7.33 am ( awake since 6.45am)
Sunny morning. Heard the birds singing in the attic. Writing at the table near the window downstairs in the front room. Trying to pull this project back into a sensible routine. Patrick starts a new job on Monday so I will have to get up even earlier and choose between writing and running.
Tired, a glass of cider and a glass or wine is not a good combination and the arguing is always destructive and gets me nowhere. I try to avoid it, not always possible though. Relationships are challenging, even more so when there are children to think of too.
Found a path that leads directly to the hill behind my house, its only taken me ten years to discover it. Scrambled up the hill dotted with rhododendron, bog grass, heather and small gnarly trees clinging to steep slopes. I scared a deer, only fifty yards from me. It stood still. Looked me in the eye, then ran off up hill and out of sight.
I stood near the top of the hill looking down at the triangle of terrace houses that forms the shape of the street where I live. I can see Patrick standing on the step in the back yard smoking, I ring him so that I can wave at Naoise. He liked it, threw his arms up in the air in excitement, though didn’t pause for too long as Clone Wars is much more interesting than staring at your mums siluete on top of a hill.
I like to look down, to get some physical and mental perspective. To see the sky. To make sense of the landscape. I live in the gutter of the valley you need to get up top to truly appreciate the landscape.
I spot another deer.
I see houses in the valley. Sheep ba ba ba and lambs bleeting.
Not sure about this project, my words are clumsy and stumbling and seem dull. Not sure. Perhaps I should abandon the words and just paint. I come from a world of visions not of words. Am I trying to be something I am not. I am not a writer, I am a painter. Painters move between the real and the imagined. I want to slip back into that imaginary world of colour and form and shape and light. Of the unexpected. Of the wild world of the unconscious. This constant describing of the now and the real is dull and boring. Art can be an escape.
I cannot write about everything that is really happening in my life, my words are not honest. This is not an honest portrayal of me. If I was honest I would be able to write about the destructive arguments that I have, the pain that it causes me, how it stops me from working and making and breathing and managing to just live. I am stiffled by my situation. Have I created it? Perhaps I am responsible for some of its narrative but not all. You cannot always choose, life sometimes chooses its path for you. Its probably silly to think that we really have any control of it.
I wish I could have a certificate that said I had worked for the last six years, I know I have. I know that because its unpaid care work that it does not count in the eyes of employers or partners or banks. It does not add up. It has no monetary value. And making my art work this too currently has no value. No monetary value. So that is what I need to change.
I can sell my services but I haven’t found a way of selling my work. Even selling my services seems impossible right now. Perhaps I live in the wrong place. Perhaps there is no demand for what I do, for what I offer. Perhaps its hard to sell. Maybe I simply do not work hard enough ? If you can think of a way that I could make some money please let me know, all I need to do is pay my bills.
I yearn to be financially independent again, I hate being trapped. I miss working within academia. I was so so good at it, I loved teaching. I cannot give up, I have to carry on, this is all I know, its all that I have found that I am good at, and I have so much knowledge to share, so much passion and enthusiasm and sensitivity and thought.
All this will have been wasted if I cannot find a route forward. There must be some paid work that I can do there must be someone that would employ me. Some little simple thing that would fit between my child care and home responsibilities. I am fed up. I value my work, care work, mothering work, creative work, why is it that I have to constantly convince myself, justify my position.
Raising children is not anything to do with money is it ? I thought that it was to do with love and consistency and security. Money helps smooth the path, but its not everything. Is it ? Do I have to buy back my own life? My life is in debt.I have borrowed from the future to try and live in the now. I had no choice. I had no decision in it. Do I sound naive ? Possibly I am. Do I sound spoilt ? Perhaps I am. Probably. I have never found myself here before. Life is made up as you go along, isn’t it? Or is yours planned? Does everything fit into place and does it all work out the way you wanted it too?
If I get stressed everything collapses, I cannot work or think or concentrate. Perhaps in your eyes I am a failure. Its ok to fail. It is. We are obsessed with success. What is success and what is failure? Perhaps everything is at the point of collapse. Everything is transitory. Everything changes. Everything is a cliche. Everything that is human is vulnerable and insecure, but we pretend to be quite the opposite. We live life like blind rats chasing our tails.
Look at the earth it is in trouble, we are in trouble. We are living on a tiny blue planet on a path to destruction. STOP> THINK> ACT>
Get your head together Helen. This is no good. Its not good enough.
A cat got hit by a car on the road near our house. It is a big beautiful black and white tom cat. I’m not sure who the owner is. On my return home, I notice that its body has been removed. I hope that it found its place with its family. Nothing worse than a pet that vanishes into the unknown.
I am aware that I am ranting. I wanted to write about art and about the wild, about boys playing outside, about Lord of the Flies and about Leonora Carrington. Instead I wrote this. Leonora can wait until I have been to look at her paintings at the Tate in Liverpool.