For day 13 of NaPoWriMo I responded to a drawing done of me last night at the student union at the University of Melbourne.
Adventure, Art, Artist Date, Artists, Challenge, Destrends, doing stuff, Inspiration, life drawing, Life Modelling, Melbourne, Motivation, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Woland, Woland the Artist
I feel like haven’t blogged for a while (even though it’s only been a couple of weeks), perhaps it’s just a part of the cumulative guilt thing that I seem to have going on at the moment. I’ve recently been feeling incredibly busy and part of the reason for that is that I’ve been taking on new creative projects and meeting new people, and I guess I feel a bit like I have a lot of balls in the air and I’m really worried I’m going to drop one of them.
I’m sure that quite a lot of the stress I’m feeling about the new projects is misdirected stress about uni assessments which have been looming large for the last few weeks. Hopefully that source of tension will settle down soon, I’ve finished all the assessments two of my subjects, and the other two will be finished by this time next week (oh god, I have to write 4,200 words by then). But back to reason for my blog, I wanted to tell you all about my new projects! Writing things down makes them feel more real, right?
1. NaNoWriMo 2015
If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that for the last two years I’ve been involved in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to get a whole bunch of people together, both in person as part of local group activities and online as part of the NaNoWriMo global community, to encourage each other to commit to writing 50,000 words in November (they also run Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, but I haven’t participate in either of those sessions yet). It sounds like complete, unachievable insanity, but I’ve successfully completed the challenge the two times I’ve been involved, and I feel confident I can do it again this year.
My current working title for the novel is ‘We Can’t Have Nice Things’ and I’m using characters from a short story that I wrote a little while ago and expanding them into a longer work. The idea is that it will be dark – an exploration of the way people’s lives can go wrong. I’m thinking of it as an anti-romance, I don’t really know if it will work, but I’m going to give it my best shot!
2. I joined a band.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here before, but a while ago, on a whim, I bought a bass guitar. I’ve played it a bit here and there for the couple of years I’ve had it, but I never really prioritised it. Then I met Seth at a party and he asked if I wanted to be in his band, and I thought, why not? And now I’m in a band. That was about six weeks ago. The line-up is still being worked out, and we’re really still trying to find our feet, but I feel really good, conceptually, about being in a band. Since joining the band, I’ve been out to see a bit more local live music and I’ve met some fantastic people, in particular the boys from The Destrends, who are not only phenomenal musicians and performers but also super amazing human beings. I hope to continue getting out to gigs and meeting people in the music industry and really immersing myself in a culture I never felt part of before.
3. and 4. Drawing and Photographing
There are also two other things I’ve been spending time one, but they’re not really taking up as much time/brain space as the novel and the band so I’ll mush them together into one paragraph. Firstly there’s drawing. I’ve been life modelling with the Life Model Society for all of this year and I’ve been meeting fantastic artists at every group I’ve worked with. Meeting these talented people and seeing the beauty they can produce has inspired me to spend more time on drawing. I’ve been to a couple of life drawing classes, the results of which I’ve put on my Instagram account, they need some work, but I think there’s a solid foundation of ‘looking vaguely human’ in there. The second thing is a couple of friends of mine, Woland and Gabrielle, who have appeared in this blog before, have been doing some really outstanding off-the-wall performance art at local events in the last couple of months, and I have been privileged to act as their stills photographer for these performances. It has been challenging, not just artistically, but personally, as their art pushes boundaries in all the best ways, you can watch their latest performance, ‘A Mermaid’s Tale’ here, but I should probably put a (fake) blood trigger and NSFW warning on it, just to be safe.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. I hope I’ll be able to spend some more time on this blog over the summer, without the constant demands of university I hope I’ll have a bit more space in my brain for this, and I’ll have to bring you updates on all the amazing creative adventures I’m having! Every day I’m grateful to the people in my life who encourage and support me in my meandering search for a meaningful and fulfilling life, and every day I am rewarded with what I create, and with what people around me create, and I know that I wouldn’t go back to where I was three years ago for anything!
Adventure, Art, Canon 1100D, Challenge, drawings, Flanigan Lane, Inspiration, Laneways, life drawing, Melbourne, Melbourne Laneways, Motivation, Nurturing yourself, Photo Essay, Photography, Self Esteem, street art, Writing, Writing101
During my adventure on Sunday in the laneways of Melbourne, I came across something that looked like discarded drawings. In a laneway near the law district which was a weird combination of old and new, on the cobbled street next to a big blue skip, was a large, forlorn looking piece of paper. When I first saw it, I thought it was just rubbish, but then I realised it was very white.
As I walked up to the paper I saw, in the fold, a half-hidden charcoal sketch of a nude figure. I wanted to know why someone would have thrown it away, and looked around for other clues. Further down the laneway, where I assume the wind had taken them, were other pages of drawings. I couldn’t have told you exactly why, but these pages, lying dead in an alley, filled me with an intense feeling of melancholy. Someone out there had hated their own work so much that they’d discarded it. They had hated themselves so much that they couldn’t bear the reminder of what they saw as their own inadequacy.
Perhaps I’m being overly dramatic. It’s just as likely that this artist didn’t care about the drawings. Maybe they were doing a life drawing class with their partner, or a friend, and didn’t have any room in their heart for the scribblings that they made. It’s almost as sad to think of people who don’t have room for art – people who are too busy, or who just aren’t paying attention. I suppose it reminds me of the person I used to be when I didn’t have time to work on my art, at time when I discarded my work, didn’t value it, or nurture it. I remember how sad I was, how there was a deep wound inside me that I didn’t even realise was there. Occasionally I look at my life now and think about how stressful it is, or how far away from my goals I am, or how I’m a bit lonely, or sad, or whatever, but sometimes I remember where I came from. How distant that person who started on this path seems. Now when I’m sad I know it. When I feel something I can really feel it. Before I didn’t even know I was unhappy, I thought that this was as good as it gets.
There is no way that an artist can keep everything that they produce, of course there will always be a selection process going on, there must be in order to grow. I do it with my writing all the time, get half way through some ill-formed concept and decide it’s never going to work, but it really reminded me that sometimes you can’t see the value in your own work and we have to be gentler with ourselves sometimes.