www.jesusonthetube.co.uk for my other website
www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life
Back to Heavenly Bed and why I am here. My children are lovely but need much eyeball to eyeball time and tons and tons of food. We all love food in this house and because they are so large and tall and hungry and used to eating in my home, we can become like a non stop Viking Feast.
I am a very busy Artist. I am making the A Graceful Death exhibition so much bigger and better and more interactive. I am making a film with Neill my film maker colleage. Eileen Rafferty the photographer extraordinaire is creating a book on it. I am promoting the exhibition all round the country and doing absolutely everything myself. That is exhausting and very hands on. There is also my commission work that I will get back to next week (promise) and complete for my clients. (Promise). The A Graceful Death needs much publicity, much sponsorship and much time spent on it to make it work in the community. It is about how it is to die and what it means to face the end of life. I have many paintings to do for it, and I am working with some very inspirational people. For example, tomorrow Neill, Eileen and I are filming an interview and discussion in London, with a very beautiful lady who is mid chemo and radiotherapy treatment for cancer. She is very ill and very wonderful. I am also discussing with her what painting I will be doing of her for the A Graceful Death exhibition next in Birmingham. The word that came to mind when talking with her at first was Goddess. I want to paint her as a goddess. It will work. Eileen will be photographing her for me and for her book. Neill will be filming the whole thing.
I have a large house to run. It is a wonderful house, and it does not hoover itself. Goddamit. The garden is beginning to be the most exciting part of the house - the Cosmic Gardner is full of empathy for it and has made it into just what I want. Next week we go and buy roses. Blimey. He says I can have hollyhocks too and so my life is full. Last week we bought peonies and winter roses and honeysuckle and bleeding hearts (he says they are called bleeding hearts and I utterly believe him) and he planted them while I stood in my painting overalls watching, with a tear in my eye, as if they were teeny fluffy sweet little day old chicks and he was saving them from something and it was all very sentimental. "They're only plants M'Lady" he may have said in some embarrassment. "Oh but they are so sweeeeet" I may have sobbed in reply.
The final reason that I am and have been so tired, is that I am 50. An evening out is exhausting. I used to dance till late, come home, drink tea and sleep for about 4 hours. Up in the morning, kids, housework, bit of painting, lots of chatting, party again in the evening, and it would take ages before I had a melt down. Now, even the thought of having a night on the town and staying up beyond midnight makes me cry. I take my high heels with me in a sensible bag and change into them on the doorstep before ringing the bell. I keep tissues up my sleeve and in my pocket just in case. I have a nice spare pair of flat shoes with me at all times for walking more than 20 yards. I always carry a cardi in case I get chilly. And I simply don't undersand much of what my children say to me because I think they mumble, and they think I am deaf. They shout and still I don't understand. "Annunciate," I say to them clearly, "you are still mumbling." "Mumble mumble mumble", they bellow back and I have to give up. It is safer then to smile and say, "Goodness Me!" as if I had understood and approved of their sweet little ways. Even if they had said to me "Bye Mum I'm off to prison for three years" I would smile and nod and say, "Goodness Me!" and ask one of the other children to write it down for me. Then again there is always the possibility that they are not my children....
I lie here in my bed. My room is full of wonderful things. The large bed that I sit up in, is covered with exotic cushions in wonderful colours and twinkles. My duvet is white with red polka dots on it, and the cushion behind my back is cerise and hairy. Like me after one of those late night parties I hear you say. I jest. I am not cerise and hairy (often). I see the chair opposite the bed and remember that it was bought 22 years ago for me to sit and feed my newborn baby. Each child has sat with me during night feeds in that chair. It is red and slightly frayed (the chair, the chair) and had a Russian shawl over the back of it. My dressing table is a 1930s table, given to me by one of my mother's friends. I love it and I am very grateful to my mother's friend. On the dressing table are candles that smell divine when lit, little clusters of jewellery both inside and out of heart shaped and beaded boxes. A photo of my grand parents on their wedding day, a small red sponge duck that Steve got for me, an Indian pot a dear Indian friend bought me, and then died back in his country before I could show him how it was placed in my home. And littered in an orderly fashion around the floor and upon some lovely wicker hampers that were once Christmas presents from Fortnum and Masons from my dear cousin and his wife in the the USA, I have the fanciest collection of platformed wedge heeled sandles in polka dots, and stripes, and reds, and blues, and blacks. Oh boy.
So sitting here in my perfect bed, the window open to my right, a breeze blowing in and ruffling the glorious curtains of magenta lining material and netting that another wonderful and creative cousin in Michigan made for this room, I feel very satisfied.
Heavenly, heavenly, all is heavenly. Now what is that tall blond child saying to me again?