Existential dilemmas never come at the right time do they. Neither do they come with any great pronouncements, and for me they take me right to  the edge of giving up. Giving up on my work, giving up on other people, giving up on my art, giving up on myself. For me the existential crisis is a familiar beast when I reach the other end. It can make me angry, sad, careless… it comes to me in so many forms over the years this ‘what is the point of it all’ crisis. This time it came with such loneliness I cannot describe. I felt the only thing holding me to the planet and stopping me floating off into oblivion, unnoticed and unmissed, was the weight of my children needing mum.

Why do I document this? Because I need to make a cairn to mark this point so if I stumble in the fog again I can find this and stay on the path. I place a large stone atop my cairn here. It marks the edge. It marks this point for me and it stands as a guide to others who may come this way. There has been someone before you. That someone almost lost their way, they stumbled and found the very edge. My edge is not a tumble down a hole. It is the floating off into endless space – no end , no bottom, no touch, no sound, no light. They talk of a bottomless pit, that never-ending fall waiting for the bottom to collide with. What when you watch everything recede from you instead. How lonely can that be to still see it all further and further away and out of reach and no-one looks up to notice as it was such a quiet thing letting go.

Anyhow. I emerge. I need the blog to act as intermediary. The journal… I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. I become too maudlin. I need the focus of the blog. What doesn’t the course need? Well, I need more from the course than the course needs of me so this is how it has to be. If I fail for saying too much, I think I can live with that. If I am confined to the page and succeed with a watered down version of myself I will feel I’ve sold out; betrayed  myself to a need for proving to another that I can. I’ve stared loneliness down this month. She’s  soulless ghoul. Behind her stands grief, grief has no eyes but is all wound.

And wounds… you don’t scare me. I see you now and I’m ready to do battle with your insidious invisibility. You will be visible.

16 thoughts on “Incubation

  1. A small voice reaching.

    The course is for you, for your purposes. What would be the point if we become less than ourselves? OCA has its agenda, and has to, but we’re not academic institutions.

    Empty space, pinpricks of light winking out, gasping for air. Do you have the expression “the black dog” there? Good to make a cairn, a reminder and a promise.

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    1. Yes, we have the expression “the black dog”. Wasn’t it one of the ww2 fighter pilots who coined the phrase? They would have had to muscle over Fear in a stark manner. Thank you for your words. Good to read them at this time.


  2. Lottie, we’re here and holding on. I was getting worried about where you’d gone and now I know. I’m glad you’re back. Totally with you on using the blog however it suits you, the course is a means to an end, a way marker not a destination. I’m pondering what else to say as I sort out the school run x

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  3. I was puzzled by a comment on Nina’s blog from her tutor Rebecca that what we write on the learning log should not be personal, which seemed to echo comments from my ATV tutor about my blog. But what else is this course and our art if not personal? This has been bothering me for a while and your post here has helped me see it’s nonsense, at least as I read it. The log is about learning and art and us and this post exemplifies why it works. You’re back from the edge and you’re here with us. The blog helps. End of story.
    And thank you for the cairn. A tricky place that edge, it looms up at you and draws you in. I’ll look out for your cairn next time I stray that way and maybe build one of my own next to it.

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    1. Maybe there’ll be a little barrier of cairns one day to keep us all safe!

      I think I lose it for a while. Trying to function. Trying to do the right thing. Then reality gets so obscure and ridiculous that my safety mechanism kicks in. The ‘f#$& it’ principle. Saved me on quite a few times and now going to put it into play with what I need from the blog! If for me to be me I have to use the blog as a sounding board well, bleep it, I will. Can’t ever make myself fit someone’s desired shape for me ever again. Bloomin awkward saves the day 😊

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  4. I think many of us have spent time in that neighbourhood. Perhaps we can all bring stones, build a ruddy mountain, and reach to each other when in need.

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  5. I think it is the ‘kind’ of personal that is the key. I feel your writing is an essential part of your work. I think that is why we have been missing that voice. It was as if you had stopped creating art. Art is words. But the ‘personal’ that is perhaps less wanted on the blog is the unprofessional kind of personal….with unrelated pictures of family reunions and such things – unless, of course, that is part of you subject matter. I have been told that my blog has recently improved because I brought more of myself into it – of course my starting point was pretty low. But in comparison, in my humble opinion, you run a very committed blog that is all about the art.

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    1. Going to try…can’t work it out any other way! I’ve had enough of hitting brick walls…they’re not very revealing of much other than it hurts!


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