A score for August
For the last two years, I have been writing rather public reflections every four to six weeks. Reflections on my practice – art making, love, life – propelled by the need to (re)claim a narrative as I navigated the early days of the end of my marriage; that charting time was a way to process; and subsequently a recognition that this journey needed to be witnessed. The last published post was in April, about a month into Lockdown 1.0 – on stamina, basking in a surreal mundanity and moving one day at a time. Again and again. Over and over.
For four months, I posted nothing.
For someone that likes charting time – perhaps to moderate my expectations – I have not/am not counting the weeks to the end of each lockdown.
And so I laid low, got stuck in a revised routine, and wrote love letters instead.
But here we are in August, in Lockdown 2.0 but with a turbo boost into Stage 4 restrictions and a curfew. And one day at a time. Again and again. Over and over could not be more poignant.
On hovering /
I find myself in a place between states of being; in a place where two things can be true at once.
I feel restless with the routine, but relieved I’m not watching shows five nights a week or getting on yet another plane for work;
I feel a deep longing at not knowing when I’ll see my family in Singapore next, but confident of our deep connection every time my sister-in-law sends me a video of my nephew calling my name;
I feel a collective grief, anger and anxiety for the world already changed, but I am calm and at peace in the quiet of my solitude at home;
And most surprising of them all – that I feel heartache at every turn, but that two years on I am opening up my heart and falling in love (in the midst of a global pandemic).
/ And I am terrified.
A score for ambition
Incidentally, I am also having my busiest year yet. And it is a complicated set of emotions – conscious that I am in no way gloating knowing how many of my peers and colleagues have lost work and income for the foreseeable future; conscious that it is perchance that luck and timing would line up with works in development stages untouched by cancellations; conscious that (even in a pre-COVID reality) I had been anticipating this momentum from the cumulative combination of (years and years of) fostered relationships, percolation of ideas and raw stubborn persistence.
On hovering /
Whilst I stare ahead at an arts sector in disarray, I am also at my most ambitious yet – ambition as understood where these things are present all at once –
Fear and desire in equal measure, and the tension between – desire marked by the want to want;
A thrill or frisson that stirs in your belly and shows up on the hair of your skin;
To do things I don’t yet know;
To challenge the (perceived and known) boundaries of status quo – in artform, structure, rules and definition.
A score for ambiguity
In many ways, artists have always sought the unknown.
But what happens when we get placed in an unknown we were not looking for?
We go back to practice. We revisit our process. And we refine.
One day at a time. Again and again. Over and over.
In the variation of a dramatic arc, so much can and will change.
Every time you think you’ve worked something out, you find something else you don’t yet know.
And neither pleasure, nor joy, nor desire is static; but to travel alongside –
I’ve grown to be a lot better with ambiguity; I’ve learnt instead to look for clarity, not certainty.
And the only thing I can be constant about is to remain curious, generous and kind.
And this is my score for another day.
Image courtesy of the artist.