My favourite time of year–fall–is here. There are the usual signs of course: misty mornings, the fog horns on the Fraser when I’m opening up at work. Crispy leaves disguising the uneven seventy-five-year-old sidewalks causing me to flail my limbs conspicuously . . . dents in the car–not from the hideous trans-Canada highway traffic–but from acorns plummeting onto the car at night.
What signifies autumn for me is the awakening of my mind. This pattern can be attributed to the “back-to-school” cycle that Canadian children are subjected to. Growing up, my sisters and I were unlike the other kids, who mourned the end of summer, the retiring of flip flops and Kool Aid and Gilligan’s Island reruns, and the freedom to play outside uninhibited. No, we were busily drawing up title pages for subjects, tracing words out of the lettering book with markers.
This week it was back to school for me again, and I’m always impressed how much I learn. After three hours of discussion about contemporary art, I realized how detached I’ve been from the art scene. I’ve spent the rest of the week reading everything I can find about modern and contemporary art: about artists, movements, documenta, galleries, museums, curators, exhibits, projects, history, art journals. It is overwhelming but is bringing me so much life to finally be pushed to think about why I am an artist and what direction I’ll move. It’s going to make me deal with that excuse I’ve been using for why I don’t write: I have nothing to say. It also applies to painting, but somehow I thought I could just get away with playing with colour and imagery without saying anything. By the time I’m finished these programs, I won’t responsibly be able to continue using that excuse, or I will be “burying the talents.”
And as I am also studying business communications, today I was immersed in the world of proofreading. It is amazing how many errors there probably are on this blog, and how infrequently I proofread it. And how indifferent I am about it.
Another interesting dynamic in all of this is being married to a photographer. We liked art and photography when we got married six years ago, but had no idea we would both move forward so much in the arts. Could we combine forces like Christo and Jeanne-Claude or the ParkeHarrisons? Our first project was the other night, when we decided to walk to the ocean from our place. It’s not that far away, but we’d only cycled there before. We found ourselves somewhat stranded along the Port of Vancouver without watches or phones, wandering along the railroad tracks at night. I picked up a dirty hunk of wood covered in staples and old shipping and receiving stubs. Curtis is going to photograph it.
And where will childbearing and child rearing fit into all of this? Everyone tells me that when you start having children, everything else goes on the back burner. It would have been so much easier if I had chosen to be a nurse or a secretary. By the time I finally launch a creative career, will I be forced to trade it all in for a traditional role? I’ve seen it work both ways, and I really am not trying to be selfish here. It’s just that because of my gender, I have a lot more issues to deal with than my husband or my colleague do.