Old Glory: Uncharted Waters (Journey 2)

I am making a journey down a river I have never seen in real life before although I have read about it and imagined it.

Each piece of work is a new stretch of the river and I must prepare myself accordingly much as a sailor does. I need:

  • Charts (preliminary work)
  • Radio to ask for advice or call for help (other artists or supportive people, on-line groups etc.)
  • Ship’s log (my own journal where I communicate with myself about my progress)
  • Supplies (staples to work with but also little treats to cheer up my crew-of-one after the difficults bits)

I must make frequent stops to rest and eat along the way, to talk to people about the journey and to simply get the ‘river’ in perspective. However, once I am ‘on board’, all I can do is navigate the best way I know how, take it slowly, look out for sudden changes in the weather (my own moods) as well as changes in the currents (how the work progresses…what it throws up: buried sandbars, swooping birds, floating corpses, submerged tree-trunks). Just as I am lulled into complacency in an easy bit, I will suddenly be thrown into a whirlpool…I must not allow myself to be sucked under.

When I complete the stretch of the river I am currently on I will have learned to be a bit better sailor but there will always be more to learn. I am moving forward and what I have passed along the way will disappear into yesterday.

Old Glory is a reference to the compelling book by Jonathan Raban about putting into practice his boyhood dream of sailing down the Mississippi in a small craft. (Whoever’s got my copy, please return it!)

1 Comment »

  1. Robyn said

    I love this post. Its exactly how I feel. Sailing unchartered territory half the time, enjoying the flow most of the time and learning how to ford the shallow rocky bits.

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