Day two of the not-quite flu but sufficient to keep me home yesterday and away from the early dip this morning. On the positive side, it's not so disabling as to stop me reading. So I've had an enjoyable time working through some essays by Alfred Brendel, some letters by James Schuyler (in Just the Thing) and a story by Arthur Machen ('The Inmost Light' collected in the new Penguin volume).
For a couple of months I've been exploring a series of Blogs kept by women artists/photographers. They all seem to lead wonderfully aesthetic lives judging by their posts and photos - although quite how they pay the rent remains unclear. I click through pages of exquisite shots of interiors, glossy magazine-quality table settings of food, atmospheric views across mist-shrouded bays. Most seem to live in converted barns or cottages in the middle of nowhere (Sweden/Norway/Denmark in particular) or beautifully spartan apartments in various north European cities.
I don't see much evidence of kids and significant others are absent or implied. There seems to be abundant 'me' time to go flaneuring down town, dropping by secondhand bookshops and cafes before picking up a piece of fabric or objet d'art in the local flea market. And a particular visual trope: lots of photos of shoes.
Also of note are their studios - without exception impeccably arranged so that even the messiness of work in progress is made to seem somehow artful.
Well, to cut a long story short, I made a Herculean effort to clear out a corner of my so-called work space (bugger all going on for a while now) having been embarrassed into it by these creative women. And, yes, I know there are sites that will tell you that sorting out clutter is a great way to clear the mind and get the inspiration going. So down to the basement with an absurd number of cardboard boxes and other salvaged materials I've been hoarding on the basis that one day they'll be pressed into service. If I need them then I know where they are.
Much as it pains me to admit, I do feel 'lightened' in some hard to define way. And, in the process, have rediscovered various bits and pieces I'd forgotten about and that now suggest a way of working. So thanks to all those Stines and Miekes and Marthas out there.
Give it a month and it will be a pig sty again but just for now ... I might even take a picture.