I am confused by time. The year has barely begun and yet it’s October; so much has happened and now it’s nearly over. I know it’s so classic but it’s true! I feel this very deeply yet ultimately my life has slowed right down. So, the concept of time is something I’ll never fully understand but here is what I know about time right now.
As a visual artist I am very used to taking things in, taking note of every bit of beauty in nature and my surrounding landscapes. I am used to being mindful as I paint or play music but right now there definitely seems to be a heightened sensitivity to these things more than ever. The wild flowers have been so vivid, the birds have been lively, the bees are very present, the sea more calming and the hills more over powering – nothing that wasn’t ever the case before.
I realise that my life was ridiculously fast paced and busy before this year and that wasn’t a good thing! How did I fit all those things in; the gigs, the rehearsals, the recording, the travelling, the painting, the writing, the admin, the switching of brain power between all of those things, and still have time to sleep or have a social life!? As with many artists we manage those things to survive, to earn a living and we run ourselves from a fuel tank of love and passion for what we do. Thankfully no matter what waves of emotion we have all had to endure during this time, that passion is still there somewhere!
I often complained that I never had enough time to paint and compose new music and in theory now I have all the time in the world – sadly it doesn’t seem to work like that. All the hidden administrative/management aspects to being self-employed are still happening behind the scenes. We’ve all had to adapt to an online existence which has included learning new recording or camera skills for video content, upgrading website and social media content and generally adapting to earning a living without live gigs. I am quite familiar with being adaptable and I really enjoy learning how to do new things so maybe this has just been the time to do that. I had been planning to start a Patreon page for months (www.patreon.com/mairearadgreen) and to upgrade my website to be able to sell my artwork (www.mairearadgreen.co.uk). It was great to also focus on the design for my recent limited edition 12” vinyl singles release, ‘Hearth’ and let’s not forget that I achieved a life-long dream to have a vegetable patch! Lockdown was the time for all those things and I’m very grateful that my work has been very well supported online.
I am very used to working from home, being self-motivated, working hard and achieving many things to be proud of. I must say though it becomes a different mentality when the future is so uncertain. What is it I’m working towards and why am I working this hard and for what? If I don’t get a job done today there’s no harm in doing it the next day or the day after or the day after that. As my own boss, I’ve given myself the sack on a few occasions recently as I’ve just not hit my own targets!
Timing is everything and you can stretch creativity to fit any time schedule. As much as I like this more relaxed/less pressured approach I would go as far to say I actually liked having deadlines and I thrived on them. Perhaps this is the time to say my new self-imposed deadlines are to release a solo pipe album and my 2nd tune book. (I’ve said it publicly now!) Let me know if you’ve any ideas for more collaborations/projects that would suit to keep me out of trouble!?
As much as I do have many underlying anxieties about the future of my job and of the arts generally, the arts have always been a way to cheer people up in times that are difficult. I really miss playing music with people and performance is a huge part of my identity. I certainly do not take it for granted having my health and living in Ullapool with a garden, amazing people around, a great community and the incredible surrounding landscapes. The things that make me very happy and are still manageable, spending time with friends and family, walking, swimming, yoga, paddle boarding, painting, listening and playing music and mainly just eating good food! We’ve had some lovely outdoor fireside tunes in Ullapool and that has been something to cherish. There has generally been no shortage of things that have kept that smile on my face and I hope we as artists in a small way can still have a positive impact on peoples’ lives who are struggling.
Timing is everything, tradition and creativity flows through time, whether it’s a fast or a slow tune, whether it’s a hard time or a fun time, let’s be mindful of this time and make it count in the best way that we can.
How many times can I use the word ‘time’ in one blog post!?
Thanks for reading! Stay well and safe and let’s have the biggest live music celebration possible as soon as the ‘time’ is right!!