In the four years I have been absent from my blog the fabric of my life has changed completely. I haven’t written anything during this time because I wanted to make sense of the previous twenty-five years before writing about it, but now I’ve realised that it's not going to happen, so I am moving on.
I retrained as an English teacher, taught for nine months in China, and I am now teaching in Italy. I have also developed health problems, which is one of the reasons I am settled for the moment in a Mediterranean climate. Every day I wake to the sound of bells and little bits of Italian: it’s slowly coming into focus as my language skills get better, but still kind of resembles birdsong.
My energy, such as it is, goes towards healing myself, as this has become an absolute necessity: my three main activities are writing, painting and teaching, and they are both benefiting from and contributing to that process. The art I make has changed quite a lot - probably that’s what happens when you change as a person. I find I have lost some skills and gained others. I do a lot of artwork for my little students, both in class and in the form of teaching materials like games and exercises. I've had to adapt to the materials that I have available in the classroom, and get much, much faster. I've also rediscovered an enthusiasm for writing poems, which I had as a child and teenager but lost as an adult. My teaching gives me contact with young students who have endless energy and a genius for having fun. I started these three activities from very different places, but they are connected by who I am and they are ever so slowly drawing closer together. Maybe they will converge at some point and become a conclusive artistic identity, but for the moment they remain separate and I am enjoying the different things they give me.