Saturday, March 23, 2013
To the Lighthouse Blog Post
I am an artist who has a problem with mixing my mediums. Sometimes it’s okay when I have the compulsion to add words to a painting I’ve done or a design I’ve made, or when I sing along a little while the pianist plays in ballet class. But sometimes I have this feeling that I’m battling myself, never happy in the present moment of creation, always thinking about what it would be like to be fulfilled by art so complete it squeezes out every drop of talent I have and satisfies my incompleteness. Sitting in class and listening to Professor Fernald read this section aloud from “Time Passes,” I did not hear a single word. Instead I heard music: rhythm that made my toes bounce, melody that made my torso sway, dynamics that made me want to burst from my seat. And then I thought- What the hell!? I just ran hear from a ballet class, where I was distracted by thoughts of this book I wanted to read and a poem I was trying to write about my mom… Anyway, it’s ironic that it’s a passage about stillness yet made me want to move. So I inserted my own movement: lines of my own poetry – talking about dance, but more about art and ideas – interspersed between Woolf’s sentences and trying to fit in with her words somehow. Nothing stirred in the drawing-room or in the dining-room or on the staircase. The toe of a brown leather boot pulses up, down, up, down. Only through the rusty hinges and swollen sea-moistened woodwork certain airs, detached from the body of the wind (the house was ramshackle after all) crept around corners and ventured indoors. Stiff joints ache for explosive movement to sweep the cobwebs out. Almost one might imagine them, as they entered the drawing-room questioning and wondering, toying with the flap of hanging wall-paper, asking, would it hang much longer, when would it fall? A shift of weight is all it takes to set the turn off-balance. Then smoothly brushing the walls, they passed on musingly as if asking the red and yellow roses on the wall-paper whether they would fade, and questioning (gently, for there was time at their disposal) But moments fade and shapes will change and what are poses worth? the torn letters in the waste-paper basket, the flowers, the books, all of which were now open to them and asking, Were they allies? Were they enemies? How long would they endure? Ideas linger after closing curtains and dying applause. So some random light directing them with its pale footfall upon stair and mat, from some uncovered star, or wandering ship, or the Lighthouse even, the little airs mounted the staircase and nosed round bedroom doors. Nuzzling deep inside creases of the brain: ideas in-extractable… But here surely, they must cease. Whatever else may perish and disappear, what lies here is steadfast. The movement should settle; but the fingers of the mind tighten their grasp. Here one might say to those sliding lights, those fumbling airs that breathe and bend over the bed itself, here you can neither touch nor destroy. Prisoner of abstraction, held hostage by the compulsion to pin down… Upon which, wearily, ghostlily, as if they had feather-light fingers and the light persistency of feathers, they would look, once, on the shut eyes, and the loosely clasping fingers, and fold their garments wearily and disappear. a feather that flits endlessly in periphery, teasing with its lightness that carries so much weight. And so, nosing, rubbing, they went to the window on the staircase, to the servants’ bedrooms, to the boxes in the attics; The attic of the mind is no mere storage space… descending, blanched the apples on the dining-room table, fumbled the petals of roses, tried the picture on the easel, brushed the mat and blew a little sand along the floor. A workshop: it draws on the moments, the shapes, the poses, the unconscious. At length, desisting, all ceased together, gathered together, all sighed together; all together gave off an aimless gust of lamentation to which some door in the kitchen replied; swung wide; admitted nothing; and slammed to. The dance in all of us… How to make movement a memory? --Hanna T.