I went to prison last week


I went to prison last week to lead an art workshop and I was asked to write a daily diary.  I think it was supposed to be one of those stream of consciousness things, well that’s what I thought as they suggested that I use a Dictaphone, but I like to write, so I did.

You are going to be spared this.  This blog, my ‘weekly attitudes about art’ and stuff, is going to be dramatically different from that same daily diary I wrote and sent by email on sunday, about the same seven days. 

And the thing is there are several more versions of the week that I could have presented about this same week.

So on Wednesday I could talk about the dangers of relaxing.  Hump day was my test card day to see if the project that I had planned was inventive enough to hold the attention and interest of the participants.  I’d been sleeping fitfully up till then.  It went better than I hoped; I was elated, there were some uncool high fives, I came home and slept all over an episode of Columbo and went to bed earlier than usual.

I woke up at 6.12am the following morning.  Twelve minutes past the time I was supposed to meet Emma at the tube.  I woke up to the phone ringing, or rather the phone falling on the floor as I kicked it off my bed in my blissful sleep. It was Emma.  For the first time all week, I was very late.

Or I could ignore that and talk about the joys of having a travel card.  I work sporadically, and I can appreciate if some readers don’t need to hear that, but the downside is that I have a pay as you go oyster card. 

Jumping on and off buses and multiple tube journeys without scanning the oyster card monitor to see how much money I have left on, is not an option.  Neither is foregoing the mental gymnastics I go through, clinging to a childhood precocity in maths, trying to adjust when last I had put money on, and how I had possibly gone through so much so soon.

Or I could review the really terrible things that I write in blogs or diaries or make as an artist that at the time seemed like solid gold and comparable to ‘It was the best of the times, it was the worst of times,’ favourite all time opening of a book, followed closely by ‘Call me Ishmael,’ although I never got further than the descriptions of all the whales.

An English teacher once said that if you had a line in a piece of work that you think is particularly brilliant you should get scrub it out.  The same actually goes for art.

The last day of the workshop was brilliant and in my Friday diary I’ll admit to getting a little verbose and romantic, casting myself as Dorothy leaving Oz, which I already regret, but also later remembered why it’s so remarkably unoriginal.

Or I could forget about writing a breezy version of the past few days and admit that today and yesterday and a bit the day before, I’ve been feeling kinda blue. 

I’m sipping scotch and smoking a cigarette tonight.  The balcony windows are open and I can hear some voices floating on the slight breeze through the blinds.  I turned the TV on but it’s still on standby and there’s a small red light under the screen, and I’m feeling sorry for myself. 

I’m apt to see the falseness in any version of this week that isn’t bleak and despairing, which is foolish and not true either.  Its just another version of an imperfectly fine week.