Tucked away in the heart of London's graffitied East End, there is a little rehearsal studio, with white-washed walls and a glass ceiling.
I tip-toed in, holding a coffee in one hand and a portfolio case of sketchbooks in the other.
Fascinated, I was drawn to the window to gaze out at the scene of beautiful, unreal reality.
Just earlier in the day, I’d had an interesting conversation about the nature of what we perceive to be reality.
About how our senses can purportedly detect only a tiny chink within the spectrum of everything that may be ‘out there’.
And so, I wonder, perhaps the purpose of art is not so much about offering escapism, but about pulling back those veils of 'reality' and giving us a little glimpse into what could be lying beyond the concrete, material world around us.
The ‘real’ reality!
Dare to dream a little, and discover what’s really there.
The force that they call…. Procrastination.
I have watched myself with almost appalled admiration as I busted through all sorts of chores and tasks that needed doing – except for the one thing that I wanted to get sorted, which was to work through some plot problems on a story I am writing.
I even went so far as to go into town and buy a handheld vacuum cleaner for my drawing rubbings. (The ultimate extravagance – but also – TOTALLY AMAZING.)
My current favourite guru, Benjamin Hardy, says the skill of being able to focus on deep work, without distraction, is becoming increasingly rare. It’s been a revelation to notice how hyperactive my monkey mind really is.
So last night I sat myself down at my desk, with the intention of not getting up again until my task was done.
For fully three hours I scrambled for other stuff to keep busy with, until I realised that I was afraid I would not be able to solve my plot problems. So it wasn’t laziness – it was something else.
I then had the brainwave of drawing out the issues on a big piece of paper and working everything out visually, which is how I got myself to remember things for exams as a student.
And, after a few more hours, I found some answers. And it wasn’t painful at all.
I shall try to keep this in (my monkey) mind.
The moon was not quite full, yet it shone with a bright, silvery brilliance that lit up the whole sky.
Gnarly, bare, wintry black branches were etched out against scudding white clouds and twinkling stars, while fireworks fizzed and popped in the distance.
The surrounding fields and hedgerows, drenched in the moonlight and buffeted in the lively wind, seemed to hum with some kind of intelligent, spirit presence.
And your presence has been so much appreciated during the year just gone, as I have typed out my little notes to you!
It’s been a gift – a project of personal development and exploration to share my trail of thoughts and observations with you, and to have received such lovely responses and feedback in return.
I will admit there were times when I was nervous to hit the send button, but after a while, I had the sense I that was writing to a friend – someone who would understand what I was getting at.
I’ve spent the past week or so doing nothing much productive at all, and I can feel the benefit. When you work for yourself, it’s easy to keep tinkering on with things seven days a week. But, however rewarding that work may be, I think it’s important to take time out to sharpen the axe.
And now I’m feeling ready to ‘crack on’, as one of my favourite art teachers used to say.
I’ve taken an appraisal of my working practice, my projects in hand, and I have set goals for the New Year. And with this in mind, I plan to change the way I maintain the Hunting Magic blog. I’m going to switch to a weekly update, and I’m thinking Thursdays will be the day. But let me know if you’d prefer Sundays – I couldn’t decide!
This will give me more time to focus on pushing forward with my art and writing projects. And for the blog, I’d like to experiment a little more with video and maybe also start doing some interviews. We’ll see how it goes.
But I’d love it if you chose to stick with me and meanwhile, I’m wishing you a 2018 that’s full of wonder, miracles and, of course, magic.
But nevertheless, I am still sending you all my best wishes for a beautiful mid-winter break. I hope your home and heart will be filled with love.
I'll see you on the other side!