The word to ponder for the week from Hone Life is Comfort.
What makes me comfortable? Surprisingly, what has persisted in my ponderings is a paradox. It seems that what makes me most comfortable is being uncomfortable. Does this make me a masochist? No, not really, because it’s about the place in which I most like to be.
It’s my studio and writing room. Without wishing to sound melodramatic, it’s the place in which I wrestle with my creativity, where I am at the edge of my known world, pushing my boundaries out into new domain. It’s a bit like being on the edge of a cliff, knowing that the only way forward is to step off into the air. You’ve got some gear with you but you don’t know if it’s the right gear. Is it even the right bit of cliff? At any rate, I’m risking death. Other artists have expressed the phenomenon in different ways:
“To see far is one thing, going there is another.”
“I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it’s what Yeats called the fascination with what’s difficult. I’m only trying to do what I can’t do.” (Lucian Freud)
“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.” (Michelangelo)
My present studio is my smallest ever and yet my most favourite. It’s a little attic. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s my favourite, because the attic as a symbol stands for the mind and the spirit, and much more – realms in which I am most comfortable. Here are some possible interpretations of attics which turn up in dreams:
“The attic is often a place of exploration …” and “… “… in some dreams … where we meet those things we would rather not see or remember.” (Tony Crisp)
” … an attic … represents hidden memories or repressed thoughts … symbolizes your mind, spirituality, and your connection to the Higher Self.” (Dream Moods)
“The attic is located in the top of the house, much like our brains are located in the tops of our bodies. We keep items in storage in the attic–sometimes the articles stored there are items we hang on to but no longer need, and sometimes the articles are lost treasures.” (BellaOnline)
Outside of dreams, Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space: “… takes us on a journey, from cellar to attic, to show how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our thoughts, memories, and dreams.” (John R Stilgoe). There’s a section where Bachelard refers to novelist Henri Bosco’s ‘L’Antiquaire‘ in which there is a house which Bachelard describes as having “… cosmic roots …”. The house has a tower and I believe an attic is also a tower and can share its symbolical meanings. Both have windows which can be said to be eyes. Are towers, attics, always watchtowers?
“This house … as a stone plant growing out of the rock up to the blue sky of a tower. … At first we are in the labyrinth of corridors carved in the rock. … we come upon a body of murky water. … beyond the underground water,” … “A very narrow, steep stairway, which spiraled as it went higher, … carved in the rock. … emerges into a tower.” “… the ideal tower that haunts all dreamers of old houses. … “perfectly round, …” … “brief light” from “a narrow window.” … a vaulted ceiling,” … ” … a great principle of the dream of intimacy. No one will be surprised to learn that the tower room is the abode of a gentle young girl … The round, vaulted room stands high and alone, keeping watch over the past in the same way that it dominates space. On this young girl’s missal, handed down from her distant ancestress, may be read the following motto: The flower is always in the almond.”
To see a cluttered attic in your dream, “… is a sign to organize your mind and thoughts.” (Dream Moods). I’ve been decluttering recently and reorganising my little attic studio – making it a more tranquil and harmonious place in which to be uncomfortable! After all, if I have to die in this place every day, I want to do it in comfort!