Words from the otherworld: Waking up.
“We live inside a dream.” David Lynch.
David Lynch is probably my singular greatest creative hero. If there is one word I aspire to in my artwork it is Lynchian. As such, when I read about a new documentary coming out: ‘David Lynch: The Art Life.’, to say that I was excited would have been an understatement. But what drew me in most was David’s process. The artistic process has always fascinated me.
From the time David wakes up, to the time he goes to sleep, David spends his time painting. His lifestyle could be described as that of a hermit. He rarely goes out except for visits with close friends. He certainly doesn’t live the Hollywood lifestyle. David’s focus lies in meditation and art. All day. Every day.
Needless to say, I also don’t live the Hollywood lifestyle. I also don’t experience the same worldwide success. But replace painting with painting with writing and David’s lifestyle is very similar to mine.
I have been unwell, again. And I am slowly getting well, again. This is a journey I have taken a few times now, but this is the first time I have ever been left feeling truly stagnant. I am not stagnant in the creative sense, but I am stagnant within myself in my day to day life. Most would argue that you can divide the two. I am not most. My creative spark is all that has kept me alive.
The doctors can’t help with my health. Pain is a constant companion now. And people close to me are fleeing in droves. I can only assume because the burden of seeing someone you love in constant pain is too much. That, and some of the hoops my pain management clinic put me through robbed me of my mind, for a time. And whilst the journey into madness and back again is wonderful fuel for creativity (you have to find an upside somewhere, right?), it isn’t conducive for maintaining a healthy social circle. There are no grudges, but there is quite simply, aloneness.
Note, I reported aloneness and not loneliness. The more time I have had alone, the more I have written. I wrote for me. I wrote to cope. I wrote to learn. I wrote because I had to. There was no choice. It’s not that my writing was ever pressured, it is more a font of passion that had to be released. I wrote because it made me happy, more than anything else made me happy.
I also wrote because I realized I was searching for something. Did I find it? No. Will I find it? Probably not. I realize not that as well as working alongside my inner muse, and my physical muse (Leon Howell), I work alongside a constant sense of seeking. A search not for something tangible, but rather a feeling. All I can say is that I know when I sense that feeling. When I sense it, I pin the feeling down as best I can in words, but by in large, the feeling is elusive. And that is just fine. But it does mean I have to write, a lot. (It also means I need to steal Leon and keep him, forever. But my plans to marry and kidnap Leon will be another blog post. By the by, if you know anyone who owns a van, feel free to tweet me.)
One thing I know for sure is that when I do catch that ‘feeling’, I not only feel inspired, but I feel alive. I feel what David Lynch’s defines as “waking up from the dream of life to find out who you really are.” David would argue meditation is the only way to achieve this feeling, I achieve it through art.
As much as I enjoy the lifestyle of writing day in and day out, lately I have been feeling stagnant in my outer life. I am not well enough to work, so my days are spent rattling around home. I need a changeup. As such, I am doing something a little crazy. I am flying off to the U.S.A. for a two month writing holiday. I will be staying with my closest friends, Pearl and Leon. Two people who I have never met outside of Skype, but two people whose souls who I know.
“Ideas come from experience.” David Lynch.
No matter how much I adore Leon and Pearl, this trip is still terrifying. I am unwell. I have never traveled alone. I have never met Leon and Pearl. Planes defy physics and are just scary metal flying birds of death full of strangers who don’t understand the definition of personal space. I have also been on my own, by in large, for over a year. So, whilst this trip will challenge my creative process, I expect it will fill up my inner muse and strip away my feeling of being stagnant.
My form of meditation has always been a moving thing, whether walking, dancing or creating. I hope to turn this trip into one long meditation on ‘me’. Who am I? Who do I want to be? What am I like when I am thrown out of context, but still left to create? Can I wake up permanently from feeling stagnant and “living inside the dream?”
I am aware now that some of my stagnant feeling comes from falling into the rut of believing what people have told me about myself and my condition, rather than finding out for myself what I know to be true. And what better way to find that out than by adventuring into the unknown?
“Everything I learned in my life I learned because I decided to try something new.” David Lynch.
When I am not sight-seeing or spending time with my friends, I will be writing. Will I be scared? Probably. I know my anxiety and PTSD will be firing on all cylinders. However, I will once again draw from David Lynch’s process. I will focus on being in the moment. I will focus on letting my fears wash over me without attachment. And I will focus on connecting to the vibrations of life that nourish me and ground me. I will… create. I will be my own artwork.
I will be documenting my trip with photos and snippets on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and here. I hope the journey will fill my pages with new and wonderful things so that when I return to my artist cave back here in Melbourne, I will feel stronger, less stagnant, and my muse will be refreshed in a new way. I will be more aware of who I want to be, and what I want to create.
I hope to wake up from the dream of life that has held me stagnant so that my inner and outer life are in harmony.
Watch the thing. It’s a good thing.