Keirartworks's Blog

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The Far Horizon

We are what we imagine in ourselves.

In this moment, though, my imagination is a dull grey. It trudges with jaw set to endurance mode.  Wings furled behind dragging in the mud – too much damned effort to get off the ground.

Pretty River Valley, Simcoe

Is it me that’s too heavy, or the current …vicissitudes?  My experiment in taking extended breaks from technology devices has taught me that at least part of the heaviness is the result of my lack of electronic discernment. I feel numb after I’ve been connected to the internet or to my phone for too long, which for me appears to be any longer than 10 minutes.  If I get sucked in for more than that I become disengaged with the focus and rhythm of the day I’ve taken such pains to design.  Heavy & flightless.

I don’t count journal, blog or poetry writing in this. When I keep my focus on those things I’m entirely engaged with my internal and external environment. I’m an air balloon kept aloft by curiosity.

a particularly compelling drawing in our room at the inn.

I know full well, though, that it’s not just electronic devices that have been leaving me regularly flattened.  In ways that run well below daily radar I’ve been buried by and in stories that are not my own for a full decade. Inch by inch this spring I’ve been crawling out from under bad faith agreements and betrayals of trust that have taught me over and over again the value of standing my ground. I’ve watched my family torn apart by toxicity, lived in self-exile from things and people I love, and have been pressed into the kind of poverty that erodes one’s soul because I chose to point out the elephant in the room.  At no point have I felt like a victim, nor am I blameless, but it’s been a long long haul.  Wings dragging behind in the mud.

We are what we imagine…

As happens when long and taxing engagements near their end, my body begins to release all the intensity I’ve held down all these years in order to function through my days.  Turns out this is a long and unpredictable process.  Some mornings I wake in the grip of recall – living a trauma again so I can finally and firmly put it to rest.  A howling neck, an aching thigh muscle, the distinct sensation of an object buried in the middle of my back, slowly working its way out.  A growing kindness in my self, toward my self.

Slowly so very slowly each contentious issue reveals its nugget of understanding.  I visit regularly with the family I do have contact with, we make a point of sharing the progression of days, thoughts, and changes together, dancing with trust.  I’ve learned to drastically pare back my lifestyle so that I can mostly manage rent, school fees, food and gas while at the same time working smarter, so that my working hours-income ratio is better (so empowering!).  I exult in the mind expanding experience of the masters I’ve one-third finished, the growing conviction that what I’m learning is powerful, game-changing stuff. I know it will lead to work that has value well beyond what I can see from here.

What we imagine 

Allen Gardens, Toronto. March 2017.

…is what we become.


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Paper work

It is re-focus time in the studio.  I have all weekend for this – just one little gig for an hour today, then back at it.

PrintingMaterials

I think of studio as a map both for and of my mind.  It’s a container for schedule; a flexible structure that can be altered according to the needs of each project.  Currently, it’s a mess – the detritus from several months of steady-work-no-break is all around.  I’ve been gifted some tools and supplies, materials and media from my father who is packing up his own studio for a big move – they have yet to find their functional place.  Other materials have never had functional space, and languish invisible in the back of an old filing cabinet drawer…

This will not do.  It begs a re-think, a clearing out, a clarification.

I love the way this draws me inexorably to a hunt for passions, new or old.  Arrows are questions, propelled by a bow of necessity:  what am I drawn to?  How and whom will these ideas serve?.

I discover I’m feeling compelled to work this out on paper as I did when I was 15, with media I’ve not used for years…

I clear the boards, make a pile for burning.  Sweep and clean the floor, listening.

Sewingfoot

Sacred space certainly, but this place is no shrine.  It’s a factory inside the factory my Great-Grandfather built.

Factories run on schedule.  Which reminds me of something Annie Dillard wrote,

A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. … It is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.