Monday, March 8, 2010

Thinking about thinking

According to Geoff Dyer, DH Lawrence said he preferred painting to writing because it costs the soul far less.

I think of my own writing as filtering what comes into my head and sorting or rearranging the drawers of my mind.

Writing is difficult but it feels intuitive because even when I don't yet know how a piece will take form, I know that the nugget is already within me; I just have to chip away at it.

Painting, on the other hand, is a process of opening myself to new ways of thinking and doing. For eg, an idea may require me to go about making things in ways I am not used to. Another eg is that all my paintings are visual puzzles that I have to solve. In this sense, I find painting to be more demanding than writing sometimes. It forces me to step out of my comfort zone.

I'm not sure whether I agree with DH Lawrence. Writing tends to act as a friend who lets me pour out my troubles, counsels me and makes me feel less useless. Whereas Painting raps my knuckles and tells me to get on with it. This also helps me feel less useless. If I were completely honest, I would say that I like writing more than I do painting, but I most definitely need both.

I wrote a poem about cabbage trees this morning. I was supposed to be painting.

Above image: Cabbage trees in Whakatane, taken in 2008.

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