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Pivot

So much anxiety.

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Even here, in this small town Shire-like piece of Ontario, we dutifully find our regular dose of Fox news or its equivalent so we can chew on our worry in a bizarrely informed way.

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If not Fox or Sinclair and the suspicious smell of fascism, or the use of our tax dollars to bail out yet another oil pipeline through the wilderness project, then about Stan the heavy-bearded wanderer toasting muttered anarchy with Listerine; about the goose wandering alone for a month in the open field; the pencil thin young woman entering then leaving the methadone clinic to the profit of some private business person who would rather she stay addicted.

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The young, ballcapped man, tight with sloppy rage, yanks an aging woman out of a broken down house, her shirt still open to a tan-coloured pushup bra.  Every window in the house is smashed.

Here in the shire, on my way to the store for cream.

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We share our news in the bank lineup, the grocery store, the gas station like chatter over an undertow of unease… is any belief system, economic system, political system, educational system not showing signs of extreme erosion, even as others crumble?

It’s not just the climate that’s changing (…weather’s odd for this time of year, doesn’t feel right….).

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Today a friend asked, “What do you know for certain?”.  About anything, she meant.  Gave me pause.

I said that I suspect I have a working theory about how things change, but certainly no certainly.

Whatever work I’ve been able to accomplish – internal and external – in these past few years has been a more or less messy mobius of intention, action, and reflection.  All three balanced and juggled like plates or knives, never still, never dropped.  But this is abstract.

Think.  Choose.  Do.  Think again.  Do differently, Think.  Choose again. et cetera.

My working theory is that, A) pivot points occur only in the doing. 

B) well-considered doing (not just ‘busy-ness’) is an effective antidote to worry.


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I seek privacy

I seek privacy while I taste these new things.  These ideas and thoughts that co-mingle inside my being, each one changing the colour and tone of the one before, sparking new thoughts in marvellous chemical reactivity. 

More like alchemy, it feels.  As though I’m levitated, it feels.

All of this internal, so I have few words – there are no words in fact, at this point, to describe the changes in me.  My feelings are volatile, powerful enough to do damage, and yet I know they must be felt as they are, acknowledged, contained, allowed to move.  I do not happily sit in conversation these days for fear I might erupt.  I’m sure people who don’t know me well think I’m the same as I was.

Artistic Citizenship (Elliott, 2017); Engaging in Community Music (Higgins &Willingham, 2017); Teaching to Transgress (Hooks, 1994); Pedagogy of Hope (Freire, 1992); I am Woman (Maracle, 1996); Unsettling Canada (Manuel, Derrickson, 2015); The Mother of all Questions (Solnit, 2017); Remixing the Classroom (Allsup, 2016); Success for All… (New Zealand – Rakena, 2015); Women’s Work, The First 20,000 Years (Wayland Barber, 1994); Klee Wyck (Carr, 1941); at least twenty mind-changing journal articles from all over the planet (1996 to 2017)…

For these ideas to take, they need to spark, and oh, but they are.  This is not a mental exercise, but a heart-based one. I’m not new to academics, but I have been away from the process for some decades, in which time I obtained some common sense about the way things work.  Heart first.  Then mind.

Then Voice.


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Colour Pages #3: inside blue

Blue is internal.

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It’s the other side of sunlight, where solitude lives.

Demons also live there.  If you don’t make friends with the demons and fully acknowledge their right to live in the shadows, they grow malevolent.  Eventually, inevitably the malevolence comes to find you in the dark, biting.

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This is an excellent method for self-administered shock therapy, though it can be very dangerous.  The fallout is messy, often requiring years of clean-up.

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If you can imagine the colours of this painting inversed,  then you get a window into what was happening in my world while I painted it- some very serious shock-therapy at the time (two years ago now, and the cleanup is progressing nicely, thank you).

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A blue story might happen in the shadows under an overpass and never be told.  In a rich dream barely remembered in the morning, blue would be the awareness of vulnerability.  Blue is a difficult question left unasked, a knot of trauma buried in your body and waiting to be acknowledged.

It’s slippery and changeable, the blue of shadow, of vulnerable.  It beckons….what IS that in the corner?  under the bed, in the basement, in the closet…

from #Selfie (2014). inverse image of me on white indian cotton.

from #Selfie (2014). inverse image of me on white indian cotton.

But if you turn on the light, blue is gone.  It does not survive glare.

So, gentle blue.  Patient, kind, tender.  Blue of sadness just before sleep, when a small thing is remembered from the day and filed in a dream.  Blue of rich and enduring peace, as deep and calm as the ocean floor.  Restful blue, healing blue.

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The blue of silent, joyful, floating surrender, unwitnessed by anyone but yourself.   This is the blue that connects you in the most profoundly human way to everything else in the ecosystem you are an integral part of.


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My Ugly

i used to identify with the glamour I can pull up out of my performance joy, as though it was the best part of me. It certainly got the most attention.


Now I think of it more like one of many essential ‘functions’.  A runner learns how to run, or a digger to dig- I’m a musician. so performance is a muscle I learned to identify and then make good use of.  I’m only now beginning to to understand that it’s not the point.


Gandalf uses glamour to great effect (greater in the books) when he absolutely needs to make certain that what he’s saying is heard and understood.  He gets bigger, more dominant, more resonant.  A performance.  But not the point.


There are deeper things in me that are far more essential, valuable, and private.  They include My Ugly which I spar with in deadly contests more often than I care to acknowledge.

I have grown a deep respect for My Ugly over the years.  She has taught me more than anyone else, and is wiser than I will ever be.


I feel like the ocean tonight.  As though the surface of me has nothing to do with who I am- it’s just a reflection of everything else.