Monthly Archives: May 2014

The colour black

Blog2I intended to paint. I cleaned my table, palette tray and brush water. Then I thought I would jot a few blog notes. Which required a dish of vanilla gelato with frozen raspberries on top. And it all looked quite pretty, so I grabbed the camera and played with shot angles, croppings and filters. For a photo of ice cream and a notebook.

I began to feel the black birds circling, landing quietly on my head and shoulders, their weight settling and black hearts reverberating: time-waster.

BlackBirdsSpring depression is a funny thing. A hum quivers the air, jump-starting birds, trees, grass, squirrels, people, frogs, ideas. I am at once a-buzz myself, but also full of dread. The fear backs in slowly, crunching the gravel like a big old black car.

carThis bloomingly busy life outdoors conversely requires me to clean, purge, and quiet the indoors. I have come to know that I am easily overwhelmed.

SurplusWhat is temperament, what is personality, what is mental discord? I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since childhood, and haven’t accomplished the typical life activities that are noticeably halted during episodes of sudden depression. Keeping things small, all the time, is a way to remain headed upwards on the stairwell.

BlackDogsLately I’ve been hearing the phrase, “Backward thinking causes depression, forward thinking causes anxiety.” I think they are two swords of equal force, causing equally at odds reactions: anger or apathy. If you’ve climbed your way out of depression, manoeuvred the meds, doctors, psych wards, ECT courses, social workers & back-to-work programs, and on… know the accomplishments are quiet ones. Nothing that can be curriculum vitaed. The shortcomings, however, are plainly seen.

Black dogs make me think of…..WinstonIt’s a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time  {Winston Churchill}

chainsBut these are self-reinforcing loops we put ourselves in, and I think, after a long time of thinking, that they can be restrung. I’m reading I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter, in which he explores the question of “I” and the feedback loop that fuels it, concluding that we have flexibility in the “self-writing poems” that we are. I briefly mention this book here because it’s part of my new way of looking both backwards and forwards: the shame, fear and sadness can pull me back and push me forward. Just like the turtle I keep calling myself of late: head out or head in? Both good. Upstairs or downstairs? Both good.

StayGoMy friend, author Mike Barnes, wrote a poem last October called The Sum and the Lack, in which he says the sum of what you are, what you bring to the table, is as vital as what you lack, “a far larger plenty.” This poem has hummed in my head like a mantra ever since. I’ll leave you with the beautiful last stanzas:



The attention that focuses what exists,                               the opening that enlarges what exists                                  by receiving news outside itself –                                        

One carves a door, the best door                                       that can be shaped to present circumstances,                   the other makes a space in which                                       the door can swing, inward and outward.

In this way the event may arrive.


p.s. I have so many creative ideas humming, I’ve decided to face them head on/out. Quickening the pace, shell-dwellers!