Not that I've been completely nonfunctional. It's been a mild depression, brought on by shortening days, a mild health-related problem, and, perhaps most importantly, the seeming near-total suspension of my creative faculties in 2007. Crappy year.
At the end of this year someone, I think it was Jaime, told me that if you don't feed the beast it starts to feed on you, and it seems to be true. But there was also, with regard to my performance on this blog, some discomfort from a few of the Galleon Traders in response to my post about how the Galleon Trade Manila events were less about the artwork than about the artists themselves.
I see how this post could easily be read as being dismissive of the artists' work, although that was not my intention. Still less was it my intention to cause distress to the artists. Although it's always been clear to me in the abstract why "embedded reportage" leads to ethically compromising conflicts of interest, this is my first visceral experience with it. I'm simultaneously writing critically about artwork, and turning my critical eye on my friends. When the beast is busy eating your heart out, this kind of internal conflict can freeze you. And it did.
A few things have contributed to my release from freeze in the past week or so. The first was the turn of the year, which is powerfully symbolic, symbolically operative, and coincidentally happens a week or so after the winter solstice so that the symbolism and seasonal rhythm can work together to give you a full-on catharsis.The second was my doctor figuring out my mild health-related problem, but the less said about that the less boring.
The third was, strangely enough, that the Irish film Once got to the top of my netflix queue. No others of my friends felt the same way about this flick that I did, but when you're coming out of a depression and creative freeze, a movie about an artist who has come to the end of a long stretch of dark-night-of-the-souling and is jumped into the next level through the friendship of a fellow artist is just exactly what you need to see. The scenes where the two musicians play and sing together were ecstatically blissful for me, because their release felt like my release.
That's enough, clearly. But then the year turns and everyone gets energized in January again and Things Start Happening. In the past week I've stood before, and in one case, within, the artwork of distant geniuses, community sprites, and friends (sometimes all three at once), and it has been electrifying.
Last weekend the National Book Critics Circle was in San Francisco to acknowledge the existence of the provinces and announce the fina-list for their award. Thursday and Friday I went to three literary panels therefore. I might post about these over on my personal blog, but I won't here.
That same night (Friday) I went to Trader Woff's opening at Southern Exposure Gallery, a show I helped install, along with a number of other friends (in fact, helping get that show up was part of its process, and mine here).
Saturday I took one of my last chances to see Mike Arcega's installation at the De Young Museum, and also took in the Louise Nevelson show while I was there. Other De Younginess ensued.
Later that night I saw There Will Be Blood with Jaime, and trust me, there will be blog on how bad that flick was.
Yes, each of those is a future post, to which I will link here when they are complete. I called this post something about "artistic processes" because my blogging--my record-keeping of and spur to my critical practice--is string and parcel with my creative writing. My practice is integrated and revving up my critical function is the first step towards outright making shit up again. And vice very much versa, of course. So this is my declaration: as of January 15, 2008, Clairica is open for business.