Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Musing, or Stream of Not-So-Consciousness

We stayed up much too late last night watching reruns of TV shows we don't necessarily like.  You know how it goes; Ben reading photography fora while kind of listening to the TV, me playing repetitive games while thinking I should at least be knitting or unravelling my sweater if not going to bed or reading.  While I massage my arm because it's getting RSI from the game.

While still in bed this Saturday morning way past what can sanely be called "sleeping in late", with my head hanging down from my side of the bed, (crucial,) I reflected on how relaxed I feel about Art/Craft discussions lately, and I know it is (partly?) due to these things.

A) I am convinced loom-woven textiles can be art.  More precisely, some woven cloth can easily sit on the art (or whatever term you prefer at the respected) end of the continuum.  For me, such pieces require uniqueness, (as opposed to mass-production,) technical expertise on the part of the maker and well-crafted-ness of the work, (a must; concepts badly executed are not art but intentions,) and an extra umph, but I haven't grasped what this last one is.  And for me, it heps if the final work is also pretty   I am convinced truly worth work don't need to be explained to skeptics to be included/permitted to take place at the "art" end; I think there is a kind of absolute in this area that transcend culture/history/region/fashion, but I'm not 100% on this yet.   

B) By my own criteria, I have not only not woven anything anywhere near what I deem "art", nor can envision something I could weave, with proper additional knowledge, technique, and gumption, yet.  Knowing this has freed me from disgruntlement/entitlement from my past real/perceived/forecasted exclusion.

C) On the other hand, criticism/popularity, saleability, and inclusion in exhibitions are relative and sometimes political.  It depends on persons involved, their group dynamic, number of submissions/competition, platforms, (galleries, region/country/history, ethnicity of parties concerned, publication/program,  and much more,) and fashion.  As regards exhibitions, I've come to believe briefs and statements by organizers/selectors/juries/judges are at best their intentions, escape clause, a construct, which may or may not have any bearing on the final shape of the exhibition.  I say this not bitterly, but in summing up my personal experiences and numerous discussions with writers, musos and artists for half a dozen years.  It appears, further, book and music awards appear to pander to popular taste, whereas in visual arts, surprise- or shock-value plays a more noticeable role. 

If I were to practice what I preach, I should strive to make good work, have unerring faith in what I make and submit, and when excluded, shrug the experience off knowing it's "their" bad taste/judgment/loss.  They couldn't even see the work's worth based on A). Life would be so carefree; I'll stop analyzing every single word and every space between then in every brief seeking, a way to meet the brief to the letter. As a maker, there would be more integrity to my work if I could stick to my beliefs.

* * * * *

A string of unrelated human interactions in the last, oh, month have brought out my misanthropy to the fore; well, it's more the acute reminder I don't feel comfortable in my interaction with people and I waste a lot of time to performance anxiety.  More on that another time, but I now recognize a recurring theme in my psyche and a possible concept I can work on for a long, long time.  It is appearance vs intention, or outside vs inside, or my/others' perception of the outer me and my actions vs my intentions/perceptions of myself.  It's loaded; it has to do with being Japanese, having grown up in two very different places; having parents and teachers with expectations, some of which don't go nicely with the grown-up me's values; Minnesota vs New Zealand, etc, etc, etc.

I often ponder about blogging/Internet where we are the hosts of our own little universes and the main (and sometimes only) protagonists.  You can't refute that we gradually surround ourselves with yes-friends, because people who don't like us or our work will not comment or not read or unlike or unfollow and eventually go away.  I'm not saying gatherings of like-minded people are not good; no, not at all.  But there is the potential to see a skewed view of one's place in the world, I think, especially if one never knew one's place in the world like I never knew; the value and the right-ness of one's opinions; how to deal with disagreements; and for weak-minded persons like myself, it filters into the real world.  Because all of you are as real to me as Ben right here. 

While I love your comments here and on Facebook, sometimes I have this out-of-body experience of watching me get paranoid, overreact, or feel down. This is also one potential symptom of my mild-to-moderate depression, and I'm mindful I've been seeing a lot of this this week.  I've also noticed my clincher symptom yesterday; my eyes aren't open all the way, and I keep doing this thing where I raise eyebrows, (same as the South Pacific greeting,) to try to widen by vision.  Not good.   

Earlier in the year I thought I pretty much wasted my life from early 2003 to almost the end of 2010 to depression, though not continuously because I also had my most productive stretch during this time. I was seeing the light in living with mild-to-moderate depression as I learned more about it and me when I have it.   I've too many pre-made warp chains so I'm determined to not go down that path. 

Then I think of getting old.  I know one day I'll look back and reminisce about my 53-year old self, remembering, (or imagining,) the energy, ambition, and plans, but right now, while I'm here, I don't have enough energy, I can't seem to utilize my gray sells like I used to, and what I fear most is my ambitions for my weaving have shrunk so much I can't remember what they were.  Sometimes I read my blog to remind me what I had hoped to do and what I did, and then recalibrate my ambitions.  And let's not get started on forgetting words!

So, where was I?  I think what I was thinking this morning was that I need to tighten my belt and try not to waste so much time.  Having fun is one thing, but thinking I should be doing something while doing something else I'm not particularly enjoying is silly. 

I think that's where I was going with this. 


  1. you are a beautiful writer, Meg.
    I'm in a fairly challenged space myself or I'd write more, but I appreciate this post very much.
    warmly - Lainie

  2. Sorry to hear that, Lainie.

  3. “You finally have to settle down to do well the few things that your brain really can do well—the rest no longer seems pressing and distracting, because it is now permanently out of reach. The feeling that you are stupider than you were is what finally interests you in the really complex subjects of life….You realize that you are no prodigy, your shoulders relax, and you begin to look around you…”
    quote by Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine

    A friend had this on her blog yesterday. Good words for those of us who feel overwhelmed by both the possibilities for ourselves and all the stuff we could/should/would do to convince the world of who we are.

    If you enjoy it, do it. Forget about anyone else. That way, if your schtick changes to something else, you have no one to answer to.

    The art/craft debate? Simply doesn't matter in the end. If you want to weave, then weave. If it's time to stop weaving, then stop weaving. Whatever. You're the only person who's opinion matters in your life, truly. Not even Ben's.

    Give yourself a break, Meg. Take a break. Don't take it all so seriously. Life is meant to be enjoyed. You're doing what you're supposed to be doing. When it's not right anymore, you'll do something else. Listen to your gut, it's never wrong.

    Hope you have a good rest-of-the-weekend, my friend.

  4. Regarding the mores of internet interaction... I find it hard to disagree with people outright online. I know that a lot of bloggy forums are full to bursting with really rude comments about the writer and his or her opinions, but I tend to go the opposite way. Precisely because there is such harshness in the written word, because once a thing is said it cannot be renegotiated, because it is so easy to misread someone's intention - because of these things, I tend to be much less opinionated online than in real life! I would love to sit in a cafe and discuss art and craft and weaving with you, Meg. We would have the leisure then to thrash out exactly what you meant by saying A and what I meant by saying B. I could ask, "does your definition include this?" and you could ask, "why does it matter?" and so on and so on. Gradually we could thrash out a place of common ground and discover where we didn't agree as well. And it would be OK.

    And this is NOT me saying that I don't agree with your ideas! It's me saying that I'd love to talk about them over tea & cake some day. And trying to explain why.

  5. Hi, Connie, and thanks for the quote. That's a good one. And I feel about two years behind you, (not at all that this is a race,) but I am coming around to not being too worried about what other people think, but I still have to battle the critics and the "shoulds" in my head.

    Cally, that's one thing about writing. When speaking in person, you can pick up nuances and get a lot more out of each word and sentence, but in a short comment, we tend to read much more, don't we, including all the history/baggage associated with each word and one's experience.

    Perhaps sometime in the next 10 years or so, we'll make our way back to Scotland again, or we'll meet somewhere "in between" like... London or Paris or Rome?

  6. Ooh, yes. Or how about Delhi or Singapore? Or California? So much world, so little time...

  7. Lisboa. Barcelona. Morocco? Zagreb. Prague. Heck, even Tokyo, though Osaka is more interesting.


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