Expected Rain

I’d expected rain but it didn’t come. It was blustery but I like that. It is real, alive. The wind buffets me along, dragging and pushing. Come on, it says, waken up, feel the power of me. Come on. And the sea takes its cue, crashing and pounding. It is good to be part of it, blown about in the same way. The same jetsam. Part and parcel of the same experience. It erodes the me, the personal. I like that.

Two hours. Two hours before we have to go. So I said I do some work. What kind of work? he asked. Oh, admin and stuff. You know, emails. Is it work? Is it proper work? It oils the wheels. I feel like I am doing something in the real world. It is recognisable as work. I sit at my computer. I send stuff. I do figures, my accounts. All the peripheral stuff. It isn’t hard, it isn’t physical, it isn’t creative. It is merely about dealing with things. Ordering. Sorting out. Making room, making space for the real work. And yet that real work doesn’t bring me an income.

Can we talk over coffee tomorrow? I asked him. Of course, he said. A seminar. I need to air it, this realisation. No, it isn’t a realisation, not really, more a question. Is it alright? Is it alright that I don’t make money from my art? What a question? And am I asking him or myself. We have enough he will say. And we do, though my voices would say, how much is enough. Is it alright to labour over something that brings no monetary reward? I want to ask them, all those artists how they feel about this. Does it eat into their sense of self? Do they feel less worthy than others whose labour is rewarded financially? Oh, people say, it must be lovely to have a talent. Look at me I have none. Except, except your innate ability to command a high salary. Something that makes them potent, notable in our society. I feel shame sometimes. I bring in so little and every penny that I do earn is noted, felt. Others make it seem easy, they are laissez-faire about it. Confident.

It’s not a moaning, it’s more about trying to make sense of it all. I haven’t been brought up to value work for work sake. For that is what this is. Just that. A need to make, to communicate, to perform, to feed my soul. A need to make work that unsettles, challenges, steps out of the banal, the ordinary. And yet, what is it? Who is it for? Does that matter? Ostensibly it is for me. It has to be. But it is the doing of it, the performing of it that seems to matter, much more, much much more than the result. I am paraphrasing what they said on the radio about graffiti artists. They are making their mark, scenting the ground, like dogs. I’ve been here. I was here. Is that all it is? An ego trip. I recognise my need, my urge to perform, but it is also about seeing, feeling myself in a place. Being present. Being present in silence. It is interesting this. I am invisible but it is a potent invisibility for people are energetically not engaging with me. Like the girl in Baron’s Court. It’s like an ironing out. Even at this ripe age, trying to find out what I believe. A making sense.

A gaggle of students outside the Why Not? club. Before that two girls all in black walking along the Prom. Large girls, tall. One with a hole in her tights, at the top of her thigh. Rubbing together as she walked. Even in the dark I could see the skin squeezing out. A fleshy circle of white. Noise outside the Why Not? club. A girl’s voice calling, Keeley! And halfway down Great Darkgate Street a couple rowing. You told me to fuck off, so I’m fucking off, he is saying. I’m sorreeeee, she replies, her cardigan slipping down off her shoulder, voice slurring. You’re responsible for how your treat me,yeh? he replies. I dodge the vomit on the pavement. Three instalments. I don’t need to shut off my nose for I still cannot smell anything.

You smell nice, he says when I go in to wake him up. Do I? I say.

We’ve begun the last film. I shall miss them, they’ve brought me joy, laughter and encounters with new worlds, stories and ideas. This one, The Light Between Oceans, is a beauty. Schmaltzy, of course, as one would expect with DreamWorks but well done, so far. Michael Fassbinder is a pleasure to watch, as is the actress who plays Isobel.

7.03 and it is still pitch. Ho hum. Such is the onset of winter. The leaves are gorgeous though, such colours. Such colours.