Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The charm of self-creation

The wallpaper stripping is deeply satisfying. There you have it! No wonder all these random perps on 'Grand Designs' 're showing off their creations whilst proselytising about the satisfaction of build-it-all-yerself. The results-in-moments-thing is quite a balm for a frustrated housewife like moi with no immediate satisfaction in: bank account/romance/glamorous lifestyle/career.... ("sod it, lean over the ladder and go for it...ready...want the whole damn chunk in one little tug...go on then...grab the edge, gently goes, here we go....PEEL!!!!!!! Yeeeessss!!! Ha hey, slickly done, woman!: mental high-five!")

Actually, my father, too, built his own house from scratch. I spent the most memorable and unfettered moments of my childhood there. Wondrous, echoes of Le Corbusier, natural rock walls lining the interior, minimalist but yet sinuous(I sound like an art critic..), inspired touches like the massive millstone atop an oil drum, glass-covered, as dining table. It faces the thumping swell in winter when the air tastes of salt, and the twinkling, happy, whooping beach in summer. It's abroad- obviously- a little bolthole once the preserve of artists and hippies, now discovered and developed, village charm rather engulfed: in the same way as its dry river bed - once a heaven of mimosa trees - has been asphaulted over, yellow fluffy blooms of lingering scent long gone. Not a place to live, not now, and not outside the holiday season. It reeks of lost charms and uncertain future (a bit like a middle-aged spinster once ravishing). Charming, still, but its rarity faded. And the house, too, as if in reflection, stands rather neglected: shabby and let-out to brutish tenants who ill respect it, forever trashing object after object year after year. But it was a dream house once. A Grand Design to beat Grand Designs. If building your own house is something to be proud of in life, my father's proud. But yet that's all he really achieved of note, though he could have been a great architect. A really great one. My family is dogged with unrealised potential (which is why I'm hot-housing my son - can't help it - but that's a story for another time).

Anyway, back to the bare wall. I'm gazing at it. I love it. I love its promise, its whole latentness, it being a blank canvas by means of which to transform the space around (yes, a statement wall, I admit it. What a horrid expression that is, though. Cheapens the whole creative concept to exhibitionism). Husband thinks I'm mad when I come out with such thoughts, but to be candid (and he admits it) he's design challenged, as you'd call it nowadays. The day to day aesthetics which badger me and make me suffer mean nothing to him. He's pragmatic. But, me,I'm a dreamer and, yes, CARE about beauty and how my world is ordered. It's undoubtedly easier to live like him, than like me if you're short on cash! I just suffer. And end up picking up that trowel myself when I just can't stand it any longer! I care about how things look, about balance, about harmony, about relationships between objects and environments, almost as much as between people (because I believe environment improves quality of life, relationships, mood, morale). The flip side is, I'm vain, ambitious, quixotic (that one's for your benefit, MH!) and probably selfish too, in the way arty people can be selfish when the creative urge takes over. I'm sure I'm a challenge to live with and to understand..... why I love a bare wall so?!

1 comment:

  1. Now that sounded a lot like me....scary :-)...still playing catch up with the blog reading...never mind me...