck no, that'd be stupid and take away some of the fun. 'Cause in the end once you've figured out the possible use of prejudice and discrimination it, they, are a useful set of tools to get one more orientated, aligned as it were, to having fun and being interesting, and that, as far as I can tell, has absolutely nothing to with colour, gender, money or anything fucking stupid like that... while at the same time somehow being all about it. It's then nothing to do with what it is but what you might do with it that counts... in my book anyway.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Progress is hypocrisy in action.

I had something happen last week, I think it was last week, where somewhat out of the blue I was invited back to an old haunt. I had said to someone that this would eventually happen, to which they had doubts, but it was one of those things that just felt inevitable though in this case somewhat akin to unfinished business.

And that made sense simply in how the invite was couched. As in like come back and start at the bottom, which I didn't answer except I did say I would surely come back in for a chat at the least. Because, for me, there are things I'd quite like to do and in this regard theres a possibility of investment in that so I'm more than willing to offer my side of what might be a round of bargaining.

In the meantime I tied up again some old strings left dangling and with that reviewed a little of what said old haunt was up to and made a seemingly innocuous comment... boom! Door closed. Oops, but then again, not really oops as I'd tweaked an emotional edge got a reaction and realised nothing hew had happened so the whole thing would have been a waste of time anyways.

Then, just the other day, someone gets all upset about an attack on something cherished and new and goes mad, as in angry this and that and then this and then that, and again I'm like bloody emotions, they can be a pain in the ass.

Now I've nothing against emotions per se except when the owners of said emotions are victimising themselves with their own emotional outbursts and basically using such to blame the world for all their own unresolved problems.

And this leads to one of the things I say quite often now which is that when people are irrational then no amount of rationality is going to make any difference especially, it seems, and this is something I've encountered recently, these people who have these emotional outbursts seem to enshroud their denial in being all for critical thinking... weird.

But then again I don't really care that much and instead of trying to push my own ideas of what might be going on I turn things around and wonder why I might feel a need to offer what I think are either answers or a better set of questions to address whatever any emotional outburst is actually sitting on top of. To that end it's like feeling the magnetism within any outer shows of emotions which seem to be irrational and then feeling whether these outbursts are setting off little echoes in me so I can dig down deeper into myself and uncover any little pots of my own gold.

I still like intellect though and maybe that's about all the years I've spent meditating and being able to quiet my mind not to the extent that it's an enemy worth vanquishing but that being able to isolate the intellect and then feel around it's edges for attachments to emotionality has somehow honed the abilities with intellect I might have. It's not that it's suddenly so much better so much that it's possibly a little more refined.

Trouble is though that even this seems problematic in the sense that so many people seem to ride the unbroken horses of their emotionality that even being rationally unencumbered, not completely of course, seems to be a threat a lot of people can smell from ages away and start fighting even before the lines of the cage are even drawn.

What I do find though is that hypocrisy seems to be the defining gesture. An unrecognised hypocrisy which seems entirely obvious to me yet seems to be entirely oblivious to the people who brandish it alike their own form of nationalism and patriotic fervour... weird.

Me, I love my hypocrisies, and often go in search of deeper and more vital inconsistencies... they are the emulsifiers of my existence, hypocrisy is that ingredient which allows the disparity of oil and water to mix and have the best of each doing their work together.

But out there in the world there seems to be nothing worse, nothing more demeaning of post modernist development and progress, than hypocrisy. Yet, if theres anything the whole world swims in it is hypocrisy except it's always outside... never can it be inside.

That seems then the catch 22, if I even remember what a catch 22 is (so I better google it) but before I do that I'll speculate... it is the point at which disparity must be faced. "a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions."

So it is then pretty much what I thought it was except I see it as something to be embraced whereas the accepted meaning is it is something to be avoided at all costs. 

Now I come to my own catch 22 and there was a quote a few years ago I read but alike I usually do I just read it, took it on board but forgot about the details of who said it and what was specifically said. The gist of it was though that some enlightened dude said that once you are enlightened you know completely and utterly that such cannot be explained but that the whole and inexplicable reason for having attained enlightenment is to try and do so.

Even then, at the supposed heights of human achievement, what do we find? Hypocrisy.

At this point I think I'll go right back to the beginning, not of my life, but this post. Why? 'Cause I like intellect.

So we have an attack or a defense of something and let's say it's an intellectual stance yet the attack/defense is powerfully emotional. This power, then, which underlines the intellect is drawn from the emotion. This then is the obvious clue. Power.

Therefore, I'm bored now and I want to rap this up, any display of power is hypocrisy in action and what may define it as useful or otherwise is the order to which it is recognised or not.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Train spotting for Grizzlies.

In recent years I've found that the novels I've read and really like are hard work at the beginning and I've learnt that, hopefully, quite quickly though who knows how many really good books I gave up on simply because they were hard work to begin with.

But I'm supposing that if you are taught to write, to make it a way of having a living, then it'd be all about hooking the reader, baiting them right off the bat so they become willing participant in their own catch. So right there is that fishing analogy... with a little side order of clubbing the prey into submission too.

Pop songs too are about hooks and being catchy. Seems just about all our efforts in one way or another allude back to those good ol' days of hunting and gathering. And how long ago was that?

Fifty thousand years ago? Twenty thousand? Sure enough though it was a very, very long time ago and was it such a huge game changer, a complete and utter paradigm shift, that we have so imprinted it upon ourselves that we really have no choice but to look at things that way?

So going back to these books that were really good it was usually a combination of getting my head around the writers set of perspectives whilst often also about setting up a complicated set of circumstances in which the story could unfold. And if that was a form of fishing it would be maybe something like Ice fishing where the set up to even do it in a modicum of comfort required quite a bit of advance planning and setting up and even once all that's done then it wasn't really about catching anything, though I suppose that might be a bonus, so much as a meditative and quiet time to slow things down and percolate in ones own intellectual juices.

Whereas the other extreme end of this fishing thing, this hooking of legless reptiles who still retain their primordial guise, is something like a river when the fish are spawning and some old grizzly bear is just leaning on a rock and swatting the poor tired and half depleted buggers onto a grassy shore.

Now that's done, my own hooks set and cast into the oceans of your relevance I can introduce what I really want to talk about and that's this new programme on channel three “The Housewives of Auckland” and in comparison to Marcus Lush's train spotting epic 'Off the Rails”.

It's not then particulary difficult to define which is ice fishing and which is merely swatting tired spawning fish out of rapids. There is the meditative individual who has worked to secure a place of maybe even a form of worship whilst the other is a big old bear seeing a very easy way to stock up on fat reserves before a big long winter and a vast and easy slumber under the snow.

So yes our brains might be hard wired still in the primordial hunter gatherer vein of how to harvest the natural world and be content and full but surely this technological age we find ourselves in has somewhat abetted the need to store fat reserves for long and hard winters by reaping easily some tired and struggling resource almost at the edges of it's ability to renew it's species?

And thats what 'The Housewives of Auckland” seems to be for me. Big old lazy bears getting fat so they can sleep soundly through the long cold. Moribund network executives unwilling to even try coming up with something interesting and simply importing an idea which is already depleted. And the Salmon, well, they would be those trophy wives and trust fund princesses struggling up the rapids of their own declining physical assets... wooh! Did I say that?

At the very least, within nature, it is spectacle. It is a profound truth of existence in the wilds so when a learned man, say like Attenborough, gives us a commentary... we are moved, we are interested and we are reminded of the stringencies of life to keep struggling on.
But what kind of spectacle is it when the rich and the proud are paraded before us as early evening entertainment? I actually think it's really sad that those big, and very soon to be fat, network executives seem willing to swat struggling salmon onto the grass so we can see them gasping for air as their guts are sprawling alongside them from having their guts ripped open.

The thing is I'd like to see myself as a bit of a renaissance man, that having had vacines and schools and all kinds of technological breakthroughs given to me as convenience, that all this has been quite enlightening and as such I have a willingness to raise the game, as it were, of humanity.

So before I go on with the ripped carcasses of trophy wives and trust fund princesses, which yes, we all still do enjoy a kind of tragic carnage, it's that hunter gatherer brain enjoying the splendours of spring and fall, isn't it somewhat behoove of us to get a little more introspective within our entertainments, to embrace a little more, actually a whole lot more, the character of our species aligning ourselves with the possibilities we do have as we fall, supposedly, into this new age of information?

Could we please acknowledge that train spotting of the technological soul might be better entertainments?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Artists colony?

What was I thinking?

I worked with a woman a while back who lived in her own house all by herself and she had an idea that once her mother died and she had real access to money that she would buy up a big bit of land with as many old buildings on it as could be utilised reasonably easily and start an artists colony.

And my working for her, as in she would define what she wanted and then I would do what I figured out, as I went along, what was best and this created all sorts of problems because she would have to confront her need to control what I did... in the sense that I would basically ignore her and do what I thought was the most appropriate.

It seemed somehow to make sense that my attitudes towards art needed somehow to be incorporated as a reality within her idea of what art making was especially in regard to her having control of this ideal made concrete, eventually, as an art colony. I suppose it was that I was one extreme, as in just intuitive and no figuring out, and she was over the other side in intellectual and planning and whilst I mostly came to terms with the way I saw it, my being there, it was also good for me to encounter her ways of being especially now that I've actually decided my place is going to be an artists colony.

The thing was that as soon as this woman did get her hands on the money then everything changed. World trips and doing up her house using pro's became the thing and I was somewhat shuffled off to the edges as a struggling artist in need of care... which was weird and then wasn't so weird once I cottoned on and began to question, albeit humbly, the choices she was now making... and soon enough I was cast out.

Here I am then this morning going in to tidy up one of my own messes and in doing so the ideal of my own ramshackle assortment of ramshackle shacks ever becoming useful as regards something to hand on to other people, in parts, for their own uses has come into question. Not because it isn't a good idea I'm well inclined to favour so much that I have so much collected odds and ends which fill almost to brimming over in all my spaces that emptying them all out so others can use them just seems an inordinately difficult task.

In this regard then I am apt to see that while I thought I was training this particular woman what was actually happening was that I was training myself. Or more honestly what I thought she needed to learn was much more specifically what I needed to learn.

This brings to mind then the sense of visionary and whilst I don't think I'd call myself visionary I would tend to the idea that what such ideas encapsulate describes quite nicely how I actually work. What that means is that whilst I wander about in life and see things and meet people I often get a sense that I know what needs to be done. And not only what wants done but that I'm the fellow to do it.

It used to actually be visions as in fully rendered ideas would pop into my head and it was merely about shifting things about, clearing a space as it were, and then just making whatever it was that was supplied as what to actually go toward. Now though it seems deeper, a kind of knowing without knowing, and that makes sense with what might be my understanding of how these things work as regards energy content and transference into transformation.

It's like the God's speaking and trumpets blaring as Angels sing is just too big a show. Needed maybe if we're not paying attention... to get our attention but that once we attend to how possibilities actually work then that energy which before went so much into just getting our attention is lessened to a degree which allows it somehow to be spread further.

Anyway, that all said, I even wonder why I'm here writing about it and the simple answer to that is that the mess I've to get through just gets slightly overwhelming so I take breaks and this is one of those.

The other fairly cognisant point about this whole visionary thing is that while the idea of an artist's colony is somewhat my driving force it also doesn't mean that that's actually what I'm doing. It's like the vision or whatever is the motivation to get started on anything, it needs to be held loosely, because often once you actually get started on something the doing opens up new directions and so it pays then to be able to let go of that which was only the inclination to start.

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Dad.

I went to see my Father the other day. I haven't seen him for ages and I have no idea why. He's out in Howick, in place overlooking the sea, and when I do go see him I prefer that lounge with those views than sitting in his bedroom with him as that space just looks out onto a wall.

The first thing, after pleasantries, Dad remarked on was a bruise on my cheek. It's seems now that I'm older the skin where I find pimples that are worth the effort doesn't like me doing so and bruises easily. He thought it was just dirt, which is more likely I suppose with the me he knows, and I'd forgotten it was there so it was either me painting or working on cars or machines and then just going out into the world not thinking of approvals. This then might have been why he asked me how old I am now, 54, and this surprised him. "Well, Dad, if you're 82 then it stands to reason I'll be 28 years younger as that's how old you were when Mum had me."

And Dad is the oldest man now of the family that issued from Mum's side and even those on Dad's side of whom we didn't have much to do with. I went back to Canada in '95 as the Matriarch wanted to see me and she payed for it except I wasn't so interested in her and hung out with the old men dying. My uncle Ralph had Parkinson's and though he shuffled about he wanted me to meet Indians and take store of that lands needs as if this coming closer to his God, and I smoked my pot out at his altar in the Garage where he smoked his cigars and ruminated before his Pope, gave him access to deeper streams he knew I swan in.

Uncle Ralph had a model A pickup that he couldn't drive anymore so Uncle Davey, who was dying too, came 'round and took me for a drive and while we rattled and chugged he too spoke of his dying as if he too, being close, somehow understood my way with ghosts.

And it is, this town by the lake in Southern Ontario, a steel mill town and Uncle Ralph spoke of a dumping of Cobalt out on the edges and how it seemed to be taking all the Men and maybe that is why my own father has age because we left that place and went way across the earth... I don't know.

And now my Dad is walking again which is rather amazing though he has a toughness even the doctors find somewhat miraculous especially after their cousins, the psychiatrists, fed him willingly quite the huge doses of anti-depressants over many years. So Dad getting walking again isn't really surprising and it seems this toughness he has way down has just gotten bored with being a victim of the after-effects of these tranquilizers and no Doctors being able to do anything about it... so he will.

Dad was the youngest son of his fathers wifes second man and that family was the poorest of the poor in a shipyards attachment of tenement housing in Glasgow and though they were Irish Protestants, the blackest of the black, they finally had accrued some money and so he was sent to a Catholic school and there my tough but thoroughly sensitive father was scared out of his wits, or into his wits, as the case might actually be.

And maybe it worked because as luck would have it he was given an apprenticeship in plumbing after leaving the Nuns and the Priests though, my father, still at a tender age didn't see his life as shovelling shit and maybe that, somehow, was too alike the racial slurs those Scottish neighbours seemed far too willing to heap upon him and his as if five to a bed and a shared outhouse weren't enough.

To the high seas then my father went and still young he signed on as a cabin boy in those rusty old hulks that crossed the Atlantic to Islands in the Caribbean where just two dollars bought more than enough alcohol to forget and lithe young dark skinned woman for the whole of a night even if they were only forgotten and sweating warmth alongside.

Then at the opposite end of these rolling and huge swaying through the Atlantics high seas were the ports of Europe where the same occurred except more silver was needed and the grasses of mattresses more refined but still it was the same heathen crawl.

By this time too I think his own father had died, of a cancer in the stomach, and a step brother too morose from a war spent in bombers killing wholesale the innocent and the guilty, so it was only then my father and his slightly older brothers in a whole family of older women who altogether made flight to Canada to leave this bitter place.

Within all that which was so hard and crushing my father remembers high summers spent fleetingly at Lochs and a small and intensely loyal terrier which had a penchant for attacking and trying to kill old mens long beards so even in the Northerly place not quite North enough in it's mass to be really cold there seemed just enough sunlight, just enough warmth, to keep him knowing that smiles and laughter were precious.

And he knew tenderness too. Somehow as still a youth and on those rolling seas he saw the life almost completely beaten out of a man whos love was the kind not spoken of, that love which is furtive and secret but still just wants to be love. He saw this and he knew somehow it was more honourable than the rage that would kill it, stamp it out and leave it bending upon which ever surface it fell.

So I'm glad my father is walking again for the truth is he was boring me. It was just, when we sat in that small room, stories of his time in the Army. Stories of more drunken days and the stealing of trucks to go on binges where he was always freed of time in lockup because he wore his uniform well, his body filled it out and stood straight, so he was pulled early and shined up and stuck out the front to grace the high born.

And it was as if this trolling back was an invite to dementia alike his two sisters who have completely forgotten. That it was the years crying down to his green eyed soul and the flamed head was left shining that the recourse to a doctors easily prescribed advice had made the flames of his red locks engulf his legs and make them burn as if he stood waiting in some inner clarity aligned to his toughness that whilst others walked quickly upon flaming coals that my father stood still and waited for permissions none, it seemed, were willing to give.

So even Dresden and it's bombed out glories could hold him for long and bring him to forgetting. And me, it's taken me years and years and years to piece together all these fragments, not even necessarily because they were offered but because I too have chosen my own narrative. That somehow it was less about the grist of the stories, the chewy bone ends of the telling, and more about the changing perspectives somehow, despite worthy traumas and any significance that made the choreography a set of juxtapositions, that it was about choosing our own camera angles, directing our own scripts to even see beyond them.

In then comes the Canada days and me the first squalling infant who as soon as I found my legs whacked a head throbbing father across it's cranium with a bottle emptied the night before that ended all his drinking days. That my father who drenched his history had now to wake up and set things out for my own methods of undoing. For by this time my father had become a socialist, a man of union hopes, and that dull surge of righteousness called McCarthyism was instilling a pernicious and loathing  pride in it's adherents in the Maple leaf lands and men aligning with the carmine of Rus were disappearing in molten vats and under the crushing wheels of trains though mostly it seems that that matriarch who called me years later back to that land was a bitter rival for the now owned daughter, his sway in those circles about not having freedom in men so we found a plane willing to carry us far away.

I was seven and already far too old, already bitter somehow as I have found photos of this time and my eyes are much too distant and calculating. New Zealand became straight away an adventure and a forgetting place with my first freedom being finding myself alone, making sure I was, and climbing a very noble tree and jumping onto a high roof then scrambling up it's steep and dangerous to get atop the ridge of Parnell and having the whole magnificent harbour before me and knowing this was a place just for me, that calculating could end and the boredoms of the slow cast aside for real adventure.

Now I've lost the thread. It could be that the New Zealand story is so completely a new thing it cannot be joined to this. That all this clumping of the old world is such a different set of colours it demands it's own canvas... or I've simply had enough for one morning and the hot is here. I felt it on the cat, Tutti, as I rubbed across his silken back, him back in wondering if food has appeared. These are the things I trust... that cats become silky with heat, especially the new sun's grace, and so being lazy and soaking is a worthwhile thing.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A draft is caused by ill fitting doors.

One set of ideas I tend to have fun with occasionally is that even my own art will last beyond my death and be found interesting to the extent it could even be defined as great and therein become a set of resources, for not only other artists, but that great clinging and often swamping phalanx of opinion making, the academic.

And so I wonder how I could disguise the scents I might leave in my work and throw them off what could actually be a trail so, and this is where it's fun, it sends them off into the real bush where they might forget such trivialities and learn survival with their own brilliance.

Except all of that means I have to own a foreknowledge that I might actually be good at this stuff called art. Thats, of course, the tricky part, but it's good at the same time, because whilst one is playing with these ideas of possible genius, really, is one quite the shining light or is it just a tendency to get lost in our own mirage making? And this is good because it seems somehow to skirt edges of madness, you can actually feel the stupidity, and scariness, of such over intellectualised indulgence... so you just go back to doing art, plain and simple.

But that world of critical judgements, somewhat cast aside as ridiculous, is still there, it is still alive even while art is being made and right through to the sermons of it's mightiness and glory well past the use by date of it's authors corpse becoming food for all manner of things crawling and tunneling under graveyards.

I can't help then, having touched on the insanity of measuring myself as worthy or not, look out into the world and see how this constant measuring of that which is not only dead and gone but also that which is seemingly alive and well is a vast and engulfing industry which baffles me.

I am right here writing therefore it seems safe to assume I am a writer and yet when I look at the world of writing it seems a whole other monster. Something I might stand on the edges of and wonder where the admittance gates are and how it might allow me ejecting myself into it, or even dejecting myself into it, because it seems to have all these rules and regulations wherein the defining of takes precedence over the doing of.

Because I am in a world and it's full of people, people I come across everyday doing all kinds of mundane people doing things, and yes, I have chosen that art thing to do which at it's very basic doing is simply being a decorator for all these people I share my life with.

The simple question for me then is if I enter this world of writing does it mean that all these wonderful normal people must start carrying dictionaries so when I use the word uxorious, because friends and fellows I have entered the world of writing and seek to be a 'writer' therefore my... what the fuck is that word, even now I've... ah, my vocabulary is a wide, wide sword and sharpened, oops, made poignant to keep the thrill alive of other members of my golden gild (guild), that all these unwashed whom I share my days with rise up with me willingly because they now, almost without blinking or even having the brain stuff even close to non-comprehension, that uxorious means ' having or showing a great or excessive fondness for ones wife.'

That then is the question. Specialised knowledge. Do we go off into these new worlds and feel fitting into these worlds is fitting of us? That they are big enough and with enough adherents to these specialisations that we might have enough memory retention, having amassed this new currency of defining, that we can survive in them and that they will survive alongside us?

Or do we willingly embrace possibly being uncouth, unknowing and ignorant, and just swim in the pool without regard to it's depth and how long we might hold our breath as we dive deep into for the medals such feats might bring?

And so two worlds exist. At least for me they do. One world is simply the one I have always inhabited and within that world I have founds words both reading them and writing them an interesting and fun thing I can play in, and this other world, this new one I might enter because this playing of words might seek to be beyond amateurish and become professing and currency worthy, is a whole other thing and it's seems to have forgotten it's use, by my simplified reckoning, to be much greater than merely decorative.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Creativity; skill, sensitivity and trauma?

Someone gave me a nice big slice of unpublished writing the other day.

It was great in so many ways I think it's going to take rather a while to wade through all the possibilities it's set off.

What's been brewing for me for rather a long time is writing a book, which would possibly be more like a collection of essays, sort of tentatively called 'Creativity for Dummies' except that most probably, as a title, wouldn't strike the audience I might be after to even pick it up.

And one of the chapters, or essays, would have been about how this piece of writing lent to me, in confidence, started out except I can't, of course, use an excerpt from it but I did come across a similar portrayal of the ideas behind it while watching one of my favourite shows QI.

It was the story of a composer when young who'd had synaesthesia but didn't know it. His parents had taken him to concerts and he'd taken for granted that the lights being darkened before the music played was because everyone else had what he had which was the music creating all kinds of colour displays for him to enjoy.

So this young man possibly without the synaesthasia might not have been so engulfed in music to go on to be a composer as well he might not have been 'placed' in an environment whereby the music he had access to created the same chance to inhabit it so personally to set him on a course of it being his life's work.

To me then this question of how we perceive, and even possibly much depth there is behind the perception, is of just as much importance, if not more, than what is being perceived.

My own family story, and I remember nothing of this yet my whole life has been about adjusting and adapting to it, is that at about a year and a half old I wasn't interested in life, I was lethargic and un-animated somehow so my parents took me to a doctor and this man said my eyes weren't very good and they needed to be stimulated and he suggested that my father take me for walks and encourage me to look at things. So he did but then Dad added his own two cents worth and gave me paper and crayons to draw what might have interested me.

We could say then that this is how we learn to draw but what also sits underneath that is I learned to be in the world by watching and walking, journeys of looking which were then followed by attempts to record those journeys.

This though came with a side effect and that was that I drew so much most of it was thrown out, it was waste paper, and good riddance too as I doubt much of it was good but this too has effected my art practise quite significantly... I'm really not very interested in the art I make after it's finished. I mean sucking up the odd bit of admiration never killed anyone so I've never been entirely adverse to that part of the process, the results of doing, but it always was the doing that has done it for me though, as I'm getting older, the significance of the watching is becoming something just as, if not even more, important than the doing.

Then when I was 5, at the end of my first year at school, there was another story which too seems to have significant bearing and that was my father telling me that all the drawings we'd done during the year and took home on that last day shouldn't be thrown out, cast aside on the walk home as all the other art I did, and he made me promise.

It was a steelmill town and so the fathers of first years were given the afternoon off for this special occasion, maybe part of a folklore lazily abided to as some illusion within industry to the care of children, I have no idea what it was but, in this family story, it was quite an event.

As the story goes all the other children dutifully arrived bearing their gifts and in driveways down our street the glories of life were revitalised except where was I? Time passed and still there was no me but then eventually I did arrive though I didn't have any drawings... Dad was angry and I told lies "They kept them, I wasn't allowed them'. My Dad, as far as knew never hit me but I'm pretty sure I would have gotten a good telling off and I would surely felt scared, fearful and also, within that, disturbed at not being believed.

Turns out I wasn't lying as after summer holidays and going back as a first grader I came home with a note that my drawings were so advanced they'd been sent to the local university... end of story.

Here I sit now just about fifty years later and I want to somehow unravel what seems, in shorthand, to be creativity as skill, sensitivity and trauma. That the three together somehow make up a trinity of sorts whereby it isn't about gifts at all, there is no instilled ability, or at least not so much as a possibly quite slight inclination towards certain mind-body skills being a little easier to get started in, but that its far more about somehow setting the scene in which the three can come together and be what will eventually result in some talent.

Now I'm suddenly reminded of a quote.

A man who works with his hands is a labourer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.    Louis Niser.

Quite interestingly I could easily then ascribe hands to skill, brain to sensitivity and heart to trauma without too much of a jump. Oops maybe its brain to trauma and heart to sensitivity... hmm?

Except why trauma? Trauma comes from the Greek wound and this is interesting.

I'm kind of sensing now that I'm on the right track... theres something here worth unraveling.

Trauma then is quite loaded in a psychological way... as in it's not a good thing and best avoided but if we take it back to it's original sense and that of wound it's almost a different story altogether, it's not a bad thing at all and maybe even a necessity. It's then, not quite the 'that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger thing, the idea that to get talent, ability and skills that theres an abrasive thing going on, sandpaper on wood even, to polish and make bright.

The kid who loves running and gets faster and slips and falls, abrades skin and bleeds, teaches themselves to be more aware, not so lost in the talent but aware that it can cost, that slipping away from vigilance means hurt...

Then there is the idea of where a line might be and where things become dangerous.Is this then where sensitivity comes in?

Now I'm lost. I'll have to come back to this.