permanence?

Writing grants instead of working in the studio which is where I yearn to be. So as a break and with your indulgence I’ll share a list of some learned things from this CoVid self-isolation summer.

I have only a handful of decent insights – notes to self – that pull their weight for me. Looking forward to comparing these notes with others’, since we’ve all been navigating. In the meantime, randomly…

Thinking with just your mind is wildly overrated.

Sea Legs, if you want to function when the ground keeps shifting: you need to find them.

Anchor yourself with a flexible sense of humour, and functioning – at any level – is a lot easier. Use discernment in all things, but specifically the things you put into your mind, your heart and your body: information, love, food.

Trust your intuition, especially if it’s running against the prevailing cultural current. Rest when you can; move your body regularly and with appreciation.

Grant writing has changed only a little. It’s still a translation of a lovely round idea into a fixed number of words that give it square corners, like a stamp or a block. That said, writing and submitting applications is an extremely useful exercise – I would recommend it to all artists who want their work to resonate with other people – translation, like objectivity, is necessary. And it’s your job.

We still use the word Merit as though it justifies a subjective judgement, as though the idea of a meritocracy was EVER more than a way to support the Eurocentric worldview of white people (mostly men) and at the expense of all other people. Language is full of antiquity though, and I’m sure a better word will be found.

Habits are interesting. Invisible little nasty-sweets posing as daily comforts. Some are seriously dangerous addictions, disguised as fluffy quilts that were handed down from your ancestors. Others are regular ways to hide yourself away in a fold of time. Oh, I always do this at 4pm….

Habits tend to support a conflated ego, which is what makes them so damned difficult to unravel and repurpose. They are reliable, reassuring and extremely difficult to resist if you’re feeling vulnerable. but The thing that makes them habits and not rituals (which are conscious and deliberate) turns them into a hole in your memory. The more you rely upon them, the larger the hole gets.

I don’t think habits are the same as naps. I could be wrong.

Also:

Rain is like love. Nourishing, and not always comfortable.

Water is like music.

Life is good,
especially when it’s challenging.

The deep rain

Even the loud old fridge is drowned out by straight-down-rain.  Not sheets and thunder and driving – but a rain that will drench us for days, soaking the soil, swelling the creeks, rising the shoreline of Georgian Bay above the sad sorry rocks that appeared this spring, covering their nakedness once again.  It is 12 minutes from midnight, and in this place water rules the world.

blurrymorning

After days and days of standing sweat this is the moment we’ve felt was coming. Come it has, all the way from the Rockies and the Purcells.  This same deep rain has fallen down through the foothills of Alberta into the basements of Calgary houses which are now buried in the mud and the death of water, their downstairs dens & offices rendered useless, their keepsakes now garbage-bin bound with the reminder: nothing is forever.

Three vast Canadian Provinces to the east, we are nowhere near a floodplain. Our houses are built on the bones of ancient sea creatures, layer upon layer of them still pushing up through the soil along the northeasterly curve of the Michigan Bowl. Half a mile to the east of this table lies the cold and deep of Georgian Bay, fed by a thousand thousand rivers, swelling now in ever-generous acceptance of more and more and more.  Here, we are nourished by the same deep rain.

This rain comes from God – from a place where the details of human life have no meaning.  This rain, heavy on our metal roof and our gardens is the consistent, inexorable kind of rain that erodes illusion and denial, lays bare the bones inside of a feeling.  What is laid bare becomes an honest offering on the altar of Acceptance:  Ah. I see, now.

Fog_wtoyotakey

I’m almost cross-eyed with tiredness after a long long day of listening to music, tweaking arts business strategies, watching baton twirlers, karaoke tweens, future head boys (also a few who could command world change but opt instead for just pitching in to the school talent show for now until they’re good and ready to save us all) – teach, rehearse, promote, schedule, rehearse, cajole, listen, play, insist, back off, stifle two yawns, spark a few ideas, accept two challenging projects, steer clear of others….  a day in the life of all who work in the vast, unquantifiable ocean of The Arts.  Always satisfying, sometimes enthralling, mostly just a lot of good, clean, decent work.

The idea that diverted me from the sleep I should be in right now hovers around the concept of muscle memory.

In the process of teaching the fingers of my left hand to think differently so that I can play the fast bits of the Faure Elegie,  I’ve learned that my mind has also developed deep muscled habits that no longer serve well.  Several of these were paths laid first in my childhood, and are now like canyons…

Ah.  Yes I see, now.  To change my mind – this will take a great deal of steady steady work.

So, tonight in the deep dark rain I stand before the Altar of Acceptance, and on it I offer my love –  for the terrible, astonishing beauty of Change.