I find it far easier to exist when my brain isn't cluttered with random smatterings of phrases, deadlines, mistakes, faces, everything that makes up the few million images stored in the sliver of my brain that I actually use. My physical surroundings often dictate the influence of this mental clutter - needless to say it's been a chaotic 08. We're almost there with the flat, after a mind-numbingly expensive trip to IKEA, and by the time I get back things will have begun to make sense, at least in the physical realm.
The mental? Let's just say my creativity has been better.
I'm often amazed that things blossomed so well in Shetland, stuffed into a tiny box with bad lighting and a weird roommate situation. Somehow I managed to push through two books; of course, the distractions in Shetland were few, and the land inspiring in a comfortable, unobstructive way. It's been more difficult in Inverness.
We got to Chicago last Tuesday, and spent the week meandering its streets, remembering its history, eating fantastic food. Matt left on Sunday and I will stay for two more weeks, awaiting a decision on my UK visa. The stress pushed down on me a few hours ago, when I handed a visa agent my packet of meticulous information and I felt a whoosh of relief, fear, and shock take over my body. It's taken over two months to compile the information required, and hours of going through flight stubs, calendars, photos, and memories to sort out just when and why I was in this or that country, for how long, with whom. I couldn't stop editing my letter with additional information that might aid their decision; I checked and rechecked dates; I re-ordered a stack of plastic sheet protectors again and again. These people now know everything about me. Everything, except my brain. Which they might figure out if I'm called for an interview. Trying to prove your worth with only pieces of paper and words to work with is not an easy task.
Chicago is full of muted energy. These huge stone and glass structures reach so high, creating these valleys of breezes, pushing the scents of nearby ethnic restaurants, car exhaust, and a million stories. I like this place. It's unpretentious, but with all the perks of a big city.
I've started doing The Artist's Way, a book that was trendy with people I knew in Seattle a decade ago. I've been avoiding it for years, but it screamed out to me today. Also bought Art and Fear, as recommended by a friend who is a wise, creative soul. My intention is to re-inspire, to find, perhaps to congratulate, and to free, to allow myself to continue this journey. Do we make art for art's sake? Is it the process of creating, or the finished product that matters? Does it count if I'm the only person who reads it? Or, as I fear most, the only person who cares?
Just discovered the Onion's Sunday Magazine. This one kills me. Of course, it would explain a lot.