making space

After I dropped my daughter off at rehearsal tonight I pulled up next to a stop sign where I stop all the time, I happened to glance over and I saw that a retaining wall standing there had finally crumpled, exposing the tangled mass of tree roots that were no doubt partly responsible for its demise. The tree had sought out the crevices, the unoccupied spaces inside the wall and spread out and grown. I thought it was an eloquent analogy for how art happens in my life.

I am busy, I have two “real” jobs, three children, a cat, a bunny, and a long suffering, wonderful husband. Tasks related to all these things take up much of my time. I do lots of mum stuff, pack lunches, drive to school and assorted athletic/music/drama practices, I do the usual ubiquitous laundry, cooking, dishes, etc. Most days I don’t mind these things because they are a product of having people I love very much in my life. But they crowd out art sometimes….

This weekend was frustrating, I have two elaborate costumes to make for a local theatre, I wanted to start on them this weekend… they are occuping psychic space I would like to turn over to new projects. But it was homecoming weekend, so I got to drive kids around, and take them shopping for new clothes, and I like being with my kids, so it was OK, but those costumes were nagging me the whole time. Then Saturday evening there was a gallery opening at the college where I teach, I wanted to hear the artist’s lecture, but I had to get my kids to the dance, and they overlapped, my hubby offered to drive them and meet me at the show, but it seemed wasteful to take both cars, so I skipped the lecture, and went later (this was OK too because I got to meet Angie To whose work I have been enjoying for the last week). So I thought, OK tomorrow is another day…

Sundays always start slowly at our house, it is the only day we can all sleep in, and we usually do! Hubby and I took a trip to Home Depot for insulation for my studio (again an essential chore, but!) and then we shopped for food and came home. Now its lunchtime, because of Saturday’s chaos I didn’t get to make the eggrolls I had promised, so I made them for Sunday lunch, they were delicious and worth all the time!! I have had a bolt of fabric sitting in my bedroom for months, waiting to replace my curtains which are literally in tatters, this project nagged loudest, so I worked on it. The good news is I have a pair of beautiful new curtains, the bad news is my studio time tomorrow will now be building a crocodile, not new books, oh well…

When I first came back to making art, my relationships suffered, I thought I had to run off like Gaughin, ditch my old life in order to have a new one… thank heavens I read Deleuze and De Certeau and found out that revolution starts from within, and that there are all kinds of sideways spaces in my life I can use. Sometimes I am not balanced, like this weekend, but art is always there, growing in the interstices. And its subterranean depths are beautiful just like those long hidden tree roots. My life is just like everyone elses, full of obligation and demand, but it is also full of creative space and room to grow. Ah Life is good!

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