Noting the Self: Vignettes on Many Floors

Maybe an entire life is just an embroidered patchwork – a technicoloured tapestry – rich with scattered notes to self.

First, accessibly, there are the piles on the bedroom floor; the visual to do lists, in 3d art installation. What else can two sealed bottles of rice bran oil mean, but that I intend to make a leave-in hair conditioner quite soon? What is a pile of 573 books by the bed if not a chartered foray into a future mindscape? A single coin, in the centre of the floor; a reminder to go to the bank. Some installations last longer than others, and are relegated to the periphery; placed one day, they are swept away the next. Yet I abhor clutter if the environment is one in which I am meant to be productive, and though a life well lived requires colour, I crave clear space. In reality, this just means things are pushed outwards. The centre stage of the carpet, if nothing else, is clear and capable.

Every thought has an action and reaction, and we are all in constant dialogue with ourselves. Forget Descartes; or at least, let’s modulate him: I am because I have ideas about the future, and think I’ll be in it. Continue reading

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On showering; or how I hold the world together

Climbing the grand steps of self-labelling, there are many levels to nudge oneself through (one is both a person leading the horse on a piece of rope, and the horse being urged to proceed through each narrow gate) before one can truly feel comfortable calling oneself ‘a writer’. There is the ‘I’m not really a writer unless I have published my fourth novel and won another prize‘ brigade, and on the other side of the scale there is the horse-before-cart, self-actualising, The Secret-loving, manifestation-willing, glory-expecting camp of those who enthusiastically consider ‘being a writer’ merely to mean ‘sometimes I think about stuff and definitely will write some of it down one day; it’s gonna be good.’ Somewhere in between, there is this trusty landmark: you can’t call yourself any kind of writer until at least one person has asked you where you get your ideas from.

When some people shower in the morning, I imagine they think about the way the water feels, how they need to replace the shampoo soon, or what they’ll have for breakfast. On one level, I’m doing all this too (luxuriating in bergamot and orange homemade body scrubs, etc.; though I definitely have already had breakfast; I wake up starving each morning and have to eat immediately) but on another level, while the water runs over my body, I’m merrily and involuntarily living several other lives in my head like an absolute weirdo. Continue reading

‘So you can see me, I put make up on my face’ – Modelling Zen, or ‘Am I thick enough yet?’

Sometimes people ask me what, in my opinion, makes a good art model. I have roughly a zillion different answers to this question, depending on my mood, but one thing remains (and I think would apply to more ‘mainstream’ modelling, as well): you’ve got to be thick skinned.

This isn’t as simple as it sounds.

The obvious things are these: you have to be prepared to see yourself as an object. I go through a flurry of indecision about my beliefs on this; are you objectifying yourself by modelling? Are other people objectifying you? If so, is that OK? Continue reading

Where is my body? (Soul stations of performance)

If we’re all just here because we think we are (an opening sentence which I am efficiently assuming to sweep together in a vague, potent soup all current notions of reality as mere [/grand] manifestation of thought, quantum theory, and quarks which really only bother to flit about in well-behaved places because we watch them doing so [double-slit experiment ‘n’ stuff; outers being reflections of inners]). There’s a lot to be said for the quote which adorned various noticeboards throughout my teenage years, sometimes reincarnated and rebirthed through penned scrawls on scraps of paper, and pinned or bluetacked to my various local spaces, and still reigning high on one of the galleries of my modelling website:

‘We make ourselves up as we go’.

It’s an interesting experiment to treat life as an experiment. Continue reading