I don’t know about you but this autumn term is a crazy one for me. I’ve had nativities to attend, family to cater for, noses to wipe, presents to locate, parties to host, crafts to condone and worst of all NO NURSERY RUNS. In the rush of all this there seems to be very little time for the things I want to do, like creating and being inspired, to mention only a couple. My friend used a little phrase the other day that stayed with me – she said she was leaving space in the margins because it’s in the margins that interesting things tend to happen. I remember thinking “I need some more margins in my life”.
Of course we need to attend to the things that need to be done because there is a reason for them too. Loose ends need to be tied up before the break etc. but often what presents itself as urgent is not really all that important in the grand scheme of things.
In The Artist’s Way Julia Margaret Cameron (no, not that one) talks about the benefit for artists in taking themselves on what she calls artist dates. I remembered this when I was thinking about margins and thought those artist dates could be a good way of creating some space in my diary / mind. It might involve going to a gallery with my notebook and my daughters colouring pencils, or going to a market with some pocket money to buy… a prop maybe… or a costume piece that sparked a photograph, finding a new place for a walk (see above picture) and seeing what unravels.
Giving ourself space to think and follow unstructured threads of creativity is an exciting place to be. One of my favourite images of mine was sparked by seeing an old suit hanging on a second hand rail outside a shop. I suddenly put all the ideas I’d been loosely thinking about together by witnessing this one scene.
Maybe your ‘date’ will spark an assignment and maybe it won’t but you might free up some creative space in your mind that would otherwise be stifled in the chaos. And you might just enjoy yourself.
What things are you neglecting that could revive some life into you this Christmas?
How might you leave some room in the margins?