Friday, May 16, 2008


does everything take much longer than it used to?

Or is it just that I don't recall how long everything actually took in the vague time-scale implied by "used to"? Or am I really losing brain cells in the so-called normal process of ageing? Pah, my brain cells, the last time I counted, are all there. Like my shoes. I occasionally get rid of the ones that are of no use to me anymore but I suppose it's possible that I accidentally threw out some that still had a purpose.

How do I know that I can still fire on all cylinders? Because if you ask me to do something specific - say, to find the cheapest overland way to get to, um, Glockamorra, and all the people there named Joe or Josephine who will put you up and cook a fabulous breakfast - I'll be on the task instantly and you'll get an answer within 24 hours. Or, if you ask me to find the meaning of life it might take me a few days to check the experts' answers and then to get through on the hot line to the Divine Tee-Shirted One but, for sure, I'll get the job done pretty sharpish. (Don't ask me, okay? I'm really busy trying to catch up with other things).

Obviously my statement: everything takes longer than it used to is inaccurate. What takes me longer (than I want it to take) are the tasks that I set myself. They take a long time because I make huge demands on myself and then get frightened that I can't meet them as well and as fast as I think I should and so I delay and delay and delay completion because to complete means to expose....blah blah blah and ho ho hum. Same old same old boring perfectionist syndrome......gahhhhh! That's it. Enough. I'm throwing out the perfectionist cells in my brain. I will train myself to do something badly and fast every day. Yes! Bad and fast, way to go.

Above is a fast but not too bad face I did in a trial version of Corel Painter (they let you try it free for 90 days). I should have chapter 21 of the autobio ready in a couple more days. Maybe.

Changing the subject, I must mention Cynthia Korzekwa's wonderful book art for housewives (arte per massaie) which she sent me, swapped for my The Joy of Letting Women Down. I've long been a fan of her blog and we had planned to meet during my recent stay in Rome but my time was too short so we only spoke on the phone. Cynthia's been living in Italy for the past twenty years but is from Texas. The book (in Italian, with English translation at the end) consists of her bold, bright, funny and beautifully designed illustrations with quirky captions such as: "she sewed herself", "she collected rain for her friends" along with light-hearted instructions for how to rescue all sorts of usually discarded household items and turn them into attractive, fun and useful artefacts. You can order the book from her and you don't have to be a housewife or househusband to enjoy using it. In her words:

Bricolage is a creative response to changing conditions which recycles elements to adapt
to their new circumstances.
Thus bricolage is, in some ways, a form of evolution. It assembles and constructs that
which is needed from that which is available.


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