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thirty five

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So I turned 35 yesterday and thought I’d make  playlist with 35 songs I’ve particularly enjoyed listening to while I’ve been here in Lambeg. Maybe it is a bit self indulgent, but it’s my birthday (or was my birthday) and I’ll make playlists if I want to. And if you make one for your birthday I’ll listen to it.

This is partly out of thankfulness for music helping me the last few years when life has been harder going that I would have liked it to be. I’m not a huge music fan as in going to concerts or being fanatical about some new music that everyone should listen to. But I do enjoy it (like most people). Music connects and gets into parts that nothing else can quite reach. I caught a snippet of Bruce Cockburn singing on ‘Child of the Wind’ the other night

‘The best roads of all
Are the ones that aren’t certain
One of those is where you’ll find me
Till they drop the big curtain

Really Bruce? The best roads of all are the ones that aren’t certain? I wish I could believe that sometimes, especially when life seems to uncertain but perhaps there is something to what you’re saying so I’ll roll with it.

 

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300 onions all over again

Sometimes while sorting out the study I’ll find a notebook of some doodles I made on New Years Eve 2008, a time of uncertainty in our lives. We didn’t know if we would be moving back to Belfast or Northern Ireland from Dublin, whether we where coming or going.

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Well to cut a long story short we did move and now 4 and a bit years later, I’m starting to feel the same again, except probably worse.
We might be moving on, or will be moving but we don’t really know when or where we’re moving too. Things are uncertain. I know that things are always uncertain for everyone, we never really know what is coming around the corner so in a way we should just take each day as it comes. But it’s not that easy. This whole church business seems to add extra angles that other people mightn’t have to worry about. Is that right?

So I’m feeling really unsettled. How long have we left here? Where will we be? Some probably think it an exciting thing but to be honest that wouldn’t be the thought that first comes to mind. It’s a bit scary. Maybe I should embrace the change or enjoy the ride. If only things were that easy!

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acrylic procrastination

One of my resolutions for 2013 (because I’m old school sometimes and like that sort of thing) was to try some painting, something which I had never really tried before for different reasons.

One of those reasons is that there just isn’t much room in the house,
another reason is that jars of water and my clumsiness are a recipe for disaster,
another reason if you want another one is that I don’t really know what I’m supposed to  be doing,
perhaps another is that I wasn’t sure if I’d really enjoy it,
and another reason that I wasn’t sure what to paint.

Oh, and a few more. Paint and canvas can be expensive especially if  like me you would be fond of slapping it on. I can’t really afford to be experimenting to much in a cramped little room.

Maybe the main reason though (for me anyway) is that there are so many options and ways to go that it is hard to know when to stop or begin, what I’m even trying to achieve. We see so many images everyday that we can become image exhausted or image hyper active that I wonder what you can bring to the party. It’s like that in music. There is so much music that when you’re writing a song it’s hard to think what else you can bring to the party. Maybe it’s like that with writing as well, I don’t know.

In a way maybe you’ve just got to step out in faith and give it a go, ‘risk it for a biscuit’ and all that. Still another side of me says ‘What’s the point of putting all this effort in if you’re not really sure what you’re doing’. Which ends up tiring me out and makes me decide to walk to Lisburn instead. *To maybe buy paints. Which I think might help. But I’m not sure for certain. So will the money be a waste. Perhaps I should think about that more. Procrastination. Etc Etc.*
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little dave riding hood a

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Little Dave Riding Hood…

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leader of the plague

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leader of the plaque

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‘Count’ Your Blessings..

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drawing lines + risking things

I’d an idea a few days ago and thought ‘That might just work, I’ll give it a go…
And so the last few days have been spent trying to make this idea and see if it will work or look as cool as I imagined it might look.

It can be hard to have an idea  sometimes as the point when you see it in your head or imagine what it might look like, or the ideal way it would sound, or the ideal way it might come out is the best that it’s going to get. When you try to make the thing it usually looks nothing like you imagined in your head, or it sounds crap, or looks rubbish,  or won’t work.

Or maybe it would work if you kept at it or tried again and took your mistakes aboard and got help.

But sometimes you just get fed up because it was another example of something you tried hard to make work that didn’t work out the way you planned and all those hours you spent fiddling at it and trying to be careful and this mess or that song you don’t like is what you have to show for your work. It can be disheartening.

One of the main ways it goes wrong is in not knowing when to stop. You might have something you think is OK or at home with but then you think ‘Ah, but it could be better if I added this….‘ and before you know it you’ve gone too far and messed it up. You added too much paint, you’ve not taken enough care, or you just  didn’t care and just added something random and now it’s a pigs ear. G.K Chesterton is supposed to have said

‘Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.’

Is drawing the line the hardest part?

But on the other hand if we don’t ‘risk it for a biscuit‘ or if we settle for not taking risks and having a go then perhaps that is worse? I always think (and get a bit freaked out) by the parable of the talents and how the master treats the servant who buried his talents and played it safe.

This song covered by The Unthanks has been stuck in my head as well.
It’s about a man and his prized pigeon who he risks on big race from Rome.

‘There was gonna be a champions’ race from Italy
“Look at the maps, all that land and sea
Charlie, you’ll lose that bird”
But Charlie never heard
He put it in a basket and sent it off to Rome
On the day o’ the big race a storm blew in
A thousand birds were swept away and never seen again
“Charlie we told you so
Surely by now you know
When you’re living in the West End there ain’t many dreams come true”
“Yeah, I know, but I had to try
A man can crawl around or he can learn to fly
And if you live ’round here
The ground seems awful near
Sometimes I need a lift from victory”‘

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