A few days ago I wrote a comment at Clive Hicks-Jenkins' amazing Artlog, asking him a question. He answered it so fully and thoughtfully that it has sent me back in time to my own experiences in the realm of public, in contrast to private creativity.
Why title this rumination Showing Off ? Well, first of all, please forget the accusing, guilt-inducing, mocking connotations of those two words when spoken about or to someone, usually accompanied by an ever so slightly green (with envy) facial expression. Would this blog exist, or yours or yours or yours, or the internet itself and all its social media, if we were not all show-offs of some kind? Some quietly diffident, some so modest as to be nearly invisible, some hesitant, some bold, some brash, some altruistic, some egotistic - whatever the mode, a desire to invite others in, and to be invited, is a powerful stimulus and motivator. Even those who, like myself, feel at home with solitude and consider it an indispensable ingredient to creativity are sometimes propelled into a communal or collaborative endeavor in which we can shine (show off) and find it invigorating, challenging and, on some levels, disturbing.
The following reminiscence really belongs in the autobiography and I'll move it there at some point but anyway.
It was in London, after times I've written about and some times as yet unwritten. I was stuck. Restless. Annoyed with myself. Nothing was very wrong nor very right with my life. One day I was reading the classified personal ads in the London Review of Books, as one does. Now here's a funny thing: I cannot remember whether an ad caught my eye and I answered it, or whether it was I who inserted a Would-Like-To-Meet ad which was answered. Either way, it was via the LRB personal ads that I met B, who was not the message but the messenger. Chemistry, no, but we liked each other and he asked if I wanted to go with him to a group therapy weekend, led by a highly regarded psychologist whose regression (to childhood) groups were said to be extraordinary. I was intrigued and said yes. It was the 21st of September, in the evening.
It's now 1:35 am and I want to sleep so I'll continue later today but will post this snippet now.