I have been thinking a lot about filters in this past week. Sensory filters. They form a mesh around me. A silken cloak lying softly on my skin. These filters are porous. They also absorb. I feel I hear, smell, taste, touch, see the world in such intensity and colour. I remember playing alone in our large wild garden as a very young child and discovering I was experiencing the world in this heightened, sensual way. I have always respected this discovery, and I have let it guide me as an adult, even if at times it can be very painful: deafening, sharp, sour, abrasive, blinding.
As I lie quietly in my room, and think, and listen to the sounds of birds and people outside, I let thoughts and feelings wash through me, like tides. I feel the weight, wisdom, words of my hundreds of books which surround me, feeling their presence as comfort; as silent, complicit companions whom I know will always listen, so many of whom I have carried with me for so many years. I have so often used words, and music, to attempt to express the depth of field that these filters allow me: I am soulfully grateful for this outlet, because at times it can feel overwhelming.
I am struck by a passage in Anne Truitt’s Daybook where she describes her feelings on finishing a sculpture as being akin to having already met the work, like meeting her children for the first time- ‘the feeling of ‘oh, it was you,’’. A recognition. I have a similar feeling when I compose. I feel my compositions already exist before I create them, I just need to open up my heart and my ear in order for them to become alive. When they begin to breathe, I feel I already know them. This is the reverse process of filtering; my filters are porous in both directions. I absorb the world in, process as best I can, and then express in the most creative way I can. It is not always easy; it is not always successful. But I realise it is a constant in my life. I feel very lucky to be able to have the time to explore this, to allow it, to nurture it.
I have also been thinking a lot about the transition from private/internal to public/external, in relation to these filters. I feel there are so many different scales for this, so many different arenas to express this transition: I think we can feel bombarded, overcrowded, then ultimately discarded by these arenas. I feel I need to nestle back into myself again, rediscover my private/peaceful side again, away from all the metaphorical shouting. Shhh/Peaceful: In a Silent Way. We all create our own self-censoring systems; they have a myriad of shades.
‘Artists necessarily beckon the vulture.’ Anne Truitt, Daybook