No Place As Home
Contact Daniel: noplaceashome at yahoo.co.uk
General Musings (2)
Guide to this site
At home in the world
Not very heroic
Small town West Bengal
An ending approaches
Sights, frights and memories
Everyone's cup of tea
Introduction to Gari
In the hate period
Don't take this too seriously
Making the bag
Things which make me angry
August 28, 2004
Hey everybody, hope things are going well. Chiang Mai is a mystical, creative kind of place, probably why I'm writing quicker than usual at present. Posting up a couple of entries tonight, a piece on the things I like best about Chiang Mai to follow soonish. Plus, I have been adding photos! There are now photos for Some feng shui for my parents, I wish I was a suitcaser, A Malaysian mystery and Things which make me angry. If you are curious, my dad took the photo of me in I wish I was a suitcaser.
"Is your butt your boss"?
My last yoga class was on Saturday.
I felt immense pride at having done the number of lessons I have, and while it has been an amazing experience, I was deeply happy now that it was over. I kept giggling and crying out once I was back in my room and had taken off the sweaty wet baggy trousers for the last time.
I found that I hated the way yoga so utterly drained me - I would tell myself that it's only for a week, that I should just sleep during the day if I needed to; but whenever I followed this advice, it made me deeply unhappy. I am coming to the belief that I am not someone that can sacrifice various aspects of my day in order to do one thing. Marcel's class left me lacking the energy to do the things that I suppose I rely on: writing, reading, exploring, talking with friends.
That said, I can't stress how amazed I have been at the changes in my body. Each class revealed new improvements. Kneeling with my weight on the backs of my feet not longer hurts, which seems an incredible change, I am far more flexible, and I can eat my dinner on a restaurant stool with my back straight and feel comfortable. I told this to Marcel - he replied that everyone who is willing to put in the effort gets these kind of results, and far quicker than they expect.
Trying something new
My self image is that I am an inherently unartistic person. I'm very good with concepts, new ideas, theories; good also with words and arranging arguments. I like to think of myself as generally a creative person - but I feel between creative and artistic are separate things, and the latter I have very little talent at. I can't draw at all, tried to learn various instruments as a child with next to no success, and am generally too slap dash to construct many aesthetically pleasing things. I suspect that I have too little interest in details to be a good artist - I can conceive of how a wall would look good painted red, but lack the drive to actually take care of the whole job. My brother in contrast is an artistic person - you can see this even in the way he dresses, aware of the different aspects of how everything fits together. While, I'm the kind of person that chooses a tshirt because I like the colour or message, then doesn't wash it enough or iron it - thus negating a large part of the point of wearing it.
But, that said, self images aren't always useful, aren't always accurate. Maybe we use them to dull the pain of failure - "Of course I didn't do well at yoga today; I'm inflexible". As an example, I left school with the strong belief that I was inherently bad at mathematics - then, by doing my postgraduate certificate in economics several years later, I was given a chance to reassess that. It turned out, then aged 25, I don't have to be bad at maths. While perhaps Russell Crowe is unlikely to star in the story of my life, I did well enough in the course that I think I have a different self image on that area of my abilities now.
As I arrived in Chiang Mai, I had the urge to do something artistic, to do some exploring of a side of myself that I rarely use. It felt very similar to being hungry for a particular taste, and knowing that some art would satisfy that. I suspect, knowing my travelling has only a few months left, my brain is looking forward to owning things again, living somewhere that's mine; and so is getting interested in all the crafts and artistry and souvenirs around me in Thailand.
In one of the little streets near Chang, I came across a newly opened art studio. They offer short courses for the artistically illiterate, working with a tutor to produce something in different media. My instinct for some artistic endeavour rose up, and it's rarely good to stand in the way of that kind of feeling, so I have steeled myself to the excessive price and booked myself in to two or three days there.
On the subject on artistry and creativity, here are some blogs and websites that inspire me. I came to Danny Gregory's site through the advice of Cayce - it's pretty amazing. Made me look at myself afresh and wonder if I am writing about what is really important to me, and writing about it as well as I could. And am I limiting myself in some way, taking on creative limits that aren't useful?
I've mentioned Real Live Preacher before - as an example of a very impressively written story see: Even the rich woman. And Tony Pierce has this wonderful stylised poetic style - his blog life mixes reality and his imagination into some desert California noir dream. Or at least, I think it's not all true...
I'm also aware that the presentation / technology side of my site is pretty simple. Maybe simple is good; equally, I like looking at sites where the creator clearly has a greater grasp of the web design / artistic layout side of blogging. See Perpetual Karma as an example of this.
As another source of inspiration, my friend Gari now has a website - to promote his first book, Loser's Pontoon. Loser's Pontoon is a very good book, building feeling and pace as the end draws closer and troubles deepen, and the two main characters realize how much they have changed. Gari self published his book, which by all accounts was a hard and fairly expensive process - but I think getting it out into the world has already changed his life. Gari is professionally a manager in a large company in London; he has spoken about how Loser's Pontoon has helped him "reclaim a part of himself" - the writing, creative side. Gari has lots of plans for developing the book, and I think other, longer held plans for how he wants to live his life are coming together (partly) as a result. The tone of his emails have changed a lot since the book came out - I am looking forward to starting travelling with him in India next Saturday.
Posted by Daniel on August 28, 2004 03:28 PM
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