This week’s life drawing class was harder for me than the last one… I wasn’t feeling zen enough – and so it was a bit of a struggle. But wherein lies the struggle? Mainly, I feel, it is in my desire for excellence… Of course, underlying this is a fear of failure… so that with each stroke, and at every stage of the drawing, I am fighting the anxiety that this is not good enough.
Why am I bothering you with this…? well, it is because this has a direct bearing on my writing. It seems to me that writing (and all creative endeavour) is a balance between ‘spontaneity’ and ‘control’… In me, the former has been very much under the shadow of the latter. (This is symbolized in the Stone Dance by a Sapient with his hands coiled around the throat of his homunculus… an image that has even deeper resonances for me than the one I’m pointing out here.) I fear free spontaneity – fear that what I am trying to do will slip through my fingers and disappear into the sand. So I hold tight to it. This explains much of the tortured cradle that I felt necessary to construct to support the building of the Stone Dance… the spirit of which has only recently sailed free… That cradle was of stones, as heavily build as a pyramid – and one of the main reasons it took me so long to write the trilogy. Now, however, I wish to find liberation from such labours… Thus, partially, the life drawing, where I am forced to confront my anxiety that what I build should at all times be visibly solid… Instead, what I am doing now is trying to learn to work with a scaffolding of delicately tensioned silk.