Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

Within, the Project: Keep going

An unspoken truth doesn’t cease to exist. It doesn’t disappear into the background,
It isn’t irrelevant.
It’s the frightened surface of the lightning rod, silent and waiting for the charge.
– written by me, this summer

After so very many weeks (okay, months!!), I am making another written record of the #within project. Last night, I took my post from July out of draft mode. I wrote it but was never able to post it.
I have been painting.

in my studio yesterday

The more I paint, the less I have to say. I thought I knew what I would want each painting to say, but instead I have to listen. And sometimes I don’t like what I hear. And sometimes I don’t want to talk about it.
Here is where I first posted my thoughts on the #within project. I wrote “I am hoping to draw people in to experience this with me,” but I guess I let people in, then I suddenly felt like shouting Get out! My apologies.  I had no idea what to do with that. By Week 2, I was already starting to fixate on the notion of privacy, and I wanted it more & more. Huge conflict though: I hang out on social media a lot. I’m compelled to by my own strange desire to simultaneously connect with people and be alone.  I wrote in Week 2 that I “move forward to find a voice for quietness.” You know what that voice sounds like? Nothing. It’s absence, it’s silence, and I keep listening, and it stays the same. The voice for quietness is me shutting up. And yet I can’t. I chatter on social media and sometimes I want to slap myself for it. I also wrote “living in an open way paves the way for access.” Well, I guess by not blogging this for months, I shut down a piece of that access. But it’s also because, while I wanted to “crack open the process” of creating these works, I couldn’t crack the code. I am dealing with information, pieces of things that constitute my private life.
one of the records of info for the #within project

How did I think I could force myself to out all this information, even if I was burying it in the paintings? I rebelled against myself. Apparently I told myself You can’t tell me what to do. Well, anyway, here I am. The process is changing me. I thought I was directing the process. I laid out all these criteria on January 8th, thinking I was charting a path for creating painted works in a way I had never done. I thought I could take the map out of my artist backpack and chart out the plan and head out on this hike. But this year has had event after event telling me I am not in control, not just of my life, but of my work. I can’t explain how so much has undermined my intentions to go in a chartered direction. It isn’t just people I love getting very sick, it isn’t just fears of their deaths, it’s the crumbling financial system, political leaders not leading, floods, earthquakes, droughts, fires, starvation, tsunamis, nuclear reactors, well… you know.
Turns out I am not the boss of me.  I’m not just taking orders. I’m just on a hike to I-don’t-know-where. I don’t know how I’ll get there, and I don’t know how long it’ll take.
This is #within, This is Week #36.
piece of paper found on an actual hike I took yesterday

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