The little lost dog

11.28am

After going shopping for Syds birthday presents yesterday and conceding to the nasty unethical branded clothing we came home to find a dog in our house. What a surprise it was. Syd exclaimed;

Mum a black dog has just come running down our stairs!

Sure enough a little ratty black dog had got into our house. Small and cheeky enough to squeeze and sneak through the cat flap. The dog turned out not to be a mongrel as I had first thought but a pedigree patterdale. I don’t claim to know much about dogs, and I wasn’t best pleased with our surprise visitor peeing all over our home. Having to deal with a lost dog the day before my sons birthday was not on my agenda. The children were delighted with our visitor. Syd joked about us having bought him a dog for his birthday present.

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We went for aimless walks talking to people about the dog and if they recognised it. Later Patrick found a person who knew who the dog belonged too. We waited for the man to collect it. He never did. I contacted the emergency council dog warden and booked an appointment for him to collect it in the morning. The children and Patrick looked at me with doe eyes asking to keep it. NO. NO we are not having a dog, and not one that pees everywhere. I was shattered from the previous evenings activities of clearing up sick, now I had moved onto dog wee and poo…oh joy.

The dog story ended happily,social media helped spread the news and the local dog charity PAWS came to collect him. The dogs name was Mickey and he had been lost out on his own on numerous occasions. The dog happily has now been signed over to the charity and will be rehoused. Phew, I am so relieved that the dog has gone. I can now concentrate on tidying and sorting and getting things ready for Syd’s birthday celebrations.

The day started cold bit it has cleared to blue. A seamless blue sky. Only one and a half days left at school then 49 days, seven weeks of holiday and childcare. I am glad that the unstructured days are here. I am wanting the holidays now myself. The weather is too good to be sat inside a classroom. We need to play and rest and be. Just be.

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Syd is fourteen today. FOURTEEN. Fourteen. He can now go into concerts for 14 year olds. In three years time he will be able to learn to drive. This morning at breakfast he unpacked some books from his school pack and said that he wanted to burn them….always a rebel. Me and Patrick were horrified…or maybe mortified. I wish he had a better attitude towards his education and the privilege of learning. This was never the way at primary school. I like rebellion, but there are some things that I wish he would embrace rather than push away.

The oven buzzer sounds.

 

More coffee

11.51am

A slow morning. Sunny but slow. Tired from nursing Syd and clearing up sick. I think it was food poisoning from the super market ready meal. I regret my lazy decision to serve the children from bowls of plastic wrapped plastic. I need to get back to making my own ready meals. I used to. I used to be so much more organised than I am now.

Poor Syd. He has slept all morning. There is nothing left in his stomach apart from bile. It was a horror cleaning up the mess. His projectile vomit went everywhere. It was a Niagara falls of puck as it tumbled down the top flight of stairs. It went on the walls, the floor, the rug, Naoise Peter Rabbit cuddly toy. I would rather shit anyway. Clearing away sick makes me gag.

The sky is blue with an occasional fluffy cloud. I am sat in the yard, beneath the washing line, The jasmine and the buddleia flowers are out.

I have had some good news amidst a sea of nothing. A drawing that I entered into a touring show has been accepted. I am thrilled. I have to remain secretly thrilled as there has been no official announcement yet about who is in the exhibition. I realise that it is this that I need. Positive news is essential. Life is impossible if there is no light. If there is no gain, especially when you are maintaining a practice, stirring the pot, reaching out, sharing. There is no love in art unless it is shared. If it is not shared it does not feel as if it exists. There is no point of drawings lying in plan chests or paintings dusting under beds. Out. In order to relate to the world, to communicate the artist needs things to be seen. If her creative endeavours are seen, then she too feels seen, and valued, and worthwhile. It is a simple process. Make. Present. Show. Receive feedback. Analyse. Reflect. Learn. Understand. Experiment. Try out. Process. Make again. Make a new.

I need to make a cake. A big chocolate cake for my man-boy. Tomorrow he will be fourteen. Fourteen years a mother. Fourteen years my first son. I have no regrets about this adventure, though motherhood is more akin to an extreme sport than gentile crocheting. Motherhood is not pink, motherhood is all the colours. Syd is full of life and vitality and creativity. He constantly challenges. He constantly questions. He is a constant. I see him now with the beard that I said he would have when I first set eyes on him. When I first looked into his new born eyes I could see the man he would very quickly become, but I could not see the woman that I was or the woman that I would be. Mothering is a constant searching and seeking out, a constant changing, reassessing, sorting, managing, muddling, tidying, cleaning, hugging, reading, playing and moving through. Moving on pushing forward and getting rid of redundant items, prams, cots, potties, scooters, shoes, clothes.

Its a constant giving and loosing. Drawing in and pushing away. Making sure everyone is safe and secure. Getting the balance right, not suffocating, guiding, raising, then holding on and not wanting to let go. Wanting to be needed.

Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. Time to stop and make that cake.

Research:

Motherhood is not a problem to solve, but a reality we must acknowledge. Being a mother in the creative sector is not an impediment to good work, but changes must be made at a national and institutional level. Elena Marchevska. 13th July 2015. The Guardian 

Coffee

9.18am

I am drinking weak coffee, it should be strong. There is a medicinal quality to caffeine. It keeps weary adults awake. I haven’t had my sleep interrupted, but last evening was dreadful. I had hoped for peace. There is no peace. Raising a teenager is defiantly challenging, negotiating the ethics of branded goods, of what to me seems like obscene needs and wants. Everything my eldest child wants for goes against all of my ideals. Maybe this is exactly as it is meant to be. A child rebelling, pushing away. There is too much tension. Too much anger and frustration and destructive outbursts. What have I done? What have I done? I have been here before this dark place where anything and everything you do as a parent results in a pile of crap. I try not to blame myself. There is no one to turn to. There is no one. We are on our own.

Walking along the pavement away from Naoise school, I watched a mother talking on her mobile phone whilst her child dragged along two cuddly toys on a piece of string. It looked fun but I did worry about all the dog poo on the pavements ..all those slugs and snails and disgusting dirtiness all over her white fluffy cuddly toys.  I have a thing about dog poo on pavements it makes me mad with anger. Mad with anger at the dog owners that leave it on the pavements. Pick up your dogs shit! I want to shout….Only last week little Naoise trod in a pile of it on the way to school, I had to try and remove it with leaves and sticks, then in the classroom more soap and paper towels, so horrid. I noticed another woman who has three young children is clearly pregnant, I cannot imagine having so many children so close together in age. I noticed how her belly button protruded from the underneath of her t-shirt.

I am struggling to get a flow to this writing the buzzer on the oven has sounded, but I have given myself another five, to help me out, be kind. I can break my own rules. I can break the structure.

I haven’t managed a run now in about six weeks or more. I have become weakened by depression and anxiety and I am falling into bad routines. Cake. Cheese. Inward thoughts. Paranoia. I look out. I look out on the world but it tumbles in. I am lacking in self esteem. I know all these signs and symptoms all to well. I have been fretting about writing this. How people judge. Have I created a monster? Have I said too much? Confessed things to this glass screen that I will later regret?  Forgotten that when I click publish, anyone, anywhere can read this. The walls of my home are transparent in this world. You can see everything. You can see right inside my thoughts.

The buzzer sounds again. Time to leave this place.

Rainy Monday

12.27am

The washing machine is working hard. Third cycle today, the sheets from Syds sleepover on Friday night. Had hoped to have a rest today, but that is not that realistic, there’s always a job to do. Its a wet day for washing, so the radiator is on, sending the damp from the drying clothes into the house. The rack is full, things dry slowly inside.

13thjulynaoisesnoozing

I am lonely. Perpetually lonely. Its not good to spend so much time alone. Cant be helped. I will desire aloneness once I have seven weeks of full time constant childcare. This is the cleaning calm before the hectic play of summer. The days will slip by.

I have cleaned the stairs and washed the kitchen floor. I have filled the car with bin bags and broken frames. Removed more dust and dirt. I am gaining some ground with the messy, chaotic house. The art took over and the results weren’t that great. I can never seem to be able to juggle all the different tasks. I haven’t been running on the hills lately, but then if you always run away from home, things soon become neglected. The house is looking better but my eyebrows have become werewolf.

The morning started with a minor operation on the top of my finger to remove the thorns that had become lodged there after the manic gardening session on the allotment. There does not seem much time to dream. Soon there will be dream time. Soon.

The washing machine is reaching its crescendo. Naoise went to school in his football trainers. All bright lucid green, not at all school uniform etiquette. Its the last week of term, I am sure he will get away with it. I never wore a uniform at primary school. All the rules and regulations always seem very farcical. He is only six. Do we really need all these rules and regulations. Do we really need all these tests and fences and barriers.

The teaching assistant that used to ignore me now smiles to greet me when we get to school. I was uncharitable about her. I am not that important. I am just the dropper off-er. I am just the hand that takes the child’s hand and leads him in. I am the maintainer, the project manager, the order-er, the making sure-er.

The washing machine is getting on my nerves beep beep beeping. Its insensient. Its as demanding as a toddler. Its as demanding as my Naoise. Wanting to be heard. Wanting my attention.

Its still wet. I need to make a trip to hebden to drop something off for patrick. Lots of silly boring meaningless jobs, that I would rather not be doing.

The buzzer on the oven clock sounds. My time in this space is up.

Too tired to write

10.47pm ( Written as a text on my phone, I was too tired to get up and write, I was asleep before Naoise, I asked Patrick to read him a book, he would not rest, he would not sleep, he would not settle down.)

Too tired to write. Naoise won’t sleep…we watched tv Andy’s Dinosaur World Adventures, Far from madding crowd. Went shopping, hate shopping. Bought Naoise new trainers as his feet have outgrown his school shoes. Tried on two swimming costumes, both looked ridiculous. Tried on two bras both squeezed my rib cage too tight. Hate how my 40’s body looks like, especially under the florescent super market lighting. Too much skin sag, too much weight. Lots of work on the allotment. Dug up the box of potatoes, but no potatoes. Pulled up himalayan balsam….picked gooseberries

Teenagers sleepover

7.38pm

A grey morning, still, damp, a nothing. The duvet cover and curtain are in the washing machine. I am very tired, but I couldn’t sleep and I knew that if I didn’t find time to write this now there would be no other opportunity today.

Syd’s friends slept over, all in the attic. Me and Naoise slept in the middle bedroom. It was good to enjoy the splendid cleanliness and the glory of my hard work. I had spent the entire day removing dust from every surface of this room. Dust so thick that it had become like a second felt like skin. Quite disgusting. My complexion is suffering from all this cleaning, lots of blackheads.

The cleaning does not fill me with joy. I ate two and a half cookies and three french fancies…..too much sugar. Sugar of comfort. I am pleased that I did not drink too much yesterday only one bottle of cider and one beer. Patrick is meeting up with his brother today….and the morning schedule to fit in the children’s activities of School Summer Fair and guitar busking is full. Staying in bed and resting may have been a better option.

The washing machine chugs. Domestic control, order, sort, throw away, tidy. Wash, fold, put away.

The cot is down in the middle bedroom. I am so behind with life. So behind. Will I ever catch up with it. Will I ever confront where I am. I lay underneath the bed. I lay underneath the bed to take a break from the dust removal. I lay on the floor. I lay on the floorboards. I lay and I remembered being pregnant and trying to get the house sorted then. Painting walls on my own. I remember sleeping on the blow up mattress on the floor as we needed to buy a new bed. When is life not stressful? When does it ever ease up? Where there is life there is work. Work of some description. Activities that demand they get done.

The wind at the Brimstones was warm and gentle and comforting. Its hardly ever this way, normally bracing and sharp and cold. Me and mum talked about the windmills, the new ones popping up, how almost every moor is covered. How the windmills change the landscape. We watched the swift rise and fall on the wind. Mum told me that the only time that they come to rest is when they are raising chicks. So they spend all their lives on the wind. Swifts constantly moving. Constantly.

Pizza and chocolate cake was a good meal to offer the teenagers. I haven’t seen Syd at all. He is out or in his bedroom, thats ok,  teenagers don’t want to hang out with their parents. Teenagers want to push you away. Push and push.

Naoise did not want to go out of the house for an evening walk. Eventually we made it as far as feeding bread to the geese and swinging on the rope on the hill beside the canal. Naoise ran after the family with seven goslings and he said that he managed to touch one of the goslings back feathers before it plopped into the canal.

After we got home, I had a look at Naoise dragon game, I hate it that he has become obsessed with playing with the iPad. Its a nurturing and fighting game. Hatch and feed your baby dragon then battle other dragons to gain jewels and money. I like the nurturing aspect of this game but the fighting seems very shallow. After the dragon game we watched a wildlife documentary, and then we both crashed to sleep to the bumps and thumps of the teenagers moving around in the attic room above us.

There is little more to say….the washing machine is quieter now, there is little traffic on the road, a woman jogger passes…a car. A chug of the washing machine. I need that cup of tea. A bus.

Coffee and cocktail fancies with mum at the rocks

7.28am

Another day when I did not get around to writing. I did not take care with this project. The now. The real stuff of life said no. Quite frankly I couldn’t be bothered. After spending most of my day in one room removing blankets of dust from floor, object, wall and ceiling I had little energy left for mulling over and quiet introspection.

Mum helped me, she cleaned the bathroom. I had wanted her to help me to go through Syds old clothes in the three large bags but we never got around to that. So many domestic jobs. I have neglected the house work for so long that the amount of work involved to tame this monster is extreme. Cleaning as extreme sport.

Me and mums one break was drinking a flask of coffee and eating little cakes called cocktail fancies at the bridestones, a beautiful spot with views that reach as far as the peak district in one direction and the yorkshire dales in the other. We sat on a stone and watched a swift. Mum recollected lying down in the sand dunes at Sennon and just falling to sleep for a couple of hours. We were both exhausted after our manic cleaning. Asking your 71 year old mother to help you clean your own home is probably a little too much…..I felt bad when I saw how tired she was….how kind of her to show her love like this. I snapped at her more than once, I am ungrateful, I am full of hate and frustration and anger, if only I could clean these feelings away.

No point of saying any more about yesterday because this is pointless cheating and then there will be nothing to write in todays post !

 

Lack of concentration

9.37am

Hoped to have written this by now. Can’t concentrate. The cot is now in pieces. At last I am moving forward, I am getting unstuck, starting to live in the now rather than the yesterday and the could of should of wished it was different. I calculated that the sheets had been lying on the cot for five years. Five years thats a long time. Where have I been. I am so far inside my own thoughts. I need to pinch myself. Wake up. Wake up.

“Knick Knak on my knee”……school children pass on the pavement in front of the house, knapsacks on backs, sunshine, its a good day for a walk.

The day will begin by taking back two advocados to Lidls that had gone off before the sell by date. I will exchange the advocados for washing powder. I am trying to keep on top of the laundry as I am preparing for the summer and for going away. The washing gathers each passing day, it has to be fed to the machine god.

I removed the balloons and notices from the pram in the studio hall way. It looks so much better as a naked pram. A pram waiting to be pushed back to the charity shop from where it came or to become the art.

The buzzer sounds. I am glad. I just want to get on with the dullness of the day.

 

Shadows in the empty cot

9.28am

I picked out each item from the empty cot dumping ground. A framed picture of a brain scan. A broken picture frame with. Plastic storage bags. A portfolio of Syd’s drawings including a homemade cardboard mobile phone. A rolled up drawing marked nine months pregnant. An old feather duvet.

Beneath all of this domestic detritus and dust and confusion the cot was still made, ready  for a baby to sleep in. The sheets are still on the mattress, the white cotton blanket folded over waiting for a child to be placed under, to rest, to go to sleep. Sheets frozen in time. Flattened by the weight of the objects placed on top. Dusty.

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I resisted destroying this museum of sleep. I have kept it there, so I can peer into the cot one more time, imagine my third baby sleeping. I wonder if I will ever stop dreaming of this third child. This imaginary child. I think I will take the cot to the studio, play with it. What could it be ? This prison protection bed for a small infant, what could this redundant object be now ?

One towel drying in the tumble. A rack of laundry inside, its wet outside, very wet. The summer seems to have vanished again, I hope the weather picks up, though this weather is good for sorting and tidying and cleaning and throwing away. When the weather is bad I cannot be wishing my self outside to do something other.

I need to drop some dinner money off for syd, that will delay me and so will the trip to the dump and the charity shop. Eventually I will get to the studio to sort that too.

When I collected Naoise yesterday,  I spent a lonely half hour playing in the school grounds with him. I sat on a bench. I cried. He comforted me. Put his arms around my neck, looked into my eyes. I am just sad, perpetually sad. I watched as he kicked the red school ball that he had found around the ground. We sat together for a while and he spotted a lady bird that I held in my hand and we laughed when it flew from one hand to another. It was not a native ladybird, too much black, and only two spots.

The school year is coming to a close….

Syd got so distressed last night, he has been reluctant to go to his guitar lessons. Being consistent and firm with a teenager is not easy. He has so much rage and anger in him. He will not be consoled, he will not listen to reason. I listen and listen and talk about perseverance and resilience and the importance of trying. I do listen. Its hard to know what is the best way forward. I talk to my mum, her advice is not very good, so I stick to what I know. I smoke a cigarette, its not like me to resort to smoking. A dinner is made but I don’t feel like eating.

I take a bowl of water and a cloth and some bacterial spray up to the attic bedroom and clean off the black mold that has been stuck heavy to the walls and wooden slatted ceiling since the winter. It washes off but leaves a faint residue, only paint will properly cover it up. Patrick talks about the fact that the plaster needs chipping off the walls, but we can’t afford that, and this ambitious solution does not help with the now.

The buzzer on the oven clock sounds. Beep beep beep beep…beep beep beep beep….

 

More sorting Tuesday

9.39am

Rain. Grey Cloud. Damp. Wind moving the branches.

What is it that I expect will happen once I have sorted and cleared each room in the house. A miracle? It will be a domestic miracle. The tumble dryer is working hard, chugging away at a handful of clothes and pillow cases. I put it onto synthetic mode, the cotton mode shrinks everything. Shrunken socks are no good. Naoise notices any slight change in the size of socks and then a morning schedule can implode around how a pair of socks feels wrong on his feet.

naoisesleepingatbreakfastable naoisecollapsedatbreakfastable

It was lovely to sleep in the cleaner, tidier more ordered room last night. I share a room with Naoise. Its the only way I can rest. Ideally I would have a bedroom of my own. Instead I change my clothes on the landing, hang them over the banistair and sleep gently beside my dearest youngest son. Put your arm around me, he requests sweetly each night. I feel at home with the comfort and the rise and fall of his breath.

Me and the children live in the attic space. Occasionally this arrangement saddens me and I feel like an overgrown child myself, sent to live in the attic, to slowly grow old and lonely. I try not to think about it too much and just get on with things. Its not such a strange living arrangement really, just pragmatic, getting on, caring for the children as best I can, each day as it comes.

Spoke to mum on the phone, she was meant to be coming to help me with the big sort but she isn’t well enough today, I will see her at the end of the week instead, and by then I probably would have got most of the hard work done.

There are three large lidls bags full term pregnant with Syds clothes filling up the sliver of the landing. I can’t see how we can even keep the best of Syds clothes for the next seven years its just impossible in this postage stamp of a home. There are under bed nooks and crannies but there isn’t really any storage space. Only Naoise has a working wardrobe, Syd’s one has collapsed and me and Patrick have rails, we have never had enough money to buy wardrobes. There never seems enough money for anything practical and boring. Patrick thinks we need a dehumidifier in the house to get rid of the damp and the access moisture. I am sure that we do, but I am more concerned about the lack of a gas fire to keep us warm through the winter. The chimney breast is still a mess, chipped plaster down to the red of the brick. We had always planned to put in a wood burner to keep fuel costs down but we can’t afford that, and now we just have a rubbish gas fire that is broken and a rubbish radiator and a stone floor that sucks the heat out of everything.  Life is not simple. I am glad of my home and I am grateful for all that I have, I just wish it functioned better. I wish I functioned better.

<Thoughts interrupted speaking to Syd’s guitar teacher and working out when his next lesson is and how he is progressing. Its good to talk to his gently spoken teacher. He is thoughtful and kind. I hope that our talking will help Syd>

I have been feeling so lonely and isolated and sad. I can’t seem to make any progress on anything. All of my initiatives to make a living have been partial successes, ultimately not good enough. Progress is too slow, if it is progress at all.  Any workshops or courses that I have run have gone ahead but there have not been enough participants to make them work. By work I mean that they have made no financial sense.  I have not been able to pay myself the going rate for teaching work, I have accepted  less, I have made some pocket money but I couldn’t live off the work that I do, I rely on my partner to pay the big bills. There is no equality.

There is me at home. There is him out at work.

I am not lazy, far from it. I work hard for the small amount of money that I earn. I enjoy teaching, that part of it is great, meeting new people seeing their progress and joy in making, in being creative. Feeling valued, feeling that my knowledge and time are utilised. Maybe I am too quick to assess what I do, to analyse, to put myself down. I have tried. I have tried. I am tired, I am tired.

I am drained by yet another heavy period, I could’nt  manage a walk today. On my way home I thought about making an appointment to go and see the GP to tell him or her that I was feeling very depressed, but what would be the point? They would be sympathetic, maybe offer me some horrid pills to numb the pain of sadness or the promise of some counselling, a name on a list, that could take years to materialise. I have done counselling. I have done raking over my life and how to deal with anxiety. I have done CBT. I have sat in small institutional rooms on plastic blue chairs with polite pictures of flowers on magnolia walls and plastic plants in pots. I have watched as notes are taken questions are asked, and tissue’s in boxes are handed over to soak up tears of distress. I have been treated with varying degrees of empathy and have met with brick walls. I have been offered routes forward that have met at dead ends. I have tried. I have refused any medication. Life is a struggle. I have counted my blessings and been proactive and tried to see the positive in everything and stroked stones and meditated and lived in the moment. I have cherished the tiniest things in life. I have worshipped the weather and the fox gloves opening in the dry stone walls. I have looked ever so closely at life and the landscape.I have marvelled at the softness of my children’s skin and stoked the tops of their hair as they sleep. I try each day to do something proactive.

I need to do something now. Stop writing. Start doing. Something physical, routine, domestic rituals that move time forward. Then there will be the school run and the dinner making and the conflict ironing and the bedtime routine, and when the day is done, I will sleep heavy once more. I will maybe dream, last night I dreamt Naoise hair was full of lice.

The buzzer on the oven clock sounded long ago.

More sorting Monday

5.10pm

foxgloves

Naoise is playing at his friends house. Its wet, damp, rainy, humid, miserable. I am not miserable, Syd is home. I am cranky with period pain, but I have my eldest son home and so the nest is full and happy.

The open studios were a demoralising experience, yes it was lovely that friends made an effort to visit and have a coffee, yes that was good but I can’t stand being polite and on my best behaviour with people I do not know. I am not very good at this selling yourself malarky, and I am never convinced that Hebden Bridge is the right audience for the work I make. The reactions therefore from a mainly conservative crowd are not all that surprising. Art that questions that challenges, that affects does not fit into this green and beautiful place. In these claustrophobic hills there is no space for working counter to idealised perceptions of motherhood. Art that rages just won’t do. Art that hasn’t been made to look “nice” and to match the decor of the front room does not have a place. I don’t have a place here. Its ok to make here but to show here is that worth it….I am not convinced. So much shuffling past my space and looks of disdain. Opinions, judgements.

Laughter and tears and smiles.  Having my portrait drawn by a child. Watching her happily pin it to the wall of my studio.

Syd says” I think you should stop.” Syd says “I don’t want you to write that” Syd says ” Is it like a diary” Syd says ” Stop writing everything that I say”

We laugh. He is eating a pizza. He is annoyed that I might be writing about him and wants me to stop. He tries to delete my words.

Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.

MUmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Syd says ” My mum is a big fat fart….delete it…just delete it, EVERYthing I say you have to write, not funny, just annoying. ”

I have had a dull day clearing out a small boys life time of toys and clothes from his room, the woman in the charity shop thought that I was moving home. I filled the entire boot with the unwanted plastic, cloth and ephemera.

I can’t write this now. Syd is demanding my attention and I don’t enjoy listening to the sound of pizza moving around his mouth, its not very inspiring.

Must go and get Naoise.

Syd reads my words and taunts me with his pizza and opens his mouth and pretends to be absolutely disgusting with his manners.

 

 

The pram in the studio hallway

08.44am

The pram that I bought from the charity shop now stands in the studio hallway. Its covered in balloons and signs to entice people down the corridor to our open studios. I wish it wasn’t covered in notices and balloons. I much prefer it as an object waiting, however it can wait to become a piece of art and at least it is being utilised.

Waiting for a baby that will never be born.

Waiting for a time when there will be enough cash to make the art work that I want to make.

Waiting.

The pram in the hall does not stop me from making good art because I make bad art.

Bad art about maternal ambivalence. Discerning. Deliberately provocative work. Art that questions ourselves and our place in the world. Art about the maternal. We are all born of woman.

A woman hovered at the door of my open studio and proudly announced that she couldn’t look at my art work. She was, I think referring to some photographs that I had made about expressing the last of my breastmilk. I tried to engage her but she did not want to talk, she just wanted to feel offended and walk away.

I had a more positive reaction from a woman who was very moved by my art as it reminded her of a time when she struggled to express milk for her six week old baby who she was separated. The mother was unwell and therefore wasn’t able to feed her baby from her breast. It clearly was a traumatic memory but one that she was compelled to share. It is a great privilege when the public shares such personal stories with me in response to looking at my art. These discussions are the art. These discussions are the material. Conversation= Art. Ideas= Art. Shared. Connected. Drawn too. Affected.

Need to try and understand Bracha Ettinger’s matrixial.

Syd is away at his dads, my feet are kicking the boxes of books that I bought home from the studio when I thought that I was going to have to move out.

I am staying now. I need a room of my own, though maybe the room of my own will suck dry the tiny amount of money that I have and I will not be able to afford to make the art in the studio as I will be too busy  working to pay the rent.

All life is a struggle, a fight, there is never any balance. I am so tired of feeling wasted and cast aside. All this knowledge that could be utilised. I did not even get an interview for the most recent academic job that I applied for. Too many fish in the sea chasing the same pot of gold. All I want is to be able to pay a little of my way in life, I am not lazy, far from it. The harder I work, the less I seem to achieve.

My neighbour departs from her house to take her dog for a walk. Four men pass on their road bikes. Its grey but warm. I don’t really want to spend the day inside. I woke very early around six and couldn’t get back to sleep. Its been fifteen minutes now, thats my limit, my time is up.