Tuesday, February 18, 2020


I'm being harassed by my right hip which is now the wrong hip as far as I'm concerned. Not quite disabled but am getting on a waiting list for the hip-replacement op. Hard to be thrilled at the prospect of having an erzatz ball & socket joint inserted where my home-grown, long-standing mechanism has inexcusably decided to misbehave. Confidently declaring "I am an arttist and don't have time for this shit" doesn't seem to work.

So I'm going to post some retro self-promotion to prove to myself and anybody else who happens to pass by that I am indeed a lifelong artist-person with a lot of serious artstuff behind me and if my bodymindspirit as well as Whoever Is In Charge of it are willing, there's going to be a lot more artstuff from me still to come.

By the way, if any of you passing by over here can read Dutch please let me know. I'd like help to translate a couple of reviews that were in Dutch press at the time of this exhibition.


Roderick Robinson said...

"the basic processes for achieving self-knowledge". I didn't know they were in the plural. For me - insofar as I've achieved it - detachment is the key. The ability to look at oneself with the same objectivity as one looks at the raw material gathered together for whatever artistic endeavour one has in mind: a painting, a novel, the performance of a song generally considered a masterpiece. I fear that is an ugly sentence but you get my drift.

Much of the time such objectivity is, if one is lucky, unconscious. A crisis may develop when the sense of detachment is lost. I started a novel in 2015 and it languished at about 33,000 words - for weeks, then months, then years. One obvious conclusion was that it was duff; a possibility, but I was even less sure about the idea behind the novel. Can an idea be duff? All I could be sure of was the reluctance I felt towards the incomplete MS. Was I suffering from "writer's block", a concept I've always jeered at in the past since with novelists it tends to lead to a navel-contemplating work of supreme inanition about a writer suffering from writer's block.

About ten days ago I was suddenly seized by a new enthusiasm for the novel. As if I'd stepped from the dark. Lo, I was up to 46,000 words. Time to look at what I've written, not forgetting myself, with a cold eye - detachedly, in fact. To consider whether the exhilaration I feel is a chimera. For the moment I don't have the guts. In fact I should be writing the novel now. But Jan van der Wateren's much truncated quote caught my eye. Must hurry away; I trust you'll understand why.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Yes,I get it, absolutely.

Entre nous (and I mean that) the truncated quote comes from a long introduction to the exhibition which was generously and painstakingly written but which,unfortunately, I could not edit (as I desperately wanted to do) as it was loaded with psychotherapy-stype jargon. The writer, however, was a wonderful person and supporter of my work so I had to swallow my critical objections and simply be grateful.

Bonne chance with your reborn novel project.