Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What Feels Real To Me

Why does the experience of my physical body moving through the landscape inspire me to create? Where does this need, this craving to roam through fields and across the cliff tops come from?

As a young child I was lucky enough to have lived in the countryside. I was able to roam and explore to my hearts content. I loved to read and my favorite book was Alice in Wonderland. And this is who I imagined I was, I was an Alice exploring a reality that became 'curiouser and curiouser'!

Our memories are selective and what few I have are mostly of the time I used to spend outdoors. A young child's imagination is unrestrained and colourful and it was in this reality of fantasy, along with the space and solitude of the landscape where I spent many hours. I could be anything I wanted to be, a lost princess in search of her castle, a witch collecting special ingredients for her potions or Robinson Crusoe building a camp on his island.
Being in the landscape helped me establish and reinforce these places of fantasy, they became more than just images in my mind, they became a tactile reality which added to the depth of my envisioned worlds, making them more real and closer to being possible.

As I roamed through the physical landscape and the created landscape in my mind in unison, my body too became part of the story. I wasn't just seeing these places in my mind, I was actually feeling their physicality. There was that excitement of anticipated adventure and the unknown challenges ahead. The mixture of thrill and fear of having to climb tall rocks, descend slippery banks and cross deep, freezing cold rivers. There was the pain of contact with brambles and stinging nettles, scratched legs and arms, the realisation and panic of being too far up a tree and not being able to get down. And always in the background the sounds, smells and textures of the landscape and the natural movement of my body through it and with it. As children playing we do not think about how wet and muddy we may be or what time it is. And nor should we. I had the freedom to just feel and be what I wanted to feel and be, so I did. This place gave me the space to be as creative as I wanted to be.

So as an adult now in search of that place where creativity comes from, as I dig deeper, I find myself rediscovering that child that loved to be moving in and being part of the land outdoors and that loved the peace, solitude and freedom it offered. I still roam and explore. In search of that adventure, in search of those connections that inspire creativity, seeking realities that are far more real and close to the heart of who I am and what feels real to me.  

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