What once was the aim of my everyday life is now, simply, a source of relief. My project was, in fact, my life: to what extent I could live according to my principles while exploring my ideas and abilities?
These days, things that were experiments in teaching and in art, for instance, trying out different sorts of classroom environments to compel students to think independently or figuring out ways to make ‘honest’ site-specific art in the suburbs, feel mission-critical. Just over a month ago, government was an abstract thing in distant places that slowly, subtly, quietly shaped the quality of our lives. Now, the current Administration’s actions jar and disrupt with a speed I cannot process. I mean, my mind takes it all in and makes a shallow logical sense of what’s happening, but my body, I think, is processing it all a lot faster than my mind – and not in a good way; I – like many people, I imagine – haven’t got a real outlet to express feelings and thoughts, go over ideas again and again, or make and execute plans. The online people who’ve been organizing and showing up to protest and put out helpful handbooks and file lawsuits, god love them! But they’re not in my space. And my principles, my ideas, and my abilities have all met with what feels like… a crucible.
The sense of liberty I’d had each year testing what and how I taught is gone; liberty has been replaced with imperative and second-guessing. The sly ways I deployed art in my familiar spaces has morphed into slant and subversion.
And, now, when I notice details of the whimsy that, at the bottom of it all, was the core of what I wanted to do with my life, I think, ‘Oh, wasn’t that sweet…’
I’m stubborn; I’m now interested in coupling the discipline that I sense is immediately necessary with joy. Whimsy… I don’t think is a smart impetus at the moment, but joy! There’s a rigor to joy, no?