"What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from."
– T. S. Eliot, from Little Gidding
Late last week I finished emptying the storage facility associated with my former enamel studio. It's been a long process and I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted before I completed the final few days. But I didn't want to delay the arrangements I'd made (or pay another week's rent). So I admitted myself to the private psychiatric hospital, then commuted to and from the studio.
Each morning I received permission to leave for the day. I slipped my hospital identification off like a bracelet and put it in the pocket of my jeans as I walked to the bus stop. I caught a bus from a station near the hospital to the industrial facility. In the afternoon, I caught a different bus back. When I signed in at the hospital they checked my bag. My ID band was slipped back over my wrist. I ate dinner early in the communal dining area. My evenings were spent talking (and often weeping) to a psychiatric nurse before crawling into my narrow bed. I fell asleep holding a pillow.
On my last day at the industrial facility I moved heavy boxes of archives – around thirty of them – to a much smaller, less expensive unit. I went back to hospital and slept for the next two days and nights. I stayed there to rest for a few more days. Then caught the bus home.
I expected to feel something more definite in response to the end of this period of my oeuvre. And I expected to feel something more definite about being able to focus on new work in other media. Except the feelings overlap. It's not linear or simple like the end of one story and the beginning of another. Or the linear way that life unfolds; we are born and age through distinct stages of life until we die.
Art doesn't adhere to linear time. It's one of the qualities that makes it powerful – because our internal experience of life isn't linear either.
Above: Makeshift study in my shared room at the private psychiatric hospital. These days, I figure anywhere can be a study or a studio.