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.