Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Shrinking Life

On Wednesday I spent the day in town. Which is not something I do much these days, but the drawing exhibition team couldn't meet at my place, so I went into town in the morning to run some errands before we met. In between twice being told, "we can't do this here, but you can go online and take care of it yourself," (I don't imagine this goes down well with older or less-well-connected folks; even in Little Old Nelson, face-to-face customer service now takes a backseat to the Internet,) I got to talk to Stella about her next project at the bookshop, which is always a treat.

Then I noticed a woman who looked so like Maclean and I was going mention it, but Stella got too busy serving customers. So I turned around, and imagine my surprise when I saw Maclean standing there, in person! She is in town for a week and I was in the bookshop just when she stopped by; I couldn't believe my luck. We talked about unintentional/unstructured making and simplifying. Ben and I had lunch at a new-to-us Mexican cantina, and the meeting with Annabelle and Sam went well; we were able to decide much in a short time because they had places to go.

I avoided looking into shop windows lest I see my own reflection, or worse, that I wouldn't recognize myself. All day I was aware I was walking funnily; presumably it's that old person's way of swinging from left to right without bending hips or knees. And living and operating this body, I felt a very different person; older, sure, but smaller, less significant, not someone with a "serious" mission in life. A pale shadow of my former self. And I remembered at one time I used to be a strutter and a fast-walker.

As expected, I've been exhausted since I got home Wednesday night. I haven't gotten any work done. On Thursday, I tackled some housework and a bit of cooking, but Friday all I could manage was to throw out my second or third failed sourdough and start another. And a few postcards.

I want to weave, but I have that problematic cashmere warp on the big loom and I'm reluctant to return to it. Once last week I "wove" for a couple of hours; in fact I was getting off and on the loom bench mending broken warps and for two days my right hip was zinging. I'm reluctant to start thinking beyond this project at the moment or else I'll be too tempted to cut and abort. I have good ideas about drawing, but every time I experiment/practice, they turn out boring or childlike or just really boring.

Even before Wednesday, I gardened four-plus hours each morning, which would have allowed me to do something else afterwards even a couple of years ago, this week I just liked down where I could find a flat surface on the floor and recuperated for hours.

I can't find the mojo/motivation/inspiration/stamina/energy/reasons-to-be-optimistic; I have ideas but I can't act on them. Or it takes so long to do one thing, and usually badly. Or I am so tired, I have to have lots of very long breaks. Life isn't fun, and I feel I'm not contributing anything. I can do so much less in the same 24 hours/7 days/whatever. Most days I sit still, (I know, I should move,) and wait to find a way out of this hole. Mom, even though she's living a hither-to unknown carefree life, and Sister, who is not yet 50, are having low-energy lives. Perhaps this is what we cold expect one year after Dad's passing, unless we have pressing, everyday duties. Like "real" work.

And I'm sick of thinking of what I'm not doing, how my life sucks right now. 

Yikes. Eh.

Still, I'm not depressed, I don't think, and my life isn't unravelling. And I finally looked up to find my failed starter sourdough were too watery; the current one is looking good so far; I hope it works. (I've done this several times always in the winter successfully, but for the first time I tried doing it from memory. Meh.) This must be what's called real life.



  1. Be gentle with yourself. Your body needs care and attention right now. With any luck spring will bring renewed energy but if you need to rest right now, then allow yourself to rest.

  2. Oh dear Meg...
    This too shall pass.
    The only way out is through.
    Embrace what is, just the way it is.
    Be here now.
    And all that jazz...

  3. As long as my life is shrinking, I wished I were shrinking, too. By the way, unseasonable cold spell is not the time to start another biga; I think it went to sleep overnight, and it's going to be colder the next two/three days.

  4. It was a joy to see you too Meg! And even if life feels a bit shrunken at present, think of it (as I do now, living in a caravan instead of a house) as a kind of Haiku: you might be doing smaller amounts, but think about every element you include, every colour or strand, and the result may be smaller but will feel complete. The joy is in thinking creatively and transmitting that thought into a reality, not on how much you manage to produce. I love Haiku, the simplicity engenders a more powerful response than extended meanderings. Good luck, and I hope to see you next time we are in town, early December xxx

  5. Concentrated making? The so-called simplicity of haiku is so tightly engineered I have a cultural/convent school block here, but I sense I know what you mean.

  6. I think of these times as part of a cycle, which includes up-cycling and down-cycling, but comes around again and again. In which case, you will get your mojo back momentarily. Just be patient. It will happen. And that looks like a great sourdough. A sign, maybe?

  7. What Margery said. And Connie Rose. It is only a year, and it takes time to process things. Much more than we allow ourselves.

  8. Oh, wait til you hear what I found out at the physiotherapist! I don't know whether to laugh or cry, so I'm just shaking my head so vigorously it's got to be good for my shoulders!


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