I’ve been feeling lost lately.
It could be the collective self-isolation that began months ago, and then progressed week after week. Perhaps it is this ever-present dysthymia that has settled around all of us like volcanic ash after an eruption.
Who can say they haven’t felt a lack of human touch as the distancing became more than physical?
My attitude, I know, is not the only thing affected by negative news of our current pandemic and this general loss of hope.
Last month, as I was visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario after it had just reopened to the public, I found again a glimpse of comfort as I wandered the space in awe (as always) of the magnificent works on the walls or in the corridors.
It was heart-warming to see people (yes, in limited, controlled numbers and always six feet apart) out and about and taking in art.
I went back to the gallery later in the week, and then the week following just to get this feeling again.
Art is my comfort zone; any art.
I realized, while at the AGO, how little of my own art I had created lately.
Yes, I’ve pissed around with some poetry, and I kept up with the daily contributions to this website, but I had not felt like digging deep into my creativity for a while.
I’ve got a few manuscripts in several states of undress; one of them (I’m most certain) is complete but in need of a final read-through. Sometimes you need to give it a break, or some space to breathe, before you go back in and actually label it ‘complete’.
I’ve given this one a bit too much time, I know.
I haven’t been feeling it.
I knew I needed the muse to grab me by the ear and pull me back in, or give me a solid kick in the ass to get me going. Again.
I decided, right then at the gallery, that I needed to motivate myself and set about creating a plan for August to settle into art and pull myself back to the land of the living.
Art can do that. I just wasn’t allowing art to do it to me.
So beginning August 1 (which already feels like weeks ago), I began taking my camera with me on my warning wanders through this city. I also, on that day, as soon as I woke, sat down with a brand new notebook and wrote for 30 minutes straight (at least), just how I used to do back in the original days, six years ago, when a group of humble souls from across this planet gathered together online for 30 days of writing.
I needed to push myself.
In the past couple of days, I’ve regained familiarity with my camera and lenses. I have pulled out my paints and amused myself with colour and composition.
I mindfully began creating art without judgment, and intend to do so for the remainder of the month. Of course I will go beyond the 31 of days August (or I feel, right now, that I will) but I’m only thinking of the present at the moment and plan on ignoring everything else that is going on around me as I immerse myself in art.
It may seem selfish, I know, but I’m calling it self-care.
I’ve got art to create and to see.
I’ve got reading to do, a life to revisit, and a person to be.
I need art not to complete me, but to be the complete “me”.