Sunday, March 11, 2007

Concussion and art

For the past fortnight (just over) I have been recovering from concussion.
It's been a challenging experience for someone like me who doesn't like to slow up much, and for whom 'pacing' is a hard-learned concept.
I hit my head in a seemingly trivial accident when I tried to leap with much gusto into the 4WD. All very well except I didn't duck my head, and hit it with a thud on the doorframe. At the time I saw quite a few stars, had to sit still for a while until the shock wore off, and gingerly drove home. Laughed about it, had a headache and didn't really think much more of it. The next day I could hardly stay awake! And I thought I'd take it easy for a day or two, and then all would be well.

Well, I had one whole week off work, having wee nana naps twice a day - and sometimes sleeping fine at night, sometimes not sleeping well at all, thumping headache, yawning, irritable and couldn't concentrate on reading or doing anything much.
Then I started back to work the next week, made it for two hours - then just HAD to stop. Couldn't concentrate, needed SLEEP... Carried on like this for another week...
Had a lovely relaxing weekend away from it all, returned to work today - lasted just on three hours, and had to go home to SLEEP!


So, what has this to do with art?

Well, I write many reports each week, talk with people, analyse quite complex problems - and I am struggling with each one. I lose words, can't remember details, have trouble stringing sentences together (yes, even these...takes a long, long time to write what normally is a quick 5 minute ditty) - BUT - I can spend an hour touching up a photograph! I can spend an hour taking photographs! I can spend ages looking at photographs!


Well, my take on it is that there are different parts of my brain being active when I use the visual processing parts of my brain - and probably even more importantly, I am relaxed, there is no 'end' result, the process is more important than the outcome (although I like to have a nice outcome!)...

So despite the contradiction, I can spend ages concentrating on artistic things, when writing, talking and planning - even shopping at the supermarket - just defeat me.

I just can't do the arty things with music on...

And what else does this have to do with art?
Well, something about being lost in the moment is, to me anyway, one of the most replenishing things about creating something artistic. As if this may well be something missing from everyday life too - perhaps a concussion is one way of reinforcing to me the necessity of taking time out from 'thinking' on a regular basis, so as to just 'be' immersed in the moment of colour, shape, texture, mass - rather than words?

So, I'll be taking home this message - time out to just 'be' replenishes more than depletes, and may be helpful for me when I'm well as well as when I'm not.

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