Success… after a fashion

So i’ve finally got the keys to the studio space hooray!

I say finally, in that I think what has happened over the last couple of days is me being in one place and the person I needed to meet being in another, both of us thinking the other should be there. We made it happen eventually.

Anyway, i’ve stuck a giant sheet of paper up and have put back into use my old toolbox from my Art Foundation days – 1999-2000 – hurrah. A vintage piece.

Now just to make some work…
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First day FAIL

Missed my appointment to collect the keys to the studio space today; I was 20mins late due to not saying no to a neighbour, and naively assumed that the building would be open and that there would be someone around to help me when I arrived. Nope.

Get your shit together monky.

Studios are open tomorrow so hopefully i’ll be able to get started then…
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Adrift on a polygon ocean…

Campfire Potato

Here is the view from the desert island I am just about to die from thirst on.

Isn’t it pretty?

SO the new computer arrived and oh my goodness it is awesome. Everything arrived in one piece, files transferred over easily, Windows 10 is not hideous, gaming has commenced. It is fast, quiet, reliable (so far) – Chillblast have done a good job. At the moment I am thoroughly enjoying Stranded Deep, a game where you’re merrily drinking a Martini on your private jet that then stuffs it into an ocean.

I’ve managed to survive thirteen days so far, but unfortunately I am doubtful I will make it through the night as my health metre is totally fucked (couldn’t find a bucket to collect rainwater, lost my paddle for a bit, no more coconuts).

It’s a bit weird to just sort of mope about on my island waiting to die. The surroundings are absolutely gorgeous though, so I suppose it’s better than being hit by a bus. Maybe i’ll swim into a shark.

Update 23:32 – I died.

Oh dear

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Astral Jetski Orchestra…

Sleazy Whale Fever
Android Beach Insurrection
Stoic Cookie Feud
Everyone Loves The Surgery Rocket
Flamboyant Conga Turbo
Big Badminton Deathmatch
Muppet Prison Girl
Ultraviolent Zamboni Simulator
Iron Shaving Factory

Favourite suggestions gleaned from the Video Game Name Generator as I ramp up for the delivery of my new computer eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I am super excited to have a computer that means I’ll be able to do a bit of adventure gaming, but the main novelty will be using a PC that doesn’t need fifteen pokes of the on button to boot up and doesn’t turn off at random midway through Photoshopping. Yeah!

Of course this is perfect timing given that my presentation deadline is in a couple of weeks, and i’m spending all of next week getting publicly stuck into artmaking. That i’ve spent many hours browsing Steam and GOG looking at games when I haven’t even got the computer yet is perhaps not the smartest move.

Anyway, I have sorted out a lot of crap in the flat and repainted and moved furniture about in preparation for the new electronic arrival; there’s still much to do but i’ve more space and my sewing stuff is easier to access. I’ve only lived here for two years and there are still things in boxes.

Small victories.
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Art Space Art Space Art Space

Holy fucking shit – that proposal I wrote for the use of an art space for a week? It was worth my time applying :D

Long after i’d given up hope, today I finally got a reply… with the offer of the use of the space! I was gobsmacked when I read the email – excellent motivation to get me out of bed, and that takes a LOT during the Summer break…

When i’m going to do it still needs to be sorted out; it’ll be at some point during the next two weeks, just before my end-of-course presentation and assessment. It’s kind of a terrifying prospect but also a very exciting one; it’ll be like days of yore where I spend an entire week doing nothing but making, except in full view of the public arrrrgh.

I keep re-reading the acceptance email, concerned they might wise-up and change their minds…

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
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Car pass – Art binge

The car actually passed its MOT without spending further money on it – what a relief. I budget for fixing MR T but I know that, as he’s getting on a bit, something diabolical could happen and then i’m spending more than the car is worth to fix it.

Adding to the positivity, I appear to have fallen proper in love again with artmaking. I’ve eased off the relentless Lucha Underground and Funhaus/Inside Gaming/Achievement Hunter watching and have started to seriously research, think and make. Even went to an actual library.

A week after breaking up, I think I am more relaxed now – not stressed about work, leaving etc. I do have it in the back of my mind – I have a lot to plan for September – but the focus now is on my course assessment, experimenting and making connections. Good times.

This weekend i’m off to see the McQueen exhibition at the V&A before it closes; as it’s so busy, me and an (ex!) colleague are going at 2.15am on Sunday morning :D Looking forward to it!
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Mapping anxiety

Hmm. This is an unpleasant development – studying a map for artmaking purposes and i’m ever-so-gently freaking out; I can feel anxiety gnawing at my insides and something slowly crawling beneath the skin on my neck and chest. All from looking at a map and remembering.

Maybe I need a cup of tea.

And a cry.
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First Day…

Just like home Desert Island by Edgar Barany C [CC]

…of the Summer break. Actually quite productive.

Made Greek yoghurt pancakes (NYT recipe by Melissa Clark) that turned out pleasingly thick and pillow-y; however, on a slightly less positive note they were a bit on the salty side :/ This might have been due to my what-the-fuck-Americans-why-do-you-use-cups conversions and downsizing for one, and I found that sugar and lemon helped the situation, so it wasn’t a total waste of two eggs.

Hmm looking again at the recipe, I think my error was using salted instead of unsalted butter. Oh well.

Must buy Maple syrup.

When I wasn’t making salty pancakes I spent the day writing and refining a proposal to use a new art space in town as a studio for a week, which, although a lengthy process with nearly no chance of resultant success, it was worthwhile in that it got me to think very carefully about what my work is about, and helped me clarify the why behind the work. Important shit.

Also did some washing up. Booked car in for service and MOT. And. Finally booked in a contact lens check-up (it’s only four months overdue). Just a smear test to go (about six months overdue) and I will be fully caught up on all the shit I have put off doing because life.

Oh to be on holiday.

Well, I did have a glass of wine with lunch today. Exotique.

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Last Day!

Last day at my current workplace tomorrow! I’d type a bajillion exclamation marks to express my relief but I am morally opposed to such things.

I’ve learnt a hell of a lot thanks to the experience and generosity of my colleagues and I will miss them – or at least the majority of them – but i’m sure the kids will get on just fine without me. There’s loads of lovely kids that I will very much regret leaving behind, but also a shed load who I will be very, very glad to shout “Bye bye you loser fucks!!” – in my head – as I drive out the school gates. I won’t miss the grades and data-obsessed high-pressure culture of my school… oh, wait. My new school is maths and science über alles? Oh… Well, at least the rage will be expressed in a new environment :/

2007 seems like a lifetime ago. My classroom has been gutted, filing cabinets stripped, space in the office cleared. Still quite a few hours of tidying to do tomorrow but I am nearly home free. The flat is a fucking disaster zone (yes even more than normal) with piles of books, files etc. from work dumped in strategic piles here, there and everyfuckingwhere.

No more shitty commuting! Will be able to save a lot of cash thanks to me either walking (20mins), biking (mostly off-road bikepath to the new job) or (lazily) driving. Leia Ewok Village suggested that I should put the money towards taking up Pilates again; I am horribly unfit and getting more than a little soft in the midsection, so perhaps this can be something to do over the break.

When i’m not drinking wine, watching wrestling or people doing GTA heists on YouTube.

I am cultured.
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Double Rain

Overdosing on the rain this Sunday afternoon; it’s chucking it down outside and i’m playing a YouTube rain loop inside to try and drown out the sound of the traffic sloshing along the street outside my flat.

Yesterday at uni went well – lovely to see people and catch up with them. We talk art, work, life and eat cake. We complain a lot. Pretty great :) The feedback I got on my work as it is at the moment was helpful and positive – at the end of August I will have to do a ten minute presentation to my tutors, presenting some work and explaining the connections between things and the reasoning behind my creative choices. All very interesting and exciting/scary!

Double rain, Summer approaching and a dose of the end-of-term fed-ups has led me to think about Petrichor. It’s been two years now, and, with no-one comparable (or better) to make an entrance in my life, there’s still a sadness that flares up from time-to-time. This hasn’t been helped by recent events…

ThatFuckingWriterGuy – tl;dr Led me on, stole one of my favourite shirts, ghosted on me. I’m pretty angry. It’s shit like this from supposed adults that just adds to my cynicism about dating and relationships. When did ghosting become acceptable? CHRIST.

LUCHA!

I had a moment of clarity on Friday evening – drinking a glass of wine, sat in my underwear in front of my laptop – I was laughing at a comedy spot on Lucha Underground, and I thought, I am so very content and happy right now… Leading a quiet life, making art, learning, watching wrestling, seeing friends, travelling every now-and-then is where it’s at.

Not being disappointed. The fucking novelty.

So I watch wrestling and snuggle under my blanket. Maybe I need to get married to art, a la a bride of Christ? Non-virginal of course hahaha.
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Two Weeks’ Notice

Christ. Two weeks to go now, and I can feel the likelihood of me coming home, locking the front door and weeping increases as the days go by.

I need to draw a line in the sand and go, no, I can’t do that actually as I need to focus on readying my room for the person taking over, or tidying my space in the office as I will be fucking leaving soon. BUT. It’s academic mentoring, markingmarkingmarking, writing appraisal stuff, going to an exit interview…

Oh, and teaching.

Departmental exhibition private view tomorrow evening, then a visit to my new school after work on Thursday. Looking forward to leaving my current place, but problems at the new one, so I can’t say i’m particularly looking forward to my new post. OH YAY. Plan is not to spend any of the danger money i’m going to get for leading the department, at least not for the first few months; I am concerned that the new post might be the shortest promotion of all time.

The weekend brings a trip to Oxford and uni stuff; will be lovely to see everyone and catch up – haven’t done enough work as is usual. Sigh. Motivation.

Adding to my annoyances are my parents who keep asking what i’m doing over the Summer, despite me already explaining that i’m going to need to do uni work and prepare for my new classes, and how i’m concentrating on getting to the end of term as that is all I can deal with at the mo. I’m going to ask them to stop asking. I don’t have the money to go anywhere far away, yet holidays in the UK seem to be so fucking pricey.

I need a hot shower/holiday/hug/to curl up with someone/curl up in a hole

but first I must go to bed.
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reportsreportsreports – date fail – tutoring – exhibition

It’s that time of year yet again where I valiantly copy-and-paste together my tutor reports (I used to carefully craft each one, but 10,000 words later they often didn’t even read what i’d written); it’s all about the subject variation – “I have greatly enjoyed being X’s form tutor and wish her every success in the future” versus “I wish her every success in the future.” Particularly as I am leaving, trying not to get bogged down in them and give less of a shit makes sense to me.

No further developments with regards dating.

Sigh.

My first sewing foray into setting sleeves and working with bias binding was also a fail – unfortunately the crêpe fabric i’d chosen was incredibly slide-y, and I found sewing in a straight line, keeping the grain of the fabric true very difficult. The one sleeve I put in was fucking awful! So that got chucked in the “maybe later one decade” box. I suppose the binding experience was useful.

During the week I met up with a former student from many years ago who was looking to get some private art tuition as she makes her way back into making; the meeting was interesting and productive, and if things move forward the extra money would certainly be appreciated, but also it’s a way to get something not-school-based in terms of experience which would be good.

Tomorrow I have to drop off a piece of artwork to go on display during the local Arts Week; i’ll have one textile-y piece from my course and a sculpture from my pottery classes – getting things out there ever so slowly.

Also, nopoke was TWELVE a couple of weeks’ back. Good grief.
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Limbo

It’s probably because I feel there’s little time left before I leave my current post, so much to do and i’m tired, but i’m finding the whole dating thing quite emotionally taxing. I’ve had a little taste of some potential good stuff, but the “Is he still going to be interested in three weeks?” question runs slap bang into “Oh he’s really very appealing – I can’t concentrate on work”.

It’s hard not to get attached. When I was in my default mode of EVERYONE’S SHIT I DON’T CARE I was much less angsty; now the possibility of success or failure has been dangled in front of me for the first time in years that comfortable neutral where relationships are not on my radar has evaporated, and i’m left feeling rather glum this evening. If things don’t work out I know i’m going to be crushed. Ugh.

Ice cream.

Healthy coping mechanisms.
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Mmmmm.

Leia Ewok Village was right: some dates really do improve upon second viewing :)

Had a great evening out last night in a nearby town with, hmm, codename to come if we continue things… we had a couple of pints and an excellent burger before meandering back to my train home under a full moon. Much more of a connection, he was much more relaxed and proactive, and I would really like to see him again.

There was some serious nerdgasming: we argued about why Kirk or Spock weren’t played by women in the Star Trek reboot – he thought they should’ve been, I passionately disagreed – the characters are too entwined with the original actors playing the roles, and you want to encourage past viewers with fond memories to watch. I also knocked a glass of wine into him, but fortunately/unfortunately his Apple watch (YES. I know.) escaped unharmed.

Unfortunately, come Wednesday he’s off on holiday for three weeks. Sigh. I guess we’ll see if things keep going after that.
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Hmm.

So, the date went well, with a second date in the process of being arranged. Perhaps we need to spend more time together to properly click, but at the moment I feel like I could take him or leave him? Sigh.

On paper, he’s great – smart, academic, socially aware, a raging feminist, and a science nerd, and is also tall with a good head of hair. Knows how to deploy sarcasm effectively.

Not-so-great – quite awkward on the intimacy side of things – if a dude’s into me, vigorously rubbing my arm like he’s petting a horse is not the best way to go about expressing affection. He needs a lot of guidance, and needs to be much more assertive – do I have the patience to put the effort in?

When you get to your thirties I kind of assume that every man will be proficient in such things, particularly as i’m pretty straight forward about what I want, and what works for me, and feel i’d rather be on my own if things aren’t quite good enough. Oh the joys of pondering compromise.

Subtext: I’m not saying that unless he’s a clone of Petrichor he’s not good enough. However, the things that were so very appealing about him are things that I value highly, so if there’s not enough evidence of them, it gives me pause.

Maybe the problem is that we’re not really that good a match, however much i’d like it to be so? God, sometimes I really just can’t be arsed. Where are all the funny, proactive men hiding? In relationships, that’s where.

Anyway, HALF TERM WOOO!
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SUCCESS!


SO. Today went WELL.


I’m Head of Department in September.


OH GOD.
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Interview

So, my ploy worked and I have an interview next Wednesday :)

Looks like it’ll just be me, as they’ve not uploaded the advert to the TES yet, so in some ways much less stressful, but in other ways the most pressure ever, as I really want the job and the outgoing Head of Department really wants me to get the job. Plus, HOD is a position I don’t feel entirely comfortable with, but we shall see.
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Interesting Times!

So, my inspirational mentor at one of my training schools has landed a new job in Cologne of all places and has let me know she’s handing her notice in Friday; she’s suggested I send a “speculative” email to the school on the same day expressing interest. She says it’s “my school” and would be happy to hand the department over to me; it would be a chance to start somewhere small and make it in my image, and would be good experience, even if it turned out to be for the shorter term.

BUT

Post-Friday there is one school week before half term, so that means only two weeks ’til I have to resign. Tricky. Also, they might actually want to advertise, in which case i’m fucked, as there’s no way I want to fuck over my colleagues and the trust I have built with my current school. I have issues with the low status of Art and grade obsession at the school, but still, I agree with my mentor in that it’s worth applying.

AND

For the first time in nearly a year, next week I have a date. With a man who is a professional nerd! He ITs for a living, and also data crunches and writes for the Guardian and (shouts) VICE of all fucking titles. I have already taken the piss, and apparently he enjoys a challenge. SO. We’ll see how that goes.
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Bob and Roberta Smith

Bob + Roberta Smith
Dear Pissed Off Voter
2014
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Captain America Has Left The Band

Glum Cap

It’s a non-work day, i’ve felt increasingly tired and fed up as the election week has passed, so why did I wake up just after 6am today, after around five hours sleep?

Well, I dreamt I was a member of a band (what I did I do not recall) in which Captain America in his Steve Rogers guise was the drummer, and a good one too. We were just about to go on stage, gathering in the Gorilla Position, attempting to get in the right headspace, that is all of us except Steve, who was AWOL.

We were going around the group asking if anyone would or could step up to take his position, and trying not to freak out. I was totally in crush with Steve, and was therefore mortified when he finally turned up, in smirk with a random woman. I felt like I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole, Sarlacc-style.

WTF, Steve‽

Well, I suppose this is an upgrade from nightmares of being forced to attend an ex-‘s wedding… Post-election upset? Well, looking at the result with an optimistic eye, over 63% of the population did not vote for the Conservatives, but I still feel a bit betrayed by my fellow country people – it’s just so, SO obvious that the Tories shit upon the weak and asset strip wherever they can, so to think that anyone voted for them boggles my mind.

I help young people, inspire and support, so I feel I contribute to society, and more tangibly than people who juggle things that don’t exist (financial sector I am looking at you) but this doesn’t mean I am special. I just question where is my fair reward? My pension contributions went up to bail out the bankers, individually I pay more council tax than each member of the couple downstairs who use more resources than me, housing gets more and more expensive to rent, is insecure and totally ruled by landlords, and bills keep going up and up.

To top it off, the course I am enjoying and is helping me get through the job rejections and work bullshit might not run next year as the numbers progressing to year two are too low at the mo, as post-graduate funding has gone through the floor thanks to the government.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGh.

I think I need a postprandial nap…
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Yes, i’m still alive

I’m afflicted – as always – with an attack of the lazy. What more can I say. Update to follow.
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Codeine Poppin’

So, it’s a break from work so of course, I’m ill. Joy. I’m usually very sturdy – three days off in the last five years – and one of those was for getting dumped – but whatever I’ve picked up it’s wreaking havoc with my sinuses, which are usually kept in check through medication and saline rinses.

The usual first aid of antihistamines, saline, decongestants and ibuprofen has had little effect. The pain in my face and teeth has meant my sleep has been interrupted (other lovely symptoms include copious amounts of saliva and watering eyeballs) and this afternoon it got the worst I’ve ever experienced and I was pondering whether a trip to A+E would be worth my while. I decided not – your sinuses feeling on fire to the point where you want to gouge them out of your head/cry is neither an accident nor an emergency, and what would they do? Direct me to my GP most likely, and that would mean days before I could get relief.

I went on a grumpy drugs and fabric run and came back with four metres of muslin for art making and ibuprofen + codeine as something new to try. The packaging is covered in dire warnings about “danger of addiction” if I use it for longer than three days. Scary. Two tablets and one long hot bath later I feel better. Not pain-free, but I hope I’ll be able to sleep more easily.

I’m worried about what will happen when the codeine wears off – will I be catapulted back into owowowmakeitstopplease…? Ugh.
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First

Just submitted images of tiny mineral-inspired sculptures I made in my evening classes to an open exhibition wooo. Totally different stuff to what i’m doing at the moment, but I like them and they fit the theme. Will hear in a few weeks if i’ve been successful. Baby steps and all that.
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Caught – Slump – Machine

After the Great Bird Mite Infestation of 2014, the company that manages my building put up netting to keep out the avian invaders hellbent on making their way inside the loftspace of my flat. Unfortunately, although it stops Pigeons, the netting is widely spaced enough for Starlings to get in and out and back under the eaves where they have barneys, with the result being one poor Starling marooned and entangled. I can’t reach it as my window doesn’t open high enough, so i’ve spent some time today listening to it flap and flap and flap. It’s quiet now, and, I would imagine, dead. Sigh. I’ve emailed the building managers.

I was feeling a bit better about my lot post-job-rejection come the end of the week, until my Mum called Friday evening. She is almost completely unable to give comfort, and I often come away feeling pissed off and extra fed up after such conversations. I think in future that until I actually get a new job I won’t share.

The job I wanted went to the other candidate I thought I was competing with – her post is now being advertised. No, I don’t fancy it. At least I have discovered that schools that closely align with my educational philosophy actually exist. One in three years, twenty applications and four interviews.

Sigh.

And I now own a sewing machine.

I just want this week to be over already.
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Nope. Again. Again.

A letter greeted me today when I got home after work with a sorry you weren’t successful P.S. here’s some money for your trouble.

At least they covered my expenses.

All the hours of resource preparing, lesson planning, portfolio organising, printing, driving, interviews, social lunching, being “always on” to everyone who crossed my path… FML.

Wine and ice cream this evening

[hunkers under blanket and weeps]
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The Great Wait

Things went quite well on Friday I think; my lesson was workman-like rather than stellar, but the kids were enthused even if I was off my game a bit due to nerves. Seemed like a great school- lovely staff in the department, personable headteacher, good facilities, well-behaved kids; the photography work was a bit dull but there was plenty of scope for development.

Really odd mix of candidates – a PGCE trainee full of nerves and quite dull personality-wise (cheap though of course), an ex-Head of Department who ran her own photography business wanting to go back full-time post-child, and a sloane-y woman from a prestigious private school who applied for a laugh apparently and asked me if I thought she needed to have brought her portfolio as it didn’t say in the advert. To think of the hours I have spent putting mine together! CHRIST.

Head of Department seemed taken with my work – lots of helpful feedback – but then there’s the opinion of the teacher who observed me, the two deputy heads and the head to consider too. I think the interviews went well, and there were no questions I couldn’t answer.

They said they’d call today but i’ve not heard anything yet, so perhaps even though I thought I might be in with a decent shot, or at least it be between me and the ex-HOD, i’ve yet again not been successful. I actually wanted to work there too.
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Interview prep – Trans

Amidst the horror of actually having to work for a living whilst attempting to get my shit together with regards the interview tomorrow – I swear there should be a government fund to pay for a day off when you have a job interview – one of the kids I mentor because they’re in danger of underachieving disclosed that they are just about to start transitioning gender. The life of a modern teacher – i’ve taught gay, bi and questioning gals and guys but never a trans person.

Really fab that they feel comfortable enough at school to tell a few people, but alas their Mum has bought a dress rather than a suit for the prom :( Ugh. Anyway, although it’s very early days, I congratulated them on this new chapter, and they seemed really happy to tell me – some positivity and excitement hurrah!
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Interview Yikes

Interview Friday. Private school in Bath this time, very high-achieving but the department gets almost the same results as where I’m at currently (great for a non-selective state comp). Seems like it has the right attitude in terms of giving a damn about things other than grades, but I guess I’ll see. My application was the first time I described myself as an artist teacher. Gulp.

Fake it ’til you make it.
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Skylarking

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Too early for a Sunday

Wild Clematis
Image: Old Man’s Beard (detail) by Chris Hawes [cc]

Woke up at 6.30am today filled full of anxiety and sadness, chest tight, heart sore. Didn’t sleep well at all. Dreams of watching an ex- get married. Ugh.

Really interesting session at college yesterday – lots of thinking and discussion about what we want, what our work’s about, the practicalities behind being an artist; the head of the Fine Art department at the university came to talk to us, exercise our brains, make us think very carefully. We went on a group silent walk out beyond campus into fields of Skylarks displaying, blanketed horses munching hay, ragged puffballs of wild Clematis dotting hedges and trees, gently trickling streams. Drew verrry slowly to continue the sense of calm back in the studio.

We then had to write about our first memory of creativity and share with another – I wrote about when I was three or four years old I found an eviscerated bird in the back garden, how it was one of my earliest memories, and the first memory I have of something being aesthetically beautiful. How adult disapproval at my interest removed me from it, how a sense of shame seems to hang over a lot of my life. Hard going.

I still find it quite uncomfortable to talk about my work, share details with my coursemates, even though I am getting better. We shared what space we had to make work in, areas we could demarcate for art, and I felt unpleasant bitterness bubble up inside of me to hear that everyone lives in houses/flats where they have spare rooms and tables to work, gardens to have sheds in or schools where they have space and equipment. Suggestions were offered and batted away – I have none of those things. I felt rather emotionally drained by the end of the day, and I wonder if that experience followed me to bed.

To do today: make work, think about optimistic cynicism. “Pessimist by policy, optimist by temperament.”

To do this week: say “I am an artist” whenever I shower.
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