Saturday, 19 July 2014

Another year

I remember doing a post exactly this time last year. As I explained then, this is a weird time of year for me, and I have a feeling I'm not alone. I am taking stock of what has happened in the last year and trying to gather my thoughts for the next year. The academic year has, after a gap of over 20 years, caused a shift in the calendar in my head and I do suppose it is probably a more positive time of year to be doing an annual evaluation of one's life than 31st December. It is also small girl's birthday today and there is nothing like your child's birthday to turn your head to the past.

I haven't written to you for a while, not because nothing has happened, but because I guess I feel a bit of a fraud. I started this blog to partner my budding felting career, and I've done just the one - no two - pictures this year. I do like the blogging thing but who would really want to read my brain gently unravelling, if it's not focussed on a targeted audience? Ah well let's do it anyway. Oh and before I go off on a tangent, here is the latest picture, done in June for the exhibition in Flax Bourton (or strictly speaking, the best section of the picture - reminder to self to chop off the other two chickens and frame just this one):-

I get the feeling that I can point my creativity towards just one area at a time. Sometimes it could be cooking, sometimes (though not for a while) felting, sometimes sewing or quilting, sometimes another thing entirely and at the moment... a kitchen. Which is odd considering that somebody else has designed the thing. But - especially now that pretty much all the decisions have been made and it's in the process of being built - I can see that it's been an oddly personal journey. I wonder if normal people feel like this? A lot of myself has gone into this. From scribbling a silly picture quickly before the school run - which has become known as the bonkers dresser and will soon really exist - to choosing the paint colour, from making a lampshade from a map of my favourite part of the world to getting a tap sent from Sweden just because it was just a love thing (when you fall in love with something you've seen on Pinterest, go on, act on it) and then translating the installation instructions with my rusty Swedish (what a buzz to be had from washers and pull-out rinsers! Another reminder to self: do more with my languages, there is a part of my brain itching to come out into the daylight and get some exercise again, not just holiday French). The crazy idea I had on the way home from the children's swimming lessons may just turn out to be the funkiest cooker splashback in history. The slightly obsessional searching on French and Belgian Ebay for old metal advertising signs is getting rapidly more expensive. I've been down one or two dead ends (just google images of Kee Klamp shelves, and then check out the husband's blank and disbelieving expression) but it's been a blast.

So the annual wading through the sludge of the year's memories and working out how much of it is worth keeping in a cupboard... I recently announced I would give up the PTA and felt entirely disrobed of my millstone. The announcement had such a lukewarm reception that I knew it was the right thing to be doing. And then Thursday came. We had arranged a bit of a social to thank everyone for their support and to celebrate our achievements... and then it happened! They had all got together and bought me the most unexpected and extravagant presents to thank me, and spent most of the evening imploring me to stay. It was utterly and totally heartwarming. So I suspect I might spend another summer mulling it over again, the eternal "Should I stay or should I go now?". I know what I ought to do, but can I really do it?

Then the eternal question of what I should be doing with my life... When you don't work, there is a need - and an expectation from some - to be doing something that a) draws in some money or b) is an all-encompassing thing for you to focus on and for other people to label you with. Someone asked husband yesterday if he would start to push me to do something now I'll have all this time on my hands after giving up the PTA. Never have I been busier! And never have I been so aware that I have so many things I'd like to do and have a talent for, but that not one of them could be a permanent anything or fulfil me completely forever. I am often busy with the behind-the-scenes organisation of North Somerset Arts, in a rather fish-out-of-water will-they-find-out-I'm-not-in the-mood-for-being-an-artist kind of way. I like the structure of preparing their newsletter every month, and it reminds me of my previous working life in front of a computer, in a comforting sense. The Swedish translation reminded me of the passion for languages I ought to be nurturing. For now I am very much looking forward to a commission from a friend for a quilt, that will now have to wait until September before I can turn my attention to it fully.

My resolution for the next year? Maybe it ought to be settling for going with the flow and stopping the worrying about what I am going to do with my life. Can I be me now please?