My journal writing has taken a shift in the past few days. First, there was a period of almost nothing. I filled up the space of my days with painting and reading. Then when the words started to trickle back in they were distorted, and I ended up drawing and doodling on the page. Then the drawings took on more life and the words slipped in various forms.
I used to pre-design my journal pages with printed images captured from the internet. I used them as inspiration, idea triggers, and practice pegs. I also used them as illustrations to represent the images constantly moving around in my head, symbolic substitutes of my dreams, wishes, trails of pursued thoughts.
As the new drawings and words poured out with unusual forms I suddenly found the pre-designed pages cramping. I tore out the pasted images and drew over with my own. Then finally I started getting into a rhythm, and both images and words started to flow with better harmony.
It seems to me that I have shifted into a next-level state wherein I need less borrowing of other people's images and ideas, and become a bit more confident in expressing my own. I am still continuously inspired by the works of other artists but the stage of imitation and modelling is perhaps slowly transitioning into individualising my own work.
The drawings also seem to nudge me to explore another path with my art. This style has been springing up but I have been ignoring it as I felt it was not "ripe" enough. But maybe it is now.
This new way of journalling is helping me merge my words and images better, something that I have been striving to do in the past weeks for my poem-paintings. I have had a few promising paths open up but I am still not satisfied. So maybe this journal breakthrough is telling me something I am simply too stubborn to see.
I have been pushing myself through sludge lately. I have not been entirely unproductive, but that is only because I have taught myself enough to keep at the creative work even when the muses are absent and even when everything else feels quite crappy.
It is not that I am not inspired. More that I am exhausted, like a printer run out of a colour and churning out discoloured images. Too much blue. Too much red. Words gone gray and striped with empty spaces.
I have not been sleeping well. There is a part of me that stands sentinal through the night, watching, waiting.
It could be the weather turning hot and humid. I am not a summer person. I prefer the transition seasons of spring and autumn. Summer to me is an extrovert season, meant for loudness and showing off and glaring unforgiving unflattering light.
It could be the terminal dread of suddenly being called to sacrifice. Bills had to be paid and no one else could pay them. Tired, tired, tired of always being on the brink of a death sentence.
It could be, simply, this particular path within the orbit of my days, when I scrape too close to the black hole of my desires. And the hungers pulse loud inside me, a deafening rampage I must endure until I am way past and into a safer distance.
She wants to be called Persephone. She may change her mind later, but for now, and for quite a while, she has felt herself a Persephone. She has a pocketful of pomegranate seeds.
Moving with my shadow
is like pulling on
a skintight soft leather catsuit,
and suddenly I can see in the dark,
and leap to and from high places,
and fall on my feet.
It is a slow process learning
to move together, become together,
so no one would think
that something is off,
that I am not myself, gone mad,
or worse, that I have changed.
(I found that people, in general,
find it inconvenient when people
they have pegged and labelled,
wiggle out of their categories
and dare to refuse to play old roles,
or dare to make unexpected choices.)
It’s a give-and-take, between
my shadow and myself, we
take turns taking charge, although
we know we should, eventually,
take charge together, as one,
because we are one.
So the catsuit is payne’s gray,
not black, and it comes with
lace cuffs to distract from the claws,
and a shimmery flowing skirt
that pools around me when I sit,
softens the danger of these high boots.
The mask is pretty, handpainted,
a compromise of dark and light,
disguising hungry stares and dagger looks.
Nine lives beat in my heart, one is mine.
Eight are hers, multiplied to infinity.
(She holds most of the cards, really.)
And now she holds them out to me,
without conditions, without reservations,
only relieved that I let her out, finally.
What deep dark eyes she has,
what sharp tongue she has,
what quick strong hands she has...
the better to watch and see with,
the better to speak the truth,
the better to claim what is mine.
We filled in each other’s blanks,
and she said, let us retell the Stories,
once again upon a time.
I took an early evening walk last night and when I went to bed the insomnia was absent. So I might do another walk tonight and see if that works again.
Since I actually got some sleep I feel more wakeful today. There's a poem waiting to be finished, and a painting waiting to be started. And there's a novel waiting to be infused with shadow, and a poetry book ready to be laid out to be an offering.
There is a little grimoire sighing in the wings, waiting for its cue. I pat it reassuringly, while I gather tools and ingredients, and spin the threads of magic into spools.
Last night I dreamt of — the old house, my childhood home. From one end of the street I could see a raging wall of water rushing towards me. On the other end I could see a raging conflagration. In the house was a crowd of people, mostly strangers, that was expecting to be saved. I was expected to find a way out. I told everyone to stay, except for one indifferent handsome boy, who had always treated me with something akin to antagonism. I told him I knew where we could find his family, but I knew they were gone and swallowed up by the flames. I told the others to stay, that I would clear the way, and that they could follow my trail after fifteen minutes. They believed me. They trusted me.
There was no saving that could be done. I could only save myself because I knew where I could go, the sliver of doorways leading out and away, because the place would only allow me to be saved, everyone else was a sacrifice. I wanted to try to save him, to take him with me, but would he forgive me for lying about his family? For not saving them?
I could not save him. He was not mine. And I could only save my own.
He gripped my hand like a lifeline. Fifteen minutes and this whole world would be consumed by water and fire and only I knew, and only I could get away.
I stopped and he stopped. “Listen.” I said. The roaring of the water was very loud. The sky was a melancholy grey from the fire-smoke. I turned his face towards me and then I kissed him. My return for all his indifference and small cruelties, his sharp pointed dismissals, his unmasked avoidance. I felt something came to him then, a realisation, a recognition, something too late.
I woke up.