The above is a photo Nora took in our garden which I ended up turning into cards for this year.
After my parents got moved to the care home and I turned their kitchen into the dedicated printing space I'd dreamed of having one day, I went through a brief surge of excitement at having that space available to me. I tried not to allow too much thought for the big "why" behind my having the space; I worked to keep my emotions in check and forced myself to focus on clearing out stuff and making the downstairs feel more like us and less like my parents. Yet as inviting as I tried to make it down there, my inspiration for working on anything beyond the mundane seemed to seep away. I kept myself busy with other things but couldn't bring myself to sit down and draw.
A huge part of that was that Sundays, which used to be my printmaking days, became "visit my parents in the care home days" and those visits leave me wrecked. Bearing witness to their increasing dementia and the associated indignities the disease brings with it is difficult and overwhelming. Alongside, we're dealing with a major decline in the health of one of our closest friends, had to put our dog down in the summer, and became empty nesters when Nora moved out to start life with the BF. As a caveat, before this post starts resembling a litany of sorrows, we now have a beautiful new pup and, also, Nora's departure isn't all bad, but ultimately this was a year of major changes.
I believe that creativity is very closely linked to the emotions. In my artwork, I feel an emotional response to something...a place that moves me, a idea or concept that resonates on an emotional level...and I want to express that outwardly. To translate that response in some tangible way. Over the course of this past year, I've struggled to deaden my emotions. To not feel the weight of the sadness and helplessness I'm confronted with each time I visit the husks that are now my parents, to not get brought down by the our friend's decline and by the changes I face as we lose, in one way or another, those who were close to us. Yet in deadening one part I deaden others as well and, perhaps as a result of this, my creativity's in hibernation and I haven't had much success in bringing it out. I know the time will come when I return to it again but, for now, I'm letting things go their pace.
And, for now anyway, I've taken up knitting and listening to a lot of spiritual music...music that feeds the soul. It's a meditation of sorts, like counting off prayer beads: my hands are busy at work, my mind follows the music, and my emotions stay calmed. In an odd way, I feel a link to my mother through this, she used to knit a lot some years ago.
So that's the story. Or part of it because it's still evolving. If there's still anyone out there checking in from time to time, all the very best to you in the coming year. May the changes that come to you lead you up instead of down.