I did a live telephone interview on ABC Radio Australia this morning which heard me voice some of the things I have been silently thinking over the past few weeks. To most listeners, it was just an interview with an artist, living and working in Osaka, Japan, which is exactly what it should have sounded like. To me, however, hearing myself voice some of these thoughts made my head spin for the rest of the day.
I feel 'almost' ready to head back to Australia.
Living overseas had been a dream of mine for a long time, and in more recent years, (since my first visit here in 2003), Japan became the destination of choice for that dream.
When I moved here earlier this year, I did not know exactly what I was expecting, just that I wanted to experience life in another culture and also spend more time in this country that I had visited only briefly on two occasions, one that had fascinated me for a number of years. I also wanted to paint over here. To make art in the country that has so heavily inspired my work for the past 6 years. I have done these things.
Although the initial plan was to spend at least a full 12 months over here, I feel as though I am ready to see what's next. For a new dream?
There is no rule that says I have to stay here 12 months in order to achieve or fulfill my dream of living and painting overseas. The majority of my time here has been spent making art. Living here as opposed to being a tourist has also allowed me to see another side of Japan other than the fantastical one that I first saw in Kyoto. There is a lot of beauty here, but also a lot of ugliness... it is the same almost anywhere I guess, but I am grateful to have had enough time here to see both sides. "How does one find inspiration in a city that is not so inspiring?"was one of the questions asked of me today.
There is good and bad in everything I guess. This was not my answer, in fact, I cannot even remember my exact response. I do however remember talking about the fact that one of the beauties of art, and perhaps a skill, is to be able to turn something ugly into something beautiful - to see, or at least search for, the beauty in everything, or at least in most things.
I'm a big believer in 'timing'. And, although I feel a little in two minds about going home so soon, (half way through writing this blog entry, I confirmed my return flight home in early June), I feel that I will be leaving here WITH inspiration... not staying so long that I risk losing it. This may not make sense to anyone else, but it makes sense to me.
I will miss Japan when I get home, and I think that is a good thing. Also, living in Japan has taught me a lot about myself, and taught me to appreciate home and many other things, and people a lot more, and THAT is an even better thing.
So... I have lived out that particular dream. I have achieved what I set out to do. I have experienced something amazing. And, I have been fortunate enough to have the freedom to pursue, and in a sense, control this dream. There have been no rules other than my own.
I read the following quote yesterday and it rang so true for me.
"Most people are not free. Freedom, in fact, frightens them. They follow patterns set by their parents, enforced by society, by their terrors of 'they say' and 'what will they think?' and by a constant inner dialogue that weighs duty against desire and pronounces duty the winner." - Erica Jong (forward from the Henry Miller book, Sexus)