Friday, August 17, 2007
Let's just imagine, for a moment, that you are doing a research degree, and you find it requires every ounce of your strength to resist the hostile opposition in your life to this, and you manage to create some kind of fairy-flossing web on a stick kind of blob of writing.
So lets just imagine that, because you love to write by hand, and because you are somewhat weird, you assemble all of this in white ink on black pages. You find that the putting down of the words, the references, and the strange little diagrams and fictional offshoots all unravel themselves in white against the black, in a solid and comforting way. You need to do this, the screen so ephemeral and the tide of your life constantly threatening to crash down on you, and wash away the words, dissolve the sugar threads. You stay up late late into the night to do this, when all is quiet and still. A secret activity, a guilty secret.
Imagine you have half a paper written for a conference. Your references are here, in the lovely black and white workbook.
Sometimes you find a late night hour, and fix up a paragraph, or sometimes just a line, but the thread seems sometimes to elude you, though you narrate it in your head when you are driving, or swimming in the dawn light.
Let's just say you submit this piece of work to a lecturer, for some feedback.
despite the fact that within another tertiary institution in which you lecture yourself you carefully keep all student work, locked away, and email everybody to collect the work, individually if needs be, for at least six months after it is submitted and marked,
you have travelled in to the university to collect your work, to be told that the lecturer, who has now moved on, put all work in the collection basket, and upon the basket is a sign that tells you that any work not collected by a week ago will be disposed of.
And it has.
Your arms go all sort of weak and a pain sort of stabs at you, because you can't quite believe it, and you don't want to cry like an idiot in front of Miss Associate Professor BlahBlah.
So last friday, your beautiful handwritten book with illustrations and ideas and so much more, was shredded.
"We pull the covers off" explained the maintenance man, " and then we put the pages in the shredder"
Because It was hand written.
ie, it WAS the hard copy and the backup you can't actually imagine this because it seems so improbable.
Maybe you might have to accept the realisation that, despite everything, NO you might not be able to do it, that everything is so horribly fragile: you can't, sometimes, continue pushing shit up a cliff. Despite the opposition and hostility to everything that makes you yourself, you have no choice to be it.
People often say to me: oh, art must be SOOOO relaxing, you're so lucky...
But it's more like having an obsessive compulsive disorder and living with the constant feeling that you have soemthing that you want to say, or make, and you go on biding you time until you can do it although everything gets a bit ragged.
From time to time you think you'll let it go, cause it goes on for such a forever, you wonder if anything will ever happen at all.
Just imagine this. Imagine.