Friday, July 11, 2014

How To Use Time and Not Be Used By It

Two months in Newfoundland is not much time.  According to our current day, workaholic, blood-thirsty capitalistic society, two weeks is considered a long vacation and two months is unheard of - what are we, in France or something?  But stepping a little closer to reality, two months is not much time at all.  For a moment, let's set aside the point that I do not consider my time here "a vacation."  I consider being here to be central to my life as an artist - it is a rich, fertile, nourishing place.  Given all this and my limited time here this year, I decided to use the time as I would an artist residency.

When I started The House Museum in 2001, the motivation and ideas for the project were coming from my first impressions of this place.  I didn't know anything about it really but I had a strong impulse that felt like it came from somewhere very deep inside me.  A feeling of knowing, even as I knew nothing.  The process of making and running that project for five years (!) brought me much closer to this place.  In a way, I came to know too much.  I got a bit jaded and cynical.  Newfoundland was this or Newfoundland was that.  It's always a bad sign when you think you know something so definitively, in my opinion.  Fortunately, I had the good sense to stop running The House Museum at that point and to spend time just living here.

Oddly enough, the question that was central to The House Museum - why are you here? - was never so pertinent or unanswered as when I stopped running The House Museum.  Why was I here?  I no longer had the obligation (as it came to seem to be) of running that project.  I no longer had an angry husband who was pissed that he had to spend all of his vacation here.  I no longer had two little children who needed full-time attention.  With all the obstacles cleared away, I was suddenly unclear about what I was doing and why.  I seriously considered closing this chapter of my life - without obligation meant that I was, in fact, not obligated to hang on if there was nothing to hang on to.  But that impulse that stirred in 2001 is still there.  I feel it.

So, this time will be spent rediscovering this place.  I know a lot now so it is time to get back to not knowing and, instead, to begin seeing what is in front of me.

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