‘The more diverse the life of the mind, the better the chances are that your inspiration will be protected’ writes Rainer Maria Rilke to Elisabeth Ephrussi in The Hare with the Amber Eyes.
I think about this as I return from my daily tour of what I’m beginning to call my daily park: how often have I not taken a quick picture of its ‘Monet bridge‘? Always the same yet not at all. The so essential diversity to feed our mind has less to do with frequent changes of scenery than one would think. The most familiar views are offering us constant change. A dear Indian friend, who has never experienced the seasons before being outposted in the Netherlands for a while, is coping well with the rain and cold because she willfully observes the variations around her.
These thoughts remind me of a poem by Paul Verlaine about his dream of a woman he loves and who loves him, who is never exactly the same and never exactly different:
Je fais souvent ce rêve étrange et pénétrant
D’une femme inconnue, et que j’aime, et qui m’aime
Et qui n’est chaque fois ni tout à fait la même
Ni tout à fait une autre …
‘The best experiences are not when you find what you were looking for, but when something quite different finds you, takes you by surprise, shifts your taste to new territory… ‘ Tim Parks in Teach us to sit still
Try this small exercise, once again from my most inspiring art teacher: tear away a few bits of newspaper and make it into a small collage the size of a postcard, then ‘frame’ it with four strips of plain paper to isolate the image and ‘transcribe’ it, using only a pen and Indian ink. We couldn’t stop making new ones, I remember. It was a long time ago and the paper has become yellow but I guess the idea could be the beginning of a good series of doodles.