I’ll let the cat out (of the bag.) Most of the time I’ve no idea what I’m doing and I don’t understand it.
But, it’s a feeling that doesn’t really bother me and I even welcome. Much of the time I’m in the dark. Hello darkness my old friend. And there’s doubt and confusion.
I want to surprise myself which is harder than it sounds. To make something I don’t know.
For to know all the reasons and meanings behind a work, and all your intentions and motivations, seems to kill something very important, as if after falling in love you were obliged to write an essay analysing and de-constructing how and why everything had happened.
We are pattern-seeking animals and find connections and meanings whether we want to or not. It’s a habit we can’t kick.
I gather research, I digest it, I put it away, I live with it and then it comes out (or not at all) re-ordered in one way or another.
The philosopher Graham Wallis characterised this more neatly as the stages of preparation, incubation, illumination and verification. But having given up teaching I’ve given up cleverness too.
Its not good for me to know too much. As Philip Guston says in the film A Life Lived “It’s illegal.”
It’s a mystery to myself.
Possibly it comes out of material gathered watching a documentary on Ingrid Bergman but its come out like this. A creepy slightly hunched figure in a fur coat, opens the French windows, her modernist house contrasts and compliments the birch forest. We must be up North somewhere.