hiding

We came across this lovely shed while garden visiting in Cheshire the other weekend. It seems an appropriate image for today's post, as recently I have been doing nothing more taxing than pottering around, tending to domestic duties and keeping a very low profile. The sort of thing men are supposed to need a shed for, but I can do it perfectly well by mooching around, drinking tea in the garden and hiding underneath a pile of crochet.

There is no doubt that a certain sort of mildly creative activity is useful during these times, a bit like the basket-woven tray edging they used to make in the old people's home I once helped in. A little gentle occupation is wonderful for freeing the mind and processing thoughts, and sometimes it's just what's needed. Crochet definitely works for me, and I have also been getting a lot of pleasure from experimenting with things to make for craft fairs this autumn/winter.

One of the things I've been thinking about is how difficult it seems to be these days to concentrate on what I call worthwhile things. By this I mean: drawing, that is, proper observational drawing... reading a book all the way through rather than just snippets from a magazine or the internet... critical, intellectual thinking that really examines and challenges... planning and executing outings and visits that will stimulate and energise me. All these things used to be part of my daily life. All of them have faded and fizzled out to a point where I look in horror at myself and wonder what on earth has happened...

Does this happen to you? What do you do about it? Do you think that the internet has shrunk our ability to concentrate for long periods? Can you mentally escape the dreariness that domestic chores can bring? I sense that some kind of discipline is needed, but I'm not sure how.

14 comments:

LissyLou said...

lovely little shed...i love blue fences/sheds.

Jane said...

I know what you mean Sue, I find it very difficult to tune out everything else and concentrate on drawing or reading (except really light things). I think it's partly because I know There's never time to get a good run at anything - I'm constantly clock watching, and because someone is always wanting to know what I'm doing. I wish I could rediscover the time when I could spend all day just drawing or sewing without great purpose but more in the nature of experiment and no-one would want to see or question (even if in a kindly way) what I'd been doing and why.

marigold jam said...

I had only yesterday wondered where you were as I hadn't seen a post from you lately.

I too love the shed. I also know what you mean about the way life seems to be made up of snippets of this and that and like you I wonder whether we are losing the ability to concentrate properly on anything. Maybe the internet has something to do with it but I suspect it is self-discipline we need here! I don't have any answers as I am still trying to sort out my life to enable me to have the time to concentrate on the creative side of things more but without success and this I am sure is down to lack of motivation on my part. I think you will find you have touched a nerve here and that many other bloggers will be with you on this and hoping to find some answers amongst the comments!!

Meanwhile a little pottering is good for the soul so keep up the crochet!!

Jane

Gina said...

I've found that studying for my degree has forced me to focus on these sort of activities... but on the other hand a bit of pottering is certainly good for the soul!

Lyn said...

I agree, on one hand the internet is a wonderful resource but it can eat away at your time. I too want to do some worth while pursuits but find time against me! I am afraid do not know the answer!
love
Lyn
xxx

Frances said...

Sue, let me also tell you that I completely recognize what you expressed about concentration. Nowadays, I seem to have developed a habit of setting up priorities, and making lists of "duties" and find that I need to add another area to those lists ... the area that says leave time to think!

I recently had three days in a row off from work and actually did sit down to do some "observational drawing." I truly enjoyed that time so much, that I immediately requested some more individual days off, these will be errand-free days, days to explore whatever my old mind might find interesting.

Best wishes. xo

alice c said...

I find that there are times when it feels as though there are a couple of elephants (family commitments, specific worries etc) asleep in my brain. Their intrusive presence prevents all sorts of things including planning, reading and creative work. It is only when they get up and lumber off that I can discover the mental headspace for all those extra but non-essential things. Sometimes I just learn to live with the elephants and create a little space that way.

You mustn't assume that it is your fault due to lack of concentration or some terrible character flaw - it is simply that the careful balance of your life has been disturbed and you are taking time to find a new combination to make you happy.

Chrissie said...

Sue perhaps the definition of 'Worthwhile Things' could be expanded to include the activities which don't require much concentration, so that there isn't such a great divide. Maybe then slowly the activities you value more will recover their priority in the grand scheme. (I think I know what I mean!)

Gilly said...

I think your life might be "snippety" at the moment - at least you can retire into something soothing, like crochet - and make something exquisitely beautiful at the same time.

And yes, I think the Internet is partly to blame! After all, I'm sitting here blogging when I could be doing something really useful and concentrated!!

kate fern said...

The trouble with looking at other people's lovely art and craft on the net is it's so instant! I constantly have to remind myself that lots of time and effort went into each image (that I just gobble up and onto the next thing), and that I need to put that time and effort in if I want to make anything worthwhile.

Pottering is essential, kind of composting before the next lot of work can bloom! I'm looking forward to a bit of pottering over the next month!
Best wishes
x

Maggie said...

Well I have overcome the dreariness of the everyday chores by telling myself it's my exercise routine. Plus, I find that the older I get the less important it is that the house is always sparkly clean and dust free. Having discovered that living in a house almost a hundred years old seems to equate with living in a dustbowl, or so it seems, at times, I accepted I could never have a dust free environment.
I have all day to myself to mooch, to crochet, to read and so to be honest never feel as if I am chasing my tail, I am answerable to nobody, though of course spew forth the details of my quiet day to my husband when he comes home from a job he doesn't particularly like and which he could lose next month due to large scale redundancy. This is all part of my plan to get him to retire early, forget worrying about financial constraints and just LIVE, to see how leisurely and Pleasant is my life at home, and please come and share it with me?

Isabelle said...

Well, if you find out, do let me know.

A Time to Dance said...

I know exactly what you mean...I am reading a wonderful book about changing mind patterns and I am determined to go into battle with mine starting tomorrow...the first day of my holidays...we could meet at salts there is a wonderful coffee shop where we could have lunch and crochet perhaps and catch up, after exploring the mill and wonderful shops...when are you free?

mrtaurus said...

You've just taken a weight off my shoulders. Literaly panicing as i'm moving to London soon and really want a creative space. I have a vision that I will find a cheap abandoned room somewhere high up so I can do my writing.