Like many creatives, I’ve often felt overwhelmed by my to-do list, and just wished I could make the world go away for a bit so I could have more time to make art, dream, write and play. But as an ex-carer, I am still not used to having much time to myself, and the demands of the outside world and paying work are permanent considerations. Not to mention just keeping everything ticking over – nice things too, like family and friends and fun and fitness and food and films and all that folderol.
Unless all the other things have been ticked off the list, I have often felt guilty sitting at my desk farting about with scissors, glue stick and coloured paper, especially because I am not doing this as a “proper” job. Silly, ain’t it. But how it is. It takes a strong minded soul to be able to juggle all these things on an ongoing basis with grace and ease.
I have sometimes fantasised about everything just stopping, like a snow day when time and space are all suddenly different and all bets, as they say, are off. No social commitments, no places to go, no things you must do, no promises to keep, just a chance to be. A chance to focus on all the things that have slipped off your to do list because they are the most important things of all – the things that actually really, really matter.
Yes, I have longed for that permission to stop. It felt so completely unthinkable. That only a seismic shift beyond imagining could disrupt our sophisticated society, running on such smooth wheels.
Be careful what you wish for, eh?
Now it’s four weeks into a lockdown situation that is still evolving. At first I was rather delighted – licence to make art, write, read, hang out with the family, cook, play games, watch movies, go for walks, re-connect with friends, settle into a slower and more conscious way of life. I have been loving these things, and so appreciating the slowing down of reactivity – not just for myself but for everyone. We have got to start doing things differently, and hey, I thought, it isn’t so bad.
Then I got twitchy. So many projects, so much to catch up on from all the long years of putting the important things aside, and so much to do around the house that it would need six months’ worth of quarantine. And also – is everyone OK? Understanding that even in our individual little household bubbles, we are all still connected and have a part to play in the whole.
The to do list is different but it is still there – in my head, even if not imposed by anyone else.
Somewhat to my surprise it has morphed into this question: What can I do to make things better? What can I offer, with the skills I have? And where do I start? Even if it is simply making a rainbow to put in the window or a chalk drawing on the street outside, it seems to me that this really is a time when art is needed.