Tuesday, 18 August 2009

And now


It's been, you might say, a challenging, productive, and interesting few months since I took a break from blogging. There was an extra work project, a sizeable, difficult job translating a set of articles from French for an academic journal. Pushing my mind to its limits and then a little bit further. Never quite sure if I was up to this, if a little bit further was too far. And doing it. Far from perfectly, but trusting my judgement of what was good enough.

Some travel, too. A chance to visit the university I work with in Shanghai. China: the colour of the air, the buzz of the people, in all its forceful good and forceful not good, and yes we are the same and no we are quite different, a too-brief taste that remains on my tongue and has set me on a journey through books and films and wanting to go back one day.

Another trip, paid for with the translation fee, was to the sparkly, damp, beguiling city of Dublin and to a house in the impossibly deep green Wicklow countryside, where I attended a workshop with a woman whose work I have long found compelling, Ingrid Bacci.

And after that amazing workshop, sitting in a busy airport, washed and rinsed and wrung, hung out to dry in the sunny, blowy, stormy Irish air, and gently put back almost where I was before - almost, but not quite - I knew that this wasn't it either, this past few months of working more, doing more, trying harder. No that isn't it. It isn't even what you do at all that matters most, but where you do it from, how alive you are to it. And I'm not. Barely alive at all, much of the time.


Blogging brought me the huge pleasure and fulfilment of playing with words and finding that sometimes my words resonated with others. Completely unexpectedly, for I'd never before taken photographs, it brought the delight of making pictures. Most importantly, it brought contacts and friendships I would never have dreamed of. Precious, all of this. But it also brought a renewed and ever sharper realisation of my incapacity to move into those intimations of creativity, to open to those contacts and friendships. It brought me to the deepest and longest depression I have known.

This sounds pretentious, I know. But it's true. And now? Truly, I don't know. This playing around with something, this half-knowledge, half-sense, touched and pushed away, no longer fits the the bill. So I don't think I'll be resuming this blog right now. I think I will spend some time reviewing all my previous efforts, here and here, as well as here, pull together whatever words seem worth keeping, sort the photos into albums, see what it all looks like, and perhaps in the course of sorting find where I need to go next.

If all that starts to resemble anything, I'll put an link to it here. I have a feeling I'll be back eventually in some form, anyway.

Meanwhile, here are some more photos from China.


marja-leena said...

A wonderful set of images from your China trip, Jean! Your time in Ireland also sounds like it was rich and nourishing for you. I'm very sorry to hear you aren't returning to blogging for I've missed you and your writing and photos. I hope you find what you are looking for and that one day you may be back. Take care, Jean!

Dave said...

I've missed your wonderful postings. I hope you continue to create in whatever way feels most comfortable to you.

Dale said...

No one can no better than me the depression of glancing intimacy. So wherever you need to go, go there!

But you've been more important to me than I think you know. So go with that blessing (? I hope?) in your kit bag, Jean. Thank you.


Zhoen said...

Thank you.

Open your arms wide.

Beth said...

Yes, I was happy to find a post after so long and sorry to hear you're not planning to resume right now, but so be it! Take whatever time you need; I wish you fruitful ordering and sorting and figuring-out, and will always be delighted to see and read where life takes you, dear Jean.

Sky said...

sending wishes for joy and contentment wherever you land. i will enjoy running into you again somewhere. safe winds, jean.

Rachel Fox said...

I don't know you but love the way you write your thoughts.
Depressions come and go. Be glad when they're gone is all.

Rosie said...

dear jean how lovely to hear your voice again. Selfishly, I would like it to continue, but I am only too well acquainted with the depression not-so-merry go round, and understand why you may need breaks. I try to consider my depressive bouts like a twisted ankle...a chemical accident and not a reflection of my lack of worth, but the symptoms are still as debilitating, and I dont always succeed...

leslee said...

{{Jean}} Wishing you the best. Life and all its complex bits, including blogging, turn out so many unexpected difficulties and challenges. Fortunately, many unexpected joys as well. It was a genuine joy to meet you here and once in person. I hope you find and follow great openings of light and lightness to more than balance out the dark and difficult. More sweet than sour.

Lucy said...

Odd the different ways it takes us, and the different ways we change and move on.

Would you have been without it, even so?

Perhaps the deeper things open up, the deeper our disappointments.

I've left this uncertain what to say, and come back to it, and still can't seem to find much but platitudes. But I've so much loved what you've done here.

Best wishes in whichever way you decide to go on. I'll keep this feed open, and hope to hear from you again, one way or another.

Planethalder said...

Oh I've missed your posts. They always made me ponder and reflect. Hope to read more soon Jean. Take care.

Natalie said...

Dear Jean, just the way you express yourself is enough and to see your very unique presence back here on its cyber-page is enough. It doesn't need to be more than that and I want to say: don't give it up. But if you've decided to take a break, then I wish you the best break possible and hope that it won't last too long.

Dick said...

All said by the others, Jean. In the meantime, I hope for another gathering in town before too long.

andy said...

I've been putting off saying something, in the vain hope that I'd find something helpful to say. But if I wait until my head seems to be in the right place I'll be waiting for ever, and I don't want to let the moment pass without at the very least acknowledging your companionship along this quirky path, where real and virtual intersect in such insight-inducing ways.

Your words, both here and in comments back at my own blog, have often been a source of encouragement to me, but, perhaps a little like you, I'm finding myself holding back more and more. The path that once seemed so clear has ended up lost in a thicket.

Anyway, I'll be watching my RSS reader in the hope of hearing from you once more.