Solitude shows us what we should be; society shows us what we are.
Well, I’m back…
When I said it would be quiet around here for a while, I had no idea just how quiet it would get. Not only have I not been able to use my laptop or get online because I can’t power my laptop, but during the Easter weekend my registered domain name expired, and my blog was replaced by one of those scary generic pages that are the internet equivalent of a tombstone…
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here to see if the earthly remains of smallestforest.net will be available for purchase soon… (Dies iræ! Dies illa!)”
It was a bit chilling.
But this has actually been a welcome hiatus. Like a detox for the spirit. I never really realized how much time I spent on my laptop, how much of what I do is subconsciously being auditioned as ‘material’ for this blog, nor how much of my week is spent taking and fixing up the photos, or putting the words together for it. The biggest revelation of all, during the past weeks’ internet abstinence, is that around 90% of what I do online is expendable…in real terms, my life gains so little from all these activities, that it’s not such a big loss when the whole system drops out.
Not only did life go on—minus the internet, minus smallestforest.net, minus e-mails, minus desktop applications and my entire music collection—but it seemed to get more real. I went to a smattering of exhibition openings (I even bought a small illustrated tattoo at Emily Hearn’s Taste of Ink exhibition…Yay!), ferried a new friend over to the boat for an afternoon of art talk, took long aimless walks from Dinah Beach to the esplanade in Fannie Bay just to sit and gaze at the boats in the harbour for half an hour, did stuff in my art journal, worked on embroidery projects, did a couple of paintings, made some air-hardening clay figures on which to draft patterns for some softies I want to make, wrote an amazing 38 pages (!) in my journal, and scribbled so many creative ideas down in my seedbook that I would need to hire a small team of people to carry them all out in this lifetime.
The internet can inspire, no doubt about that; there is so much wonderful stuff on here to fuel the fires of making and doing. But it can also overwhelm me to the point where I am paralyzed, addicted to looking and bookmarking, and if I didn’t regulate it, I might spend more time looking for inspiration, and not enough time alone with my own creativity and a tool in my hand! One of the most productive periods of my life was when we were living in a shack on a remote beach in a very undeveloped part of the Philippines. We had no electricity, didn’t own a laptop, there was no internet, no mobile phone, not even a small crappy camera! Yet Kris and I could barely keep up with all the ideas we were getting for things to build, make, design, paint, or do. It seemed that the more we drew from the well, the faster it filled.
And while I enjoy my laptop, camera, the internet, and a hot shower (!) now that I have all these things, it is really comforting, and empowering, to know that I didn’t need it to have ideas or make beautiful things, didn’t need it to feel like I was among the happiest people on earth, and that everything could be taken away from me, tomorrow, and life would go on, as vivid and rich as ever.
- A quiet place (angeltributes.wordpress.com)