Light

 

That liminal moment when it is no longer night time but daytime.
The quiet outside pierced by bird sounds before the gentle hum of traffic builds.
When do I no longer try and get more sleep but roll over and cuddle the cat, stroking her fluffy tummy until she bites me?
This is a time that holds infinite promise of what might become of the day, any dream residue fades as I forcibly blink my eyes open.

I refuse to turn on a lamp or overhead bulb. What’s the point? Nature provides a more gentle approach if only I can swing my legs out of bed and stumble to open the heavy curtains. My organized sister bought herself a smart lamp that she controls via an app on her phone. Programmed to gradually increase the illumination to allow the body to wake gently, it does the reverse in the evening. A return to pre-electricity peasant days perhaps.

My mother will tell you that I’ve never been a morning person like she is. She likes to divide our family into morning and non-morning people. Her category is naturally superior. Morning people get more achieved, are better organized and nicer to be around apparently. I will argue that society is set up for morning people, whilst my B-section of society is actively discriminated against. How is possible that students and employees are expected to be useful contributors at the ungodly hour of 9am every day? There is no consideration for individual bio-rhythms.

My brain doesn’t kick in until after I’ve had breakfast at the decent hour of 10am, and that is only for errands and procedural activities. The creativity quadrant doesn’t switch on until afternoon at best. My eyes need these light-filled hours to soak in stimuli before it can process the information and regurgitate something useful. I call this time pre-thought. It’s a passive time of reading, watching, walking and not actively thinking. The morning is the time to do this. The particular quality of a.m. sunlight is vastly different to the afternoon. Time has a different scale. It is neither always quicker nor always slower. It ebbs and flows as it pleases.

Cats have the ideal approach to daylight. They seek out slim patches of sunlight and stretch out, recharging their batteries. Naturally solar-powered they expend this energy overnight as they chase each other around the house. I’m sure the grey one sits on my bed, staring at me in disbelief as to why I would want to waste the darkness sleeping.

On hungover mornings though, the sun has a new vicious character altogether. Day always comes too soon. It harsh, too-bright rays refused to be contained behind the drapes. My eyes pierced by the light as I fall out of bed, trip over the grumpy cat and search for the bathroom which seems to have somehow moved overnight. I don’t want to look in the mirror but I know I must confess my sins. Black rimmed panda eyes, mouth that feels like I’ve been licking a wild dog, hair that I don’t even recognize. I blame the artificial bathroom lights above the mirror. These globes are produced to offend surely. Nobody wants that much detail in a reflection.

As I get older, I’ve learnt how to avoid these type of mornings more. Two nurofen and a large glass of water before bed OR not drinking as much – who knew. The daylight is inevitable so I am the variable in this equation. I’m the one that can change and much to my mother’s surprise I have.

Somewhere along the line I became a morning person. Not my mum’s sort of morning person, radio on singing to oneself as eggs are cooking. I became my sort of morning person. I had moved out and was living by myself for the first time. No partner to consider, I could arrange furniture as I wished. And so I did. I faced the bed towards the window and left the curtains open. In the morning the chilled air stirred me before dawn and that’s when I discovered it – that liminal time between night darkness and day light.

Word Con 2, novel writing and me

I really enjoyed the presentation by Dr Luke Horton regarding Auto Fiction. I think this is partly how I write. I never thought of it having a particular named style but I know that I certainly draw in many real events and fictionalize them to suit the narrative. Events that happen to me sometimes feel like a ready-made story waiting for dictation.

Looking into this a bit further, it seems many of the books I’ve enjoyed reading stretch into this field – The Sexual Life of Catherine M – Catherine Millet, In Cold Blood – Truman Capote. I would even suggest some of Lilly Brett’s work skirts this line. I’m very much looking forward to Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts.

Though a rushed presentation due to time, the deadline of the timed exercises allowed for no procrastination which is something I often suffer from. The exercise I enjoyed most was inserting me as a character in my novel. It was fun presenting a recognizable version of myself as the annoying, enthusiastic new neighbor.

Overall, I very much enjoy the variety of presentations at Word Con and felt the workshops to be particularly useful. I look forward to the continuation of this event in the future.

nosebleeds


I used to get a fair few nosebleeds when I was a kid and into my teenage years.  I guess they stopped for many years because I can’t really recall it being an issue. Over the last two years they seem to be returning with greater frequency though.

I don’t know why it happens. I can’t predict when it will happen. I don’t have high blood pressure (in fact I tend to have lower than normal blood pressure which has its own implications). I don’t have a cocaine habit or Ebola or any of the other causes that WebMD suggests. Generally I bleed from the left nostril and it stops usually pretty quickly without much effort or fuss. Afterwards I’m left fatigued and a little too crowded in the head.

The internet search was deeply unsatisfying so I widened the search to symbolic meaning of nosebleeds. Now things get a bit more interesting. Apparently I am feeling unrecognised. So I sit and dwell upon this for a bit. No one wants to admit to feeling unrecognised. 

Andy Warhol said that we will all get our 15 minutes of fame. Maybe mine is still to come but let’s assume I’ve had it – what happens now? Does fame constitute recognition? I doubt it in all honesty. I could think of nothing worse than not being able to walk down the street picking or sitting in your car at the lights quietly picking your nose (not that I’d do that as it wouldn’t help the nosebleeding issue) without being recognised and harassed. In fact, I dislike working near where I live as I like my privacy too much. Bad enough that one has to be polite to customers at work.  Goddess forbid I should have to be civil to them on my time.

Okay so if it’s not fame then what does recognition mean to me. Peer and industry recognition perhaps? Not so much of “yes, I’ve heard of Amanda Kennedy the artist” but “You’re an artist. Great . Would love to see/discuss your work”. Or “You’re an artist. Great .  I’ll put you in touch with so and so”. I know that artists are a dime a dozen and art covers such a wide scope. It often feels like I’m wandering alone in the shallows in the dark hoping to catch something with my small hand held net.

It’s taken me a few years to easily answer ‘artist’ when that question of what do I do comes round to me at social gatherings. I can now do it without laughing and actually happily engage with people about how it all works from my point of view. So I guess I’ve started on the first steps of this journey by recognising myself as an artist. It’s now up to me to put that out further into my world and beyond.

Just to be to cover my bases I have my affirmations –
“ Even though I have a need for recognition and feel unrecognized and unnoticed, and I am crying for love, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
I love and approve of myself. I recognize my own true worth. I am wonderful. I recognize my own intuitive ability.” 
(thanks Louise Hay)

And always carry a pack of tissues.

an illuminating few days.

We do what we think is best at the time. When we know better, the important point is to do better.

I’ve had an illuminating few days.

Firstly, I’ve realised that I have the capacity to miss someone. I’ve never missed anyone in my life. I’ve heard the words said to me and heard them convincingly in movies but I’ve never missed anyone. I always thought this was a good thing as it meant I was happy and content in myself not needing anyone to make my life complete.

I’m still happy and content in myself and don’t believe I need anyone to make my life complete but I’ve discovered that I do, in fact, have the capacity to miss someone in my life. Part of it is no doubt is the gap in connection via text, message etc as he was in a different time zone and working to boot. He’s been interstate before for a few days but I didn’t feel it then. Is it where we are in our relationship right now? I don’t know but there’ll be a test when I go overseas in a couple of weeks. Interesting times…..

Secondly, I also was able to spend some time and get some advice from an experienced member of Australia’s art scene. I got some honest feedback and constructive advice. And yes, I am going to take it on. Nothing too unexpected was shared. It was all about taking the next, necessary steps in order to get to the next level.  Now I know better, I’m on my way to doing better.

I’ve learnt a lot recently and I plan to just keep on learning!

What feeds me

How do I feel? Actually I feel very calm. Possibly it’s just asking a deeply hidden anxiety but I don’t think so. I’ve done the work so really there’s nothing more to do right now but cruise into it all.

I’ve been asked to sift through and find some items to place into a cabinet in order to add to my story

          Things that inspire me
          Things that I need
          Things that I write
          Things that I read
          Things I draw
          Things that I play with
          Things I think about

Clearly my blog is all part of this too but I can’t exactly put that inside a glass cabinet. This evening I’ve fished out some old sketch books and marked some pages that I think will work.

I did enjoy the process of hanging and found it all relatively painless. I can see that the miniscule changes could become irritating after awhile but for me the novelty of my first hang was all good.

It’s a gorgeous space in and of itself which doesn’t hurt my euphoria (plus a stunning autumn day). In fact, I did wonder if it being such a classic beauty of a space might overwhelm my work but I felt right in the space.

This afternoon since I got home, I’ve just been taking it easy. I’m in a very relaxed positive mood and one thing I love to take my time doing is to cook. There’s quite a satisfaction to be had in preparing food. My mother had given me home-grown Jerusalem artichokes straight from the garden. Into the sink they went to help ease the dirt from their skin. As I began to peel them with what may have been the world’s sharpest peeler (most fingernails are intact…) I delighted at how fresh they were. Thanks mum! An entire Paul Kelly cd’s worth of songs later and they were peeled, clean, sliced and caramelising nicely in my new copper pan with lashings of organic butter and sprigs of thyme from my front garden. Adding half a litre of vegetable stock and before you know it, a batch of delicious homemade soup for my fridge and a batch for my freezer.

So the link here is that good seasonal produce, mindful preparation and satisfaction of the senses all feed my art and fortunately at the same time – my belly

Reframing

I’ve had some interesting discussions with various people lately about how we get described and how we would describe ourselves. At times, I’ve had words thrown at me that were meant to be an insult and I’ve readily and happily taken them on with my response of “yes, yes I am!”

Now I’m not saying that these below all apply to me. 


Negative                            Positive

aggressive                         assertive
stubborn                            determined/willful
aloof/stand-off-ish              independent
impulsive                           spontaneous
lazy                                  knows how to relax/take things easy
pedantic                            relaxed
hedonist                            knows how to enjoy life
cheap-skate                       thrifty
bossy                                good leader
easily distracted                 open to new ideas
messy                               eclectic design sense
glutton                              gourmand

I’d love to add to the list