At the airport…5 Reflections so far –
1. Most of my interactions with paper require buying something first.
Outside of work, my main interactions with paper have been receipts and take-away menus. The latter are delivered regularly through my door, meaning I now have a backlog of 3 Domino’s pizza menus in my new paper-collection wooden suitcase. The books and notebooks which were once contained there have been relegated to a mere shelf. It’s a growing pile.
I still have the wrappings of a curry I ordered, which is forming a nice base for the smaller receipts. It’s a dire affair that my relationship with paper has been reduced to unsolicited mail and proof of purchases. There’s a Margaret Atwood book too, but that’s from the library and so is already recycled in spirit.
I actually found myself this week wondering what I could buy to create a new piece.
This, I reminded myself is not quite the point.
2. Some shops now want my data instead of giving me paper.
To add insult to the project, many shops, particularly my favourite soul destroyers: women’s clothes shops, have started offering e-mailed receipts. (I believe this has been happening for a while but I’ve been voluntarily abstaining from these havens of confidence for some time). Of course I don’t want a digital receipt! I won’t be able to write about this glorious experience without the paper version! Again, the project falls into an paradoxical cycle. I am creating waste to be creative with it. Already superficiality is encroaching: is there anywhere it can’t reach?
Regardless , I have no intention of handing over my e-mail address to the Fashion Police.
3. The rule I’ve created helps to filter out real passions
I am sat in the airport with a strong urge to write about the changing semantics of the words want and need. Frantically, I search for a relevant paper resource in my possession. There is nothing. But I vow to write it regardless. This, I then know, is something I strongly want to write. Unlike the many other ideas which fall out of being at the paper barrier.
4. The rule I’ve created helps me to reduce the infection of my own grand narratives/preoccupations.
The process of letting the paper’s purpose shape my focus and theme has forced me to dramatically reduce levels of solipsism. I am no longer bound by my own grand narratives COMPLETELY. Instead I am forced beyond the comfort of these to consider the role of the paper and the creative process. I mean it’s still work in progress…
Likewise when I wrote my Domino’s piece, the work itself helped me to make sense of how it was centrally affecting my mood by zooming into a core image. Where a prose piece would have been unyielding and multi-focussed, the menu made me selective. As such, the core and central aspect of the experience was clear, dealt with and moved on from, before lunchtime. I am now a devoted groupie to this process.
5. I need to respect the format and pathways of my tools more.
As I draw the letters out across a receipt or menu I realise I am not embedding the structural limitations of the work into the meaning I shape. This is a prose habit I want to try to overcome. I am too quick to dive in without having the patience to carefully consider the shape of the work. Considering this will give an opportunity to use the landscape of the work as a language in itself.