Monday, May 10, 2010

Another castle, but not a balm

Why not visit another castle today? I am still feeling very blocked, so I walked to the studio and then mapped the route to the Belfast Castle. I knew it would be far, and on the way, I bumped into Lisa, who said I was going in the right direction, and to take a bus on the way back.

The walk was fine on the way there, and the park was super lush. Gnats galore. The castle interior is not interesting b/c it's refurbished, and the grounds are hilarious b/c they redid them in a feline theme (the tiling in the right corner of the photo is of a cat). I was just glad to have climbed up to a place that the tour guides tell people to ride to.

But I should have taken Lisa's advice on the way back. I walked to the studio, but I was a puddle by the time I got there, after over 9 miles of walking on a bad ankle. What I learned today: I complain a lot less about everything when I am alone. After eating a big lunch, hydrating, and sitting, I got back to normal. I still felt wholly uninspired so I decided to Photoshop some more things, but I think it hates me: even on the Flax computer, it crashed and burned. I had to reopen it at least five times.

I decided to throw in the towel early, around 3:30pm, but bumped into Yvonne, the new temporary studio holder downstairs. She's from Dublin and was lovely to chat with. I realized I was saying, "I don't know," constantly and she kept saying, "sounds like you need a break." I think that my issue is that I don't feel like it's appropriate for me to appropriate any of the history and conflict here to make work. It's not my story to tell, and though it affects me as someone temporarily living in this city, it's not for me to work out. I think about how papermaking has no tradition here, nor do Koreans, and though those are not the only things that drive my work, those are the two BIG things that I have been devoted to for the past few years, so I'm here feeling so very disconnected.

On the way out, I stopped by PS2 for their exhibit of Polish design as part of Polish Cultural Week, and then got some souvenirs for a friend's kids and then figured that since I had 30 min until the next bus, that I'd stop in Victoria Square to use the bathroom. Then I saw people walking up the tall spiral staircase (my 2nd one today, 3rd one this weekend) to the observatory, so I went, too. You can see Cave Hill in this pic, the top ridges resembling a man's profile, the area I had visited today. On my circuitous way home, I thought about how I'm having a hard time working here b/c even though Belfast is like a big town more than a small city, it's still an urban area. I remembered what Velma told me when I was in Korea last year: living in a city is hard and stressful. And I am no city girl. I mean, I've done it before and love cities for plenty of reasons, but they are hard on me. So that makes me thankful that I will get three nights away, in a lake house, come next weekend.

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