Trouble the Beauty I’m glad July 2019 has happened, and I’m just as glad it is done. Feels like I put in five or more hours every night in heavy emotional weight-training at the “Know Thyself” YWCA. Felt like I’d be there forever, grunting & whimpering through gut crunches, then woke up this morning with a clear head, a well-scheduled way forward and a lighter backpack. Good. Phew. Ready to move on. New media, new messes. Non-Dominant hand drawings, con’text’ual explorations inspired by Klee. Stuff from the backpack. To ‘trouble’ a thing is to shake it up, turn it upside down, backwards and forwards. The wind troubled the sea. Maybe like taking the idea of dyslexia and applying it consciously to an idea or a belief, or to self-understanding; ?…fi neppah dulow thaW – I used this to apply words to drawings, inspired in part by Paul Klee . non-dominant hand drawing; rhythmic. More stuff from the backpack. A super-accurate description of process in studio work, or writing, or music making – to deliberately ‘trouble’ anything that feels not-right, out of place, incomplete, unfair (as in Trouble the hyphen between researcher — researched – Thank you, Hess, 2017). Through the resulting trouble-dance find a new, often radical way of appreciating what you observe. a luncheon drawing involving five of us. Three rounds, in pairs, non dominant hand, look at your partner, not the paper. One round was backwards writing. July ‘troubled’ me, quite thoroughly. More like an ocean-floor earthquake than the wind on the surface, but then again I invited this, on purpose. Back from Europe, I looked at my work, and there was something .. not right about it – I think because my understanding of me and the world had shifted so radically in the previous six months. So I strapped myself in and (‘be careful what you…) asked for Trouble. Was heard and answered, Thank you. It would have been far far worse if Trouble hadn’t come. So now a new garden is planted for the months and years ahead, with a better understanding of the way this garden can and will grow. There’s more light in the dark forest I wander in, mostly blindly, and I have a deeper understanding of what ‘abundance’ actually is. I’m in it. I am the epicentre of my abundance, actually; it doesn’t exist for me anywhere else. That’s the way it works. I think each of us has an idea of beauty specific to our own experience. This tragic cultural imposition of what our lives are supposed to look like, according to what others’ lives look like, or according to a list of things ‘acquired’ (spouse, house, job, sex, degrees, money, invitations to parties, travel…. ) is a heartbreaking distraction from that personal, internal sense of what matters to us. The threads of our own personal stories really are important. Our idea of what is meaningfully beautiful to us, matters. I suspect that this innate sense of meaningful beauty is the guide that ‘troubles’ us, in the way we are meant to be troubled. If we follow that guide, we can pick up the thread of our personal story, and trouble that, too. The thread becomes a rope, becomes a path, becomes a lane. Or maybe a troubling drip that becomes a trickle, then a rivulet, then a stream, then a creek that leads to a lake where you can float your boat. Who do you speak for? Who speaks for you, if you cannot or choose not to speak for yourself? Who is the author of your story, other than you?