Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Freeing our Spirit, Inner Child or Whatever You Call that One

Which brings me to this point I've been thinking for a while. You know there is this big movement, most vocally in the Julia Cameron/New Age/Oprah universe, to free ourselves from constraints and let the Artist do as s/he pleases. Gazillion writers have called it by gazillion different names, but you know what I mean. Follow the muse; that kind of thing.

Well, my muse hasn't got much of fairy wings. I swear he buzzes around in circles in stale-smelling pin-stripe suits from time to time; I swear he has cheap-cigarette-stained fingers, and is definitely at the end of middle age. He most definitely doesn't dance around in vibrant Nelson colors... And he's a he most of the time. I gotta get me a new muse, or a guardian angel, or whatever one of those...

I've been thinking we (women in particular) probably never had it as easy as we do in many parts of the Western world compared to most of what we know of our history. The society is comparatively affluent, there is much less dire poverty and child mortality, (though I realize we must never forget these exist far more than we think, and surprisingly close by,) and though the middle class is shrinking, I would hazard to guess many of us who weave and blog use an electric washing machine inside our house, for example, rather than trotting off to a nearby river and beating the heck out of our jammies and blankets next to a neighbor washing his/her veggies. You get the gist. Housework have become easy. Gender expectation is less rigid on both the societal and personal levels. There are fewer rituals to observe. We have more options.

I realize I'm extremely privileged. I'm married to a husband with a day job who doesn't mind my art-ing, and though our bank balance has been going south ever since I started, we've not had to default on any payment or do without basics thus far. I just can't buy books (not really a problem) and no holidays or even trips to Wellington (problem!!). We live far away from our family so we are less involved in the day-to-day obligations. And though we have niggles more often than we care, all our limbs and vital body parts are functioning most of the time.

Even my sister (who today goes to her in-laws' to prepare for their New Year's celebrations), let alone Mom and my grandmothers, would seriously question what "constraints" I'm trying to escape from, and could tell me to stop yammering and whining and get on with the job. And they would be fully justified.

I'm not negating the need for us all to free the artistic monsters within. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've been mentally/psychologically very well, because I see all the things I feel appreciative of, and things that don't go my way, well, I can live with them, or better yet, forget them. I'm also understanding I was sicker than I had thought in the last six or so years, so I'll be learning about that next year. But I've never felt as carefree or optimistic as I do now in a long, long time.

This post was supposed to be a tad more serious about how lucky we are historically, but never mind. I'm going to microwave the last of the Christmas pudding now.


  1. What? That my muse is an arthritic, stinky old man? No, Dana, I get you, but now I see this funny looking guy all over my house and I can't seem to get rid of him.

    Blue pin-striped three-piece suits; who wears them nowadays???

  2. I could say lots about this fascinating topic, but it's late so I am just going to wonder whether you ever do what the Scots do and fry your leftover Christmas pudding in a little bit of butter? And you thought it couldn't get any richer!

  3. In butter? Oh, Cally, I'm afraid it's a little too summery for that over here, though we usually buy a couple more Christmas puds in Dec, save them until June or July, and savor it so I may try it then.

    I don't have a problem with rich foods, though. When we were in Orkney, we went to a fish and chip shop and ended up with deep fried black pud, white pud, and haggis with our fish. And I loved all of them.

  4. Yes, we do have it all. And still... When you hear about crisis all over the world and in your neighbourhod. It's hard to keep the distance.

    Myself, I'm trying to be a craftsperson, struggling with my helth and realy, if I could I would get a dayjob.

  5. Oh, KD, I'm sorry you're unwell. Of course ideally, we could all be independently wealthy and be able to make whatever we like and, for those of us who wish, sell lots of our work, but I think I'm just being greedy then.

  6. Greedy? No, in that case I'm greedy too. I wouldn't mind selling. Not at all. (The Public Health Insurance might, but not me)

  7. Does your public health insurance scheme prevent you from selling handcraft? Hummmm. That's a tad restricting... Is it because it's considered "work", and if you're well enough to work, you can get off the scheme - is that their thinking?


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