1. How are your (actual) dreams staged? Do you appear in them? In more of
a first-person-y or third-person-y way, or not present at all? And do you
have some kind of typical setting, like a hotel, or garden, or something?
Sadly most of the dreams I remember are of the unpleasant variety. I experience them in the first-person and generally striving against some jeopardy or other. Locations are often domestic - this house springs whole new rooms that I've forgotten to decorate on many occasions. Other people I know appear a lot but often looking very different but I still know who they are. 2. How do you react (internally) to strident atheism? What annoys you or
pleases you about it? Does it help (you/the world)?
Strident atheism pisses me off in the way that any overbearing fundy opinion pisses me off. There seems to be no room for empathy for others in their own spiritual journeys and that's the sort of callousness that enrages me. There's an old saying 'No one was argued into the Kingdom of God'. I'm not certain anyone has been 'argued' out of it either. Dogma of any kind is an anathema to me - even if grounded in logic.
In terms of the logic of atheism, I've been grateful for it when I was losing faith but still scared that I was going to hell... Looking back, anything that has you that screwed up has no value either. 3. Do you have plans to produce more art soon? What mediums are you
interested in? Is it important for you to create? Does it help with
people understanding you?
I did a quick sketch on hols but I'm feeling very barren at the moment. I have plans to return to my art degree in the mid term future actually. I think in terms of painting all the time, every day. I look at the world around me and imagine how I might render it. Today I was thinking about a forest of birch tree trunks and how I might plan to do layers of wash to bring it into being. I've had an ambition to do some sort of pottery words sculpture but never very certain how to go about it. I think I've got a vast untapped seam of ideas and desires and I feel very guilty for not committing to it. I sit around staring into space instead. Terrible vacillation.
Being able to create is a fundamental part of my make-up. I can't not. I think it's what makes us human. I can no more think about not doing it than breathing. Even making that last birthday cake I ended up painting chocolate sparrows.
I don't think it does help with people understanding me - I think it sets me apart. I think I get a lot of envy actually. Which is weird because I believe all people are inherently creative. Look at kids - they all do it from finger paints to mud pies. Somehow we crush it out of most people as they grow up. That's criminal. So the other sense I get a lot is that I'm someone who hasn't 'grown up' and others can be somewhat superior about that. I'm only just learning the confidence to fight back about that one. In short I think it helps me understand other people rather than them understand me. 4. Do you have a strong sense of who you are, beyond your relationships,
or work, or life experiences? Do you think that's a notion which is
possible/meaningful/desirable in a person? What would/might it be?
Wow these are hard questions. Yes I do. But I can't disconnect enough to articulate that particularly meaningfully. The most I can sketch is that I sense my irrepressible spirit that continues to continue. I'm a bit stunned, given my own experiences, how 'counter' them I can be. I don't know where that came from unless it is reactive and just a life lived in rebellion. I get dismayed when I realise how psychodynamic my own hormones can be and usurp or undermine what I believe to be my own will. I don't like boiling myself down to a soup of biochemical reflexes - I know that science is suspecting that free-will is something of an illusion. I know that I'm a creature that turns to the sun like most living things on the planet. When I wrote about wanting to dance through an avenue of trees
I think this was me expressing the purest sense of myself.
"Be who you really are" is a phrase I carry around with me. It's the hardest thing any one can do. 5. If someone you cared for was imprisoned, someone who didn't have a
definite taste in reading, and you could send them only one book, which
you had an hour to buy, and which might be the only thing they'd have to
read for months, what might it be?
Assuming they weren't in for murder my first reaction would be to send them Asta's Book by Barbara Vine
. It's a murder-mystery set in two different time periods, one of which is brought to us via some old diaries. Asta in her diaries, sounds like a worthy person who struggles to bring up her family in England away from her home in Denmark. In the present day, at her funeral, everyone commiserates about what an old bag she was. In between these two opposed view points is what we assume is the truth. It's wonderfully written and a cracking read.
I suppose the reason for choosing it, is that is should be easy enough to find in an hour, that it would kill a few hours for the recipient, it has multiple layers you can get your teeth into, it's entertaining and def worth an almost immediate reread - which must be handy when you are in prison.
Oh and I don't like murder mystery novels. But this book transcends its genre. If I couldn't find it I'd grab The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
instead, with a sense of oh-it'll-do-at-a-pinch.
Anyone else want questions too?