You might remember this poem/collage from February. Still my favourite, still gives me a happy spark of rightness. I don't know what a wild blooded dreamer is, I don't think there's anything I need to know. I just like the idea of it. It's enough.
Can you believe I'm two months away from finishing a Master's degree? Me either. My supervisors either, I suspect, given the amount of work I have(n't) sent in thus far.
Which is not the point of my popping in here for a minute (hey! *waves*), not the point of the wild blooded dreamers. One thing I'm learning about in my academic work is how thin the gossamer veil is between our imaginary worlds and our factual ones; the point of imaginary worlds, the psychological wisdom in them. They're all a part of 'lived' experience. And I've come to agree with Tolkien, that we only recognise what is fantasy because we know what is fact, that they are built on the same rational foundation even though their uses, their outcomes, the clothes they end up wearing, can look so very different.
The wild blooded dreamers. Do you remember that Howard Thurman quote, the one about not asking what the world needs, but what makes you come alive? Because what the world needs is people who have come alive? Another favourite, though over time what I have come to understand about the whole "live your dream" schtick is so complicated and full of provisos - such a privileged point of view, and one that is built on the labour of people without the option to dream, let alone to live them. There is no denying the fact that I am privileged. Enormously, ridiculously so. Look at me, sitting here babbling away about anything I feel like babbling away about, with my fancy camera and my laptop (thanks KT) and the resources to study what I want to study and to whichever educational level I decide on. I'll probably carry on to a doctorate, I'll probably get funded for it (touch wood), I'll probably spend the next three years indulging in thinking and creating and writing and getting rewarded by society for doing all of the above. Ridiculous, ridiculous, privilege. I will also work hard yes, but I could be working hard at cleaning toilets to scrape together a basic living that doesn't quite cover the fundamentals. Hard work doesn't discount privilege.
So, here's the conclusion I have come to: understanding the privilege is a good thing, accepting it as a responsibility is even better. The point is not so much how lucky I am, but what I am going to do with that luck? And here we are back to Thurman, to stories, to blogging, to study, even to my fancy wee camera. I've always believed in the importance of story, but having spent so much time with narrative psychology this last year, it is beyond question to me that is central to the human psychological experience, all human psychological experience. It orders chaos, offers meaning, teaches, empathises, challenges, provides options, makes space for alternatives. Provides escape where there is need for escape, and as Tolkien also said, who but a jailer would protest escape? I used to think what made me come alive, the silly whimsical fantastical nonsense like that line in the poem above - carry the longing to the souls of ranging stars - was mere frivolity. And it can be just that, my point is it doesn't have to be. And my responsibility is to take the nonsense seriously, to find the stories, understand them, tell them. As many and as much as I can, to as many people and as often as I can. Nothing new there, even if I understand it in a new way.
I know a lot of people will continue to think it all frivolous on my behalf. I won't defend myself beyond what I've written here, today. What I think about those people is that they don't really understand what it means. And that they don't have to.
And for this blog, what I have been thinking about in the last few weeks since I wrote about not being sure of the point of being here anymore, is that there is a point, but it's a very different point than the one there used to be. I had the wrong motivation for a lot of it, but lets leave that sleeping dog to lie. I'm older and more content than I used to be, and I've moved on from many of the activities and social circles I used to inhabit. I've changed, grown, and that's normal and good and to be expected. But I think I was trying to hold on to the past here. I don't like letting go of relationships, even relationships with a blog, even relationships with Past Me. But I need to.
I wish her well, that anxious, well meaning, basket case I once was. She did her best, and in the end, she also got us here, content in our work and happy in our loves and confident in our worth. If not always, then often enough. Bless her.
I'm not leaving the scent of water. I'm just changing it. I don't have much time to write here like I used to, to make and create and draw and paint and garden. And I won't have much time in the future either. I've thought about what I still need, what I will have time for, what the scent of water as a metaphor has come to mean. It used to mean hope in desolation - god, how depressed was I? - and now I think I want it to mean creative renewal. To mean challenge and invigoration and stimulation. Go-juice for the artistic soul.
At a practical level (because if I just leave it to the impulse of the moment, we will carry on flailing in circles) what I want to do is a perpetual 'project'. A part of me loathes the idea of projects, but the best year of blogging I ever had was the year I wrote something every day as a 365 challenge, even if it was a complete shit of a year otherwise. What I have decided on for the forseeable future is that every Monday I will have a planned activity or prompt, something creatively challenging to complete, and every Monday I will take pictures of it and tell you about what I did, what I thought while I did it, what else it makes me think of. And riff on my life in general because, hey. It's still me. I hope it will stimulate and challenge others too, but that's not the purpose.
The reason I've written all I did above is almost as a warning, a small caution for the unsuspecting. Because I've been holding back for years now, keeping my weird small in order not to freak anyone out too much. But I need my weird, she's my biggest strength and solace and source of inspiration. I think I'm strong enough now to cope with the vulnerability that will come from letting her grow publicly, because I know she will not be universally loved. Sad face. And I know she will be a little challenging sometimes for me as much as anyone. Not always, probably not even often, but if I want to grow my imagination to use in my academic and public work, there will be times when her wildness might be more provocative (or merely irritating) than it is comforting. Or her silliness, etc. She's born of faerie land, my weird, and fairie land is not the soft happy-ever-after Disney has taught us to believe in. Tolkien, again: Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. Not a nice place, if an adventurous one.
The version of me you're more familiar with will likely still hang out on Instagram; there are always things to be knitted and flowers to photograph. Always.
I'll start on the 30th May - I have a lot of thesis work to do and mostly have just May to do it in. Should be doing it as we speak. I'll also interact more with my FaceBook page as part of the project, for links and comments that are connected to the work here but don't fit the post itself. I have no idea how long it going to last before its time to move on to the next thing - years I imagine - but that's all part of the adventure. And I'm going to archive the past couple of years of this blog, as I have done before, as a way to draw a line between the old and the new. There's a search tool in the archives, if ever you want to go back to something I've made or said, it'll all still be there. And of course, yes. Change that header. I'm always for a header change.
I might even change the address - paying for a blog when Blogger is free and so much better than it used to be irks me. But that's a major move, with major consequences, so I'll wait on that one for a while longer.
So, Mr Thurman, back to your question. What makes me come alive? Following the wild blooded dreamers. Every wild blooded time.