I can do many things.
I can do many things. I can drive a car, I can prepare meals – I’m what might be called a good plain cook – I can sing. Glancing through the remains of what might have once passed as a body of work, it dawns on me that I also produce visual art, some of which has, surprisingly, stood the test of time, despite the absence of any formal recognition or schooling. The test being, after twenty or thirty years, do I still like this? And yes, to a surprising number of things I draw, that is still my answer.
Which does demonstrate to my cynical self that indeed I can do many things and reasonably well. Unexpectedly, I procure from some part of my depths, strange, colourful works that hit the mark, often enough to give the whole idea of me as a visual artist more than passing credibility.
But where does this talent come from? With no concrete idea it existed, I’ve certainly never talked about it. Reminding me yet again, that in getting through life and discovering how I can achieve things, I travel an unusual path. I do not, and cannot, seemingly, arrive at outcomes along the same tried and tested routes that others take. If I can accept that I needn’t match more general expectations to get to desired outcomes along the usual paths, life seems to work out better for me.
I have been characterised as not listening to advice, being contrary and defensive. But perhaps a part of my reaction has come from knowing that what everyone else was telling me was “so obvious”, I knew would not work for me. Did I recognise, even as a child, that I would have to do things my own way? Possibly. Kids are not stupid.
I can’t keep up. And my sanity makes a welcome return when I remember that life is not one long battle to match “How things are done around here” with the way I do things. Things seem to work better when I keep faith and keep going, in my own way.
Thanks for listening.