Last night I went to a life drawing class in the city. Our class was fortunate in our model, a young body positive advocate known as Hyperballad. It’s been around ten years since I’ve been to a drawing class, although obviously I have made some drawings in the interim – but not many. My passion for drawing is a long standing one, I studied in a drawing studio, rather than a painting studio, but when I completed my PhD I worked in 3D textiles and installation. Working on my PhD meant time devoted to deep thinking, and intense writing, but my passion for art suffered. To the point that I lost all interest in making art for a very long time, although I continued trying to ignite the passion in others.
Buying the ‘Oasis’ was a first step toward reclaiming my artistic self. A small wooden house in a small country town, it was relatively cheap to buy, although I’ve spent more money since on renovations including turning the upstairs area into one room which is now my studio bedroom. Despite having a studio space stocked with supplies (my own, my late brothers, my late mothers), my attempts at working again have been sporadic and lacking in direction.
My passion for the arts has never been about making work for sale or exhibition – although I have exhibited and sold work. Rather it has, in the first instance, been about dealing with my sense of identity and my emotions, in much the same way that my poetry and writings work. Sometimes the emotions I am addressing are deeply personal, in other instances the personal meets the political as I have discussed elsewhere.
As I drove to Melbourne last night I reflected on my fortune in being able to afford to do this. My freedom at this time is largely due to an inheritance from Mum – it wasn’t a million dollars, but it was enough to enable me to do many things that I could not have under other circumstances. I would not know what to do with a million dollars, and for me it would come close to being a heavy burden or a curse. Obviously I would help those I love with their financial issues, and I would donate money to causes I support. But even a million dollars would not make a lot of difference to the matters that keep me awake at night.
After the class last night I went briefly and very late to a social play event, deciding that the time and circumstances were not right. After that, I sought somewhere to eat. By the time I found a likely place it was after 10, and I almost walked past the unassuming shop front. But then, I realised, I had been to this Afghani cafe some five or so years ago with my late brother. Of course I had to venture in.
I sat there in my bright red lipstick, my hair in a tight high plait, wearing my indigo “make an effort” clothing, and wondered what the gentle man who served me thought. I can’t help but wonder what a million dollars might have done for him and his family, for women trapped under the repression of the Taliban, and similar regimes.
The eggplant biryani was excellent, the music atmospheric and I had the odd sensation of being in a film. That’s what happens to me sometimes when I’m out alone at night in the city. It takes me out of my everyday country self, and into an edgier, more glamorous world where momentarily anything seems possible. I mused on the evenings events, pleased at having put charcoal to paper again, at having made contact with Hyperballad, at the possibility that she may come to model for me in person. Above all I reflected on the unexpected re-emergence of my creativity in the wake of my blogging and more recently through the work with my photography friends.
The re-emergence of my creativity is worth more to me than a million dollars, and that is incredibly magical and sexy.