7.10 am (half term holidays woke at 6.45am)

Went to bed early,  woke at eleven to cries of cramp from Syd. I got him to jump around a bit to get the circulation going in his leg, and then I tucked him back in bed, he was half sleep.

It was so good to sleep all the way through the night, no fever in the early morning, no bananas or warm milks to fetch, no pyjamas to change.

The washing chugs around, occasionally a zipper clanks against the glass door. It is a comforting chug. Many cars zoom there way to work. Its not frosty, but it looks cold, the sky is grey and the clouds are shifting.

Yesterday felt hopeful, there was frost and sun and blue and clumps of snow drops. I sat with a chick on my knee the biggest most excited child there was on the straw bales.

I thought that I would give up with the writing today. I thought that I would leave a blank, say that I was tired, had had enough, no time or head space over the holidays. I thought that there would be nothing to say. I wake and words begin to form sentences. To compose strings of meaning. I have to write about hurt, about how words can hurt.

Even if I write “I do not wish to cause any harm, I do not wish to cause an argument”, even if that is my intention, its not enough, its not good enough, clever enough. I have to find a subtle way around this issue of honesty. How can you be honest without causing hurt? Perhaps it is impossible to write honestly without causing hurt? This project that is meant to be a piece of durational art work stretching over of 365 days, writing about me, my family, how I see the world, but perhaps its not possible.

I need to question  ethics. My partner feels uncomfortable with me writing about him, he is a very private person. I have crossed a line. I have made him feel cross. I realise my mistakes, I understand his point of view. I will try and write just about me, about my perspective, not about him. I need to find some direction on this, my writing is clunky and do it yourself, my words are simple, I find fiction hard. Stories begin somewhere in the real world. My stories need to tread  more carefully. Its immature of me to write about adult disagreements. Its not fair on you, I am sorry. Please find this public declaration of sorry meaningful.

Is all of this just too too personal?Art needs to look outwards as well as inwards. It needs to communicate to a wide audience. Is this didactic? Its not just my partner, its the children too, I need to carefully consider them all. I am blundering about, stumbling and picking up the mess I leave behind. I’ve already assigned real names to people and places, so its too late, I can retract a little, hold back a while, but I have said too much already and its out there existing, it has a life of its own and I don’t want to erase it.

Writers make up names and characters, they write fiction, they leave things a while, reflect, let the dust settle, edit out, put back in, weave words around the made up, the imagination. What is fact? What is fiction? What is record? What is document? Am I making one big colossal mistake? I will try another approach, I will try to consider words with care. I will look back over what I have written before clicking publish, I will protect myself and my own. A mother needs to protect, a mother should protect, have I stepped too far? Are my actions un-motherly, have I been bad? I wanted to be bad, but is this madness to write in this way, each day? I need to tread lightly through life, so as not to hurt.

I get hurt too. I get hurt by rejection. An artists needs a thick skin, they need to be both sensitive but be able to manage rejection. Artists need not take rejection too seriously, they need to push forward and beyond the no’s and crosses and not good enough.

There are always doors closing. Why do doors close? Who are the gate keepers ? What makes some work  not high enough a quality to make its way through to a shortlist, to an interview to a place on a wall, to recognition? I have decided that it all boils down to personal taste I like it, I don’t like it. Next. If its not about personal taste, then its about ego and power and money and that some art is just so naughty so dangerous so transgressive that it makes people nervous and they don’t want to sit beside it, it makes them feel too uncomfortable, it would be embarrassing, it would be too much of a risk to say you know what this is ok, it works, it communicates, its great, it should be seen. It speaks.

I have found that representing myself, my own work is the only way forward. Let my work not be judged, let it not be censored, let my work be seen.

Beep beep beep…..beep beep beep…………………………….







  • Julie Rose

    what if you are perfect exactly as you are? and what if we don’t need recognition on the outer but we already know it on the inner? and what if when we know it deep inside our core it is mirrored outside of us without effort? you could continue to write a blog but keep it private and only share some artwork that has been created alongside? i know i am uncomfortable to continue my blog too as i want to write more openly and honestly but would prefer to keep some of it to myself. so i then question whether to have any blog at all. however i did receive some wonderful compliments about my blog recently from a friend who said she thought it was wonderful and it uplifted her certainly.

    • Helen Sargeant

      For artists work to be seen, to be valued there has to be a push towards recognition. The art work is produced regardless of recognition but still it wants to be seen to be heard to exist. Artists want their work to be out there to be seen in a pubic place,that is some of the motivation behind its making, a need and desire to communicate and to express the inner workings of an individual mind.
      A blog is a good way of getting around some of the many barriers that stand in the way of a voice being heard. If I want to publish it, I can, I don’t need to ask anyone else’s permission, to say is this ok, is this good enough? I am solely responsible for my own art, my own voice and actions. I like the freedom that this gives, and I like that the thoughts in my head can be emptied, can be placed in a space that I feel is important to the process of my arts practice. I am happy that I am not perfect, and writing this making mistakes, failing, stumbling, mumbling, falling and recognising that, makes me closer to what it is that makes me and others human and confirms to myself the value of my arts practice. Why it is I continue to write and to make. The importance of a voice that is not just inward looking but works outward and hopefully helps others find meaning in a complicated world.

  • Morgan

    Thank you for your honesty. I relate hugely! Both with the struggles of writing about your family, and the privacy issues around that – and with what you say about closed doors. Having recently written a very honest book about motherhood and its struggles, and blogging about this on an ongoing basis, I am grappling with the same issues.

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