Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Not too much yoga; fragment; fritters

E has a lot to do, and must walk her dogs afterwards, and yoga only lasts about half an hour, about the same as pre-yoga coffee. Her older dog Moos, having lately acquired an adopted younger brother, is expressing rather puppyish behaviour and pointedly steals one of her wellington boots to play with.


The corners of my blue room, it being at something of a dead end of the house, are beginning to smell slightly musty. I set about clearing them out a bit in the afternoon - my sister quoted once a much respected elderly lady, who had cleaned for other people for much of her working life, who said that if you take care of the corners of a room, the middle will take care of itself. Along with a number of boxes of things no longer under guarantee which can be thrown out, I displace my old tapestry frame. I'm loathe to get rid of this, Tom bought it for me during a fairly short phase when needlepoint was a hobby, before we even came here, and I feel it may one day acquire a new usefulness, even if not for needlepoint or not for me. I unrolled the stretchers and found the last thing I began on it, again before we came here.

A very large self-designed canvas of some hyacinths, along with the full sized background cartoon and the original design it was scaled up from (together with a short list of vegetables and some figures, which seem to me more possibly more interesting, being inexplicable).

I no longer, for now at least, have any time or motivation for activities whose outcome is purely decorative; I'm not sure or rigid about what might be included in this category*, but I think I can say needlepoint is, unless I suppose one was a mediaeval person with enough of it to hang on a wall as draught exclusion. I know you can make it into cushions, but that's about it, and they aren't particularly useful cushions. Anyway, the wool for this has long since mostly been knitted up into other, more useful, enjoyable and visible things. Needlepoint can be a pleasant and satisfying activity and can be extremely beautiful, but I'm not sure, looking at this, about trying to translate a style of visual art - those kind of closely observed, highly shaded still-life and botanical drawings I've been fond of doing in the past - into the medium of wool and canvas, though there are artists, like Kaffe Fassett, who have done it to good effect. 

The main problem with it though, is something that has been the bane of my life forever, starting something hugely ambitious, insisting on it being entirely original, and never finishing it. I have had too many beautiful, and even more not so beautiful, fragments of unfinished things lying around, making the corners musty. Yes, I guess I am talking figuratively as well. Taking stock though, I have think I have fewer than I used to. I embark on things I have no hope of completing less often, I think, and have the staying power (and the time, when I set about these kind of projects I was considerably more busy with working life etc) to finish more. On the other hand I suppose, if no time is wasted, process can count for something even if the product never happens, if one enjoyed it at the time.

Not quite sure what I'll do with it, I can't quite bring myself to throw it out yet, but that's what needs to be done in the end.


Not just spinach curry, but also rounds of aubergine dipped in egg and a mixture of breadcrumbs, polenta and seasonings and fried. Delicious.


* and I'm not imposing it as a rule for living on anyone else.


Zhoen said...

How would we know what we can't accomplish unless we give it a go? Those designs and the work started, is exceptionally lovely. Surely someone knows someone who would take it and make something more of it.

Working on my corners.

Nimble said...

Clearing corners sounds entirely ambitious to me. I'd settle for all four of us getting our bits and bobs out of the communal spaces. I salute your attention to the musty bits.

Appetite and the drive to create are evanescent and it is curious to come upon the results after the impulse has gone. Good to know the wool has gone on to other lives.

Roderick Robinson said...

Time to start a novel about an expatriate woman who is "forever, starting something hugely ambitious, insisting on it being entirely original, and never finishing it". To ensure authenticity you must complete the first chapter (A four-generation saga based on Barbara Tuchman's remarkably readable "A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century"), add on the first sentence of the second chapter, then let the MS fall into desuetude as represented by an ellipsis... Post it on Box Elder and gather in lots of "If only..." comments. Thereby becoming famous through the well-known British mechanism of fictional failure. To the point you where will need a notice on your gate: Chien Méchant and be required to attend a subfusc event in a Bayswater hotel to launch the Anita Brookner Prize For A Novel Of Miniscule Intent.

Knowing ahead of time that the work will remain incomplete will, I guarantee, produce prose of your finest invention. At age ninety you will be invited to the Elysée Palace to be awarded the Ordinary Knight of the Légion d'Honneur, something of a disappointment but compensated for by having France's first female president, the grand-niece of Simone de Beauvoir, doing the pinning. A plot will be reserved for you in Père Lachaise but you will undermine this gesture by living to 110 by which time the plot itself will have become part of a new autoroute.

On the other you may choose to choose to write a 1000-word short story based on the above summary.

Roderick Robinson said...

Alas, "hand" is missing.

Roderick Robinson said...

And "you" and "where" need transposing.

Sabine said...

Oh how this resonates. I have a list of "projects", frilly things as I call them silently because "the outcome is purely decorative", stored in my mind and elsewhere for the days in my future when all the important tasks of my oh so important life have been taken care of and when nothing else matters.
Preposterous, really.
In other words: Don't throw it out just yet.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Lucy, this is not a suggestion but an order:

Do not throw it(or them )out.
Revise your concept of "unfinished".
Consider those beginnings as ends.
Mount and frame this needlepoint fragment and the drawing for it (together or separately). Hang it/them on your wall/walls.

Apply the same radicalised process to any or all of your formerly-known-as-unfinished things.
Re-arrange, re-define, paste them all together into a collage (or something else).
Ceci n'est pas une pipe!
Think of how much fun you could have

the polish chick said...

i'm with natalie!

Catalyst said...

I'm more interested in that aubergine dish which Tom pictured on his blog. Teamwork!

Lucy said...

Well thank you all.

Zhoen - yes, true, but works involving too much fine and peotentially boring labour are perhaps not those I'm best suited to, despite earlier ambitions! I'm surprised at the things I do manage to finish now, though, especially knitting, but they tend to be those I can do while watching lightweight telly or listening to audio books or radio. As I say, I really have more time now. Corners are always unfinished work, of course.

Nimble - nicely put. The mustiest corner however, I've not yet confronted, which is the shelves containing all my old teaching stuff. I do need to address the fact that that part of my life has departed for the foreseeable, which I'm not in fact unhappy about; it would be easier if I could just dump it all, but that would be wasteful, so it needs quite a lot of work sorting and drastically reducing. Mañana.

Robbie - you really didn't need the corrigenda, I was simply enjoying the delightful flight and can't really see where they need to go, but then it did raise my comment tally, I suppose.

Sabine - you too eh? Still, it's good to have such plans, as long as they don't weigh you down. There can also be much relief and satisfaction in just ditching them. But no, I won't throw it out yet.

Natalie - you see, that's where it can be seen that you are an artist and I am not, you could do such things but if I tried, well... But thanks anyway!

PC - well, yes but, see above!

Cat - yes, we try not to do that as a rule, lest we appear smug and uxorious, but it will happen! Tom's not generally a great aubergine fan but was pleased with those. They were pretty yum.