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what i am not_today: i am not the night. not vast but small. not dark but light. i move. i am not the air. not smooth but rough. not everywhere but nowhere. oh all that i am not could fill your mouth. not the sea, not a rock, not a mountain, no, not still and not full, oh what i am could wash you away

esja sings

i feel the sky today, feel it in my rock-black skin.

it´s blue, and sharp and sighing, all light and lacking. i want to pull it closer. my mother, my heart. i need it. i feel the sky today and cry. we are so close and yet we are so far.

I recently went to hear a man speak who had spent the last forty years of his life as a Buddhist teacher. In the last few years, he said, he has stopped calling himself a Buddhist. He said he felt that we live with too many fences in our lives, both physically and mentally and he had come to realise that this word, this

label ‘Buddhist’ was just another fence.

and he had come to realise that this word, this label ‘Buddhist’ was just another fence.

This is how it is for me. As an ARTIST. I feel somehow every inch of myself shy away from this label. ‘Artist’. What does that mean? Is that something I can ever call myself? Will I ever be more of an artist than a baker, or a swimmer or a lover of books? As this man, the former Buddhist teacher, was talking about his decision I felt something click in myself...The realisation as to just why I feel myself becoming uncomfortable in my own skin all of a sudden when someone wants me to call myself something. Like artist. Or writer. Or vegetarian.

I am me. I am a person who loves to create. I am a person who loves words. I am a person who doesn’t eat meat. I am a person who loves to move.

This doesn’t make me an artist, or a writer, or an athlete, or even a vegetarian. This makes me who I am. Each one cancels out the next. I am none and all of these things, and more.

At what point do these things which we do stop be things we love, and start being who we are? Start demarcating us, separating us from those around us....

As I write these words though, I see how trite they sound. Like some washed up hippie from the 70’s. Gotta do away with all these labels maaaan, they’re freaking me out! ‘Oh woe betide, the poor art student. Middle class princess who doesn’t want to be called an artist’, people think. ‘You are pretentious’, they say. I don’t know. I can see the ridiculousness of it. The pointlessness of fighting this age old, tried and true system of labelling ourselves. I AM being stupid. I AM a middle class princess. I AM pretentious.


But I can’t help my gut reaction. My flinch when I am asked to please step inside that box there with all those other ‘artists’. Or ‘writers’. Or ‘vegetarians’.

This is just how it is for me.

As an artist.

I see that there is art in every day life and believe that this is something which is accessible to all people if we know how to look. Where to look... That if we are able, somehow, to take a few seconds of stillness out of each day they will also see this art.This living art. This art of living. I am not an artist, we are all artists. All creators.

I am not an artist, we are all artists. All creators.

I feel almost a physical sensation of every day unfolding, arranging itself around me, flawed and pure. The different folds of my life falling like some kind of fabric.Tangible, material...Plaited, wound, woven...The waves, the currents, the rhythms of daily life.

I often search (sometimes with a kind of desperation) for some kind of a way to express this...This human imperfection, usually (but not always) found in stillness. In the moment between breaths. When the sensation of air on skin, Or skin on flesh, Or feet on ground becomes most apparent. When I am.

When I am.

On the whole though, this is not something that is possible to express in one movement. And maybe this is a good thing. Some small moments of beauty (whatever that is) are too complex and simple and confounding when you experience them, that they are not possible to articulate. To frame with words or even images. They just have to be left to be.

I want to learn. To be taught by those around me. In applying to study art at a higher level, I am attempting to find ways to grow and expand my understanding of this visual, textual, expressible world.

What I wish for, in my explorations in art and with words, is to express what is beautiful to me in the everyday, the mundane. It is motivated by my desire to hone my ability to share what I see as beauty and to learn to better express and reflect upon myself and then in turn allow others to do the same. To me this is not the task of the artist, but of human beings. To teach each other. To learn from each other. All of us have this ability to share. We are all, in this sense, artists.

We are all, in this sense, artists.

Bergrúnar Bók  

The book of Bergrún