Don’t think twice…

sinistertits

Warpaint. Indigo Byrd (2017)

“Various theorists (Archer, 2000; Bishop, 2005; Kaye, 2000; Reiss, 1999; Rosenthal, 2003) have focused on… advancing ways in which the artwork might be activated, and may in turn activate an audience with a view to fermenting social change. In doing so, they consider not only the performances of the artist but a range of co-performances which occur in the process” PhD thesis p. 69

People who follow and contribute to feedback on my blog may have noticed my militant stance on artistic and bodily freedom over the last few days (if not. Pay Attention!) What you may not be aware of, is that I was/am? an artist whose studio practice and exhibiting of work ground to a halt under the combined weight of a PhD, a breakdown in mental health, the stillborn desire for an academic career, a difficult relationship breakup and my mothers illness and subsequent death after three years of continuous caring.

My arts practice has always been, what we call in the trade, ‘self-referential’, meaning that I make art using the filters of my own experience as a starting point. My body, my ’embodied experiences’ and issues that stir me in some way, have always been a major focus for my work.

void2

Void (detail) not/Indigo Byrd (2001)

But because I have long believed that “the personal is the political”, my work also has a social dimension. In the past I have looked at issues such as relationship/loss, aging, menopause and the way concepts such as gender identity, mental health and body image are constructed and remade individually, socially and artistically.

By this I mean that I am interested in the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff as well as what is presented to the world. The final outcome of my PhD was an investigation into, and therefore an exhibition of my evolving, combined practice; as an artist, a researcher, an educator and a writer. Underlying the work I produced was the (ongoing) process of grappling with my changing sense of identity, including who and how I was/am ‘performing’, as a woman, as I age.

I use the word ‘performing’ deliberately, because I don’t necessarily regard biology as destiny. Underpinning the way I perform as Indigo/ not-Indigo are a messy tangle of psycho-social issues which shape and reshape this identity – issues I see regularly discussed in the writings of many of the people whose blogs and twitter pages I follow. Body shame/positivity, sexual shame/positivity, questioning and re-questioning choices made, things said/unsaid, roads taken or not traveled. Self and social freedoms and censorship, power relations, economic imperatives, fear, self-love and loathing, mental health, self harm/care: writing on (and on) and rewriting my story. I’ve probably missed some, but I trust you get my drift.

Last night I stayed up late again, fueled by coffee, and the difficult news that the husband of my oldest friend had died, unexpectedly, of a brain aneurysm. We live in separate parts of the state, and I didn’t know him very well, but he was only five years or so older than I am. Having offered to go and stay with my friend for a while, I decided I’d better distract myself by getting some posts sorted for the next little while.

I checked out the Wicked Wednesday prompt ‘page 69’, took my computer and an armful of books to bed for inspiration and wound up with three possibilities. Included in my book choices – perhaps with thoughts of my own mortality/legacy at the back of my mind, was my previously shelved-away PhD exegesis. Which I then re-read for the first time in six years, with some surprise, pride and pleasure. (Did I really write this???)
Prior to re-reading this brick – which took four long, difficult years of my life, ripped my mental health to shreds and contributed tangentially to the dissolution of my last relationship; my attitude toward the experience could be summed up by Bob Dylan’s words on page 69 of his self titled book Bob Dylan: Writings & Drawings (1972):

I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

There have been days when I’ve had similar feelings about writing this blog. But after last night I’m feeling much more positive, and I’m beginning to see that maybe, after all I am on the right track…

When I started ‘Midnight at the Oasis 64‘, it was to ‘simply’ find a way forward – after Mum’s passing, and after that orgasm. The process of acting on, thinking, writing and sharing my re-emerging sexuality has led me to the point where the photographs I am taking, and the words I am writing, are rapidly becoming part of a re-emerging, yet different artistic practice. A practice which is also an exercise in erotic memory, imagination and “co-performance” with you, my fellow creatives. None of this was planned – I’ve always placed my trust in the process…

“And the other book/quote?” I hear you ask, trying to stifle a yawn, quietly, wondering where the Wickedness in Wednesday had gone.

Skeat, Walter. (1993) The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Reference.
Words on page 69: Chart; Care; Chary; Career; Caress; Carnal; Carnation; Carnival; Incarnadine; Incarnation…

Sometimes I need reminding that the easiest route isn’t always the best route…

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

11 thoughts on “Don’t think twice…

  1. I think blogs are “live” in that they are continually evolving and changing in content just as an event in life leaves a mark on a person’s personality. I am lucky to be in a good place regarding my personal life at present. It has not always been that way and maybe I will write about the events that led to the person I am today. I think a blog has room for current and past issues. I always enjoy coming to your page – to see drawings poetry, stories about your past lovers or current musings about where you are today. Carry on Indie, I say, you go girl! Ps hope all ok with your friend, dreadful to lose someone suddenly… x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks May I always appreciate your thoughtful comments, and find what you have to say on your blog interesting and worthwhile. My poor friend tried to keep him alive with cpr but he went very quickly. He was an organ donor and my friend kept everything going till ambos arrived in a helicopter so she’s taking some comfort that 5 people have benefitted from this awful loss. No warning at all… about 5 years older than me and 7 younger than her. Sorry too much detail…

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      • Well, today you posted some things that are “human,” (such as liking ice cream, or struggling with a Ph. D.). As opposed to being one-dimensional (a purely sexual being, who thinks of nothing else). Like comedians who are always “on” in public, in which you see the fool he/she portrays, but never the serious, multi-faceted human being that he/she must be, at some point in their daily life. I relate to the humanity of individuals, wherein I share some of the same traits. That makes them “real” or “human” to me. Anyway, I enjoyed today’s post. Thanks.

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      • I’m pleased you enjoyed the posts. I write erotica and I contribute to various memes but I also write about death, creativity, social and political issues, and my memories. If you read my about page you will see why I started the blog. 2.00 am I’m going to claim my share of the bed from the feline who thinks its hers.

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  2. I love to get to know people better by reading their blogs (even better to meet them in person). My blog has evolved from being started to post erotica, to adding images, to adding personal stories and now it’s a mixed of all that and sometimes very personal stories too. I am no different in real life than I am on my blog or social media. I hate pretending. It’s so much easier to just be yourself, right?
    Thanks for letting us get to know you better 🙂

    Rebel xox

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    • Hi Rebel, thanks for your post – I wasn’t at the point I could share my art much before it’s been stored away -like me, for years. I really was surprised to reread my old academic writing. I also feel like I’m still sorting out the aftermath of mums passing and this intensely sexual being that is emerging as I write and read and experiment. It was obviously there but once again locked away. I have bits of part time uni work, my life as a grandmother, and all the day to day stuff most people contend with and my blog was/is intended to help me reconcile aspects of my life. If you look at parts of my blog other than the blog posts you will see lots more about me. The reason my blog is sex death and creativity is because at the moment these are the parameters of my life. After a number of years of doing the phd, working crazy long hours, nursing first my brother then mum and breaking up with my ex I find myself with a small handful of friends, an arts practice that may or may not get rebuilt, in a house full of family possessions I’m trying to sort through, and a garden I can no longer bear to be in ( where once it was my escape and solace). I’m drawn to kink but not I think to the intensity of a D/s life, or alternatively to the swinging side of things (which I tried years ago). If I could go back in time it would be to my relationship with Ryan, but until I started writing the erotica I hadn’t thought about what we’d had for 20+ years. Now the genie is out of the bottle and I’m learning stuff about myself I didn’t know. I’m shy but flirty and I crave relationship but am frightened of going through it all again. At the moment I feel more indigo than anything else, but I still don’t know who indigo is or even who she/I can be. None of this is where I expected to be at age 64, though there are few of my choices I’d not make again. I was a serial monogamist because I followed some elusive trail which I think I’m still following. thats all I have time to write today I have another funeral to go to not the death I mentioned in my blog – another friends grandmother… Indie xx

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