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Art and Oddness

Today I am filling in an application for a PhD for which I have been gifted a small award and that I think I will probably do. I am saying think, because I have a strong feeling, but until it is definite I know there is a chance that it can change. I have been accepted on a couple of other self funded ones in the UK. I feel immensely happy that the theme of caring for all needs and preferences is so wanted in many of the education establishments that bring some of the people through to enter the world of film making. As I fill in the application, I also find myself feeling a plethora of emotions.

After immersion in the wonder and inspiration of a film festival industry event a couple of weeks back, I have emerged with overwhelm of my sensory systems and a trauma response to the drivers of some of the systems that fund the arts. This is always the risk of entering these spaces for me. I would describe it that it feels like I have been dipped into motorway consciousness for 5 days. I so much need to be a tree right now. Do you know that feeling? The effects of this type of overwhelm is the reason I lived in the country for twenty three years and kept my life organic with nature, in a self employed space especially to be able to choose my hours and habits carefully. As much as I know that I am meant to be in the city right now and to be a part of something that brings new and more healthy ways through for people who are creative, this life style comes with constant health checks and a need to gauge myself and my own needs against those who seem to ride more easily in the industrious world.

Last night, I went to see Echo and the Bunnymen in the Barrowlands. They were so fab! I recall a painting I did of their lead singer, Ian McCulloch (in case you don't know!) that got a prize in Cadbury's Children's Art competition and was published in their book of poems (I know, how cute ). It was titled 'Pressure, City on my back'. Even though I seemed to thrive in systems back then and sailed through all my O levels, the cracks had started to show at around this time when I was studying for my A levels. Even though I passed them all, it did seem like my brain had changed shape. I couldn't wait to go to Art College and spend my time finding peace in a creative world that didn't ask such linear and driven focus from me.

So as I am filling in the form, I am thinking about this linear and driven focus, and the disparity between the natural creative way and the empirical structures that govern us. I think the living of this story is what my soul is meant to juggle with and help change in this life time. In our film Parallel Realms, there is a scene which shows Corin talking about the character Darwin's Auntie Thesis (the antithesis of Darwin and hierarchical systems). It's at the point when Corin goes "Having lots of ideas. Sooo many ideas!' In 1996, I spent a Summer in Birmingham, trying to shut off the ideas, mainly staring at the sky and then creating and filming my performative character Auntie Thesis. She baked biscuits in the shapes of members of the species with a sound track of empire proud classical music (including of course Rule Britannia) and turned the classification of species into a circle. She was utterly bonkers but she healed me.

I have always sought art and oddness as a way to express the discomfort of being a constantly overwhelmed being in this world. I have to say mindfulness, yoga, self-compassion, being with the spirit worlds, being in nature and living healthily is also a way to ground and being happy with friends and family are all other important medicines. But the truth is also that this apparent enemy, the linear and driven focus, is also my puppeteer. He strings my movements in this world. At times I feel myself so like Lucky in Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

Somehow I am compelled to need the puppeteer to find my sane place in all of this life. If I don't have him, I lose my belonging with society. However, there is also a deeper and un-stringed symphony that I obey and this is the innate way of sensing a world soul that goes beyond the traffic. Through the movements of the strings of the everyday puppeteer, I operate with a simultaneous task of offering truer versions of experiencing, longing and valuing myself and this planet. I know there are so many like me who are doing the same. And I think this is, for me, what art is.

The living of this dichotomy is the way we rub out ruling structures that call the shots to bring back the symphony of the earth to be central in culture again.

I have been holding lots of constellation and mentoring sessions recently with people who have been bringing neurodiverse subject matter to the space. I have been living with it and relating with it in some of those I am close with too. The world as we know it is crumbling. Too many people are outing the motorway. Lucky's speech is starting to make sense. This morning I had a conversation with one of my favourite souls, all about our mutual difficulty in overwhelm and how it comes with so much shame at times. In sessions, I have had the most enormous privilege to work with people with their stories and constellate systems to be able to extract worth, value, beauty, passion and incredible vision from closed down places. I have sat with people whilst they expose the ignorance and unkindness of authorative systems, without shame or blame, to let life force flow and narcissistic shells palpably begin to dissolve. I know that the world as we know it will be ready to let nature in all its aspects and expressions as it flows through each of us be given a space again. But we're not there yet. And it is achy and difficult, punishing at times and scary for so many.

There is a whole plethora of emotions about this subject matter of systems that don't fit for all beings. We have always been diverse and only now is it starting to begin to be ok to declare it. So much suppression is there. I will go back to filling in my application and feel lucky (not Beckett style) to be able to have a focus on creating change again, rather than feeling overwhelmed.. Thank you for reading the splurge from the plethora. I just wanted to write something from the heart today. I hope it reaches yours.

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