I wrote this post a few weeks ago on the back of a pad of watercolour paper, … but I digress, hence it now being a few weeks later.
ANYhoo, the watercolour pad was all I could find on hand. I had gotten up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t sleep. I’d poured myself a finger or two of Casadores (sipping tequila), and just waited for my mind to slow down.
Sometimes that’s all I can do. I have many other tricks and habits that help me sleep when plagued with anxiety, but sometimes nothing works like two fingers of hard juice. Puts my mind at ease, and I fall straight to sleep.
So here I am in my pajamas, sipping my Casadores, letting my mind wander, and an interesting thought pops up. Sometimes I watch my mind to try to understand it, to keep up with it, to understand the connections.
I was thinking about how many people recommend focusing and narrowing your efforts as an artist to one style to develop your brand, but try as I might, I can’t help skipping around between my varied interests. And I thought, maybe I’m a reincarnation of Tristram Shandy!
Tristram Shandy => the master digresser
Tristram Shandy is the fictional narrator of his own biography, whose style is so full of digressions that he does not manage to get himself born until the third volume of his autobiography–about 150 pages in. Yet, there is something very playful and true to life about his style.
Virginia Woolf said Sterne’s comic masterpiece Tristram Shandy brings readers “as close to life as we can be”.
Many people can’t stand his style because he’s all over the place, but I love it. I like to follow where my excitement leads, or as some western Buddhists call it, fostering “beginner’s mind” with its open fascination with things as if seeing them for the first time.
It doesn’t get to the point, but it does appreciate a lot of fine fun along the way.
I wrote my masters thesis on this novel, so it’s always running in the background somewhere, although I just did the Guardian quiz on how Shandy you are, which the quote above comes from, and I only got four out of ten! It has been eleven years, in my defense.
Straight to the point now
Anyhoo, I thought in that late-night moment,
Life is in the digressions.
And what follows here are the Shandian musings of my mind at 2 am on how, maybe, I need to embrace my bumblebee ways, at least some of the time. #authenticity, amirite?
There is a value to focus and planning, but remember the joy of play, turning on a penny to follow your nose, to pick and flick something (sorry, had to), to… digress.
Smell the roses and all that.
I liken it to Brownian motion, which bees use as they bumble around collecting pollen, basically feeding the entire planet. If bees can feed the entire planet by bumbling around, they must be doing something right.
But I digress. No, I don’t. See? I let myself follow my nose, which happens to be rather large aka Shandian, with the bees, and it led me to my point exactly….
Something Pooh Bear said… about doing nothing, and Mary Poppins says, something about everything being possible, especially the impossible, and of course we can’t fly in the air by the strings of balloons. Don’t be ridiculous!
I love Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins, btw. She’s got just the right mix of purpose and trixter, which again brings me to my point exactly, …
…which reminds me that I am sometimes confused AF about how to be a good ally to Canada’s First Peoples. The notion of a trixter… trickster (sp haha). Trix are for kids? Well in Mary Poppins they are for sure.
I mean the trickster is an Aboriginal figure, who (forgive my white cluelessness–you really should learn about First Nations culture from First Nations people)… stirs the pot, flips the card table, effs sh!t up, BUT also is sometimes akin to the Creator. Point being… eat your Wheaties and respect your elders, notably First Nations peoples.
And on that note, it’s time for bed. And let that be a lesson to ya.
Peace out, Bumblebees,
This bumblebee mind, in which I digress, is definitely a running theme for me. I’ve talked about it before in Creativity for crazy times, Bumblebee in action – a vignette portrait in progress, and The secret life of trees.
This is me rolling out from my center much of the time. It is me at my happiest, most stimulated, most creative and intuitive, except when I fall down the internet hole for like 6 hours or something. Aaaaah!
Which reminds me, for a really insightful song about what teaching online is like, click this link for a video of a music teacher’s song. You can thank me later 😉 .
My theory, which is not new, is that if we enjoy the ride, we might end up on a journey much richer and more interesting than a B-line to the destination, keeping our eyes only on the horizon. Enjoy the trip! See you next fall 🙂 .