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Monday, 4 July 2011


  There, From Here K Howell 2011 Pastel on Paper 14 cm x 21 cm
     If you've ever given birth, you'll know there's a certain inevitability about the situation. Labour can't go on forever, and harbouring this creature indefinitely is not an option. Something has to give. Your bones.  The same ones that, on a good day, hold you upright. The ugly phase where your muscles are convincing your skeleton to be that much more flexible is termed transition and could very well be the original source of the werewolf myth.
     On the occasions I've experienced this process, I've spent much of the time thinking surely there must be a better way. How long have we been evolving as a species? And this is the most efficient system we have arrived at? I make a mental note each time to move to Australia, where eventually women may become marsupial.*
     What does this have to do with creativity? In the development of work and the search for the right blend of intensity and flexibility, we definitely have periods of transition, don't we? When do we push on, and when do we relax? We've already forgotten what worked last time, and anyway, circumstances are different. Aren't they?
     My least favourite swim coach** once pressed me to finish a ridiculous distance swimming butterfly. When I told him I'd had enough, everything hurt and I took that as a Sign to Stop, he said, Hurts a little? Or a lot? Not wanting to sound feeble, I said a little. He raised a paunchy eyebrow and said, Then you're not working hard enough.
     Transition. The cost of improvement, learning a new balance of instinct and education. Pressure on the thick skull. Too late for the epidural. Alas.

*No, I don't truly believe this, but pain messes with your head.
**I can't remember the likeable swim coaches saying anything of value. But they were ever so nice.

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