Along a road that ran from many paths he stood. Then bent down and drew a line. A mark was made.
As with all marks it held within its stroke the entire history of its maker, the experience and story of his life and the generations of life that preceded him. That single mark – expression; a definition, an attempt to clarify, consolidate, all that went on before, all that goes on presently, from which all was to go forth. And from that moment, that beginning, that fragile second of public birth the maker was laid bare, for all to see, examine, prod, criticise, ridicule and reject.
To make a public mark, to define a line, to create a new space for thinking, imagining, making and dissenting requires a leap of faith, a flight of imagination that only has instinct and self – belief to sustain itself – to breathe, to live beyond the barriers of conventional society. It is along this road – littered with failure, rejection and penury – that we all have the opportunity, possibility and potential to realise our own truth.
The maker felt cold; petrified, nervous, anxious. The journey was difficult and doubt often clouded his horizon. He looked back at what he had done, the mark on the road, an action that left part of him there forever, never to touch again. Doubts nagged at him like an itch he couldn’t scratch. He had to go on. He must. There was no other choice. He began walking. Soon the mark that bore silent witness to his expression disappeared and he was left seeking more. Thinking, wondering, looking, searching for that next moment.
To be a maker of marks is not a choice one makes. It just is. Perhaps it is an innate contrariness to the world around you. A questioning of all that is. Just so. There is no plan, no map. There are only those that went before you. And from them there is only guidance, if you can call it that, as it is often hidden in abstraction, riddles, puzzles and questions. Nobody has the answer. There is none. For some this is an unfolding nightmare for others an exciting vista that gradually opens up into dreams of possibility
The maker never had misgivings. Not once. He never looked back with regret. He only revisited the past so that he could watch its many episodes through half forgotten eyes as if channel surfing, everything all at once a flashing moment of colour; farcical, comical, stupid, tragic, wonderful, beautiful, ugly, terrifying, pointless. He had fallen, scraped and crawled along his road and had made many marks along the way. He had been ridiculed and criticised, put down and written off. He had broken his back to create new spaces to reflect, to think, to dissent and knew it was an endless battle that could not be won
There were many times when the maker lost all hope, the energy draining out of him knowing he was never going to get there, to the end. Failure was integral to his existence, his life but he knew he was walking on a road made on his terms, in his own way.
And that is the difference. For a maker; the exercise, process, attempt, the lunge for that truth, the burst that creates that one mark, moment, sweep, stroke that holds everything in its terrible beauty is enough. That alone gives him the strength to carry on, to keep on developing, creating and building, to find new ways of mark making, expressing and telling stories. For it’s all about telling stories in the end
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