Sunday, 30 May 2004

The Burning Barn

One of the things I've come to appreciate about blogging, is the relative anonymity it provides. I deliberately chose to be Mr Zip, rather than ..... ....., because I wanted to see if it affected how I wrote. And it has, I think. In a way, it's a little like being at a Masked Ball or Mardi Gras. There's a sense that possibly everyone knows who you are, yet wearing a mask (even a domino, for god's sake!) allows you to act differently from the way you might normally act.

And names can be like masks.

According to Twyla Tharp, the dancer:

There is a tradition in the Orient in which masters are allowed at one point in their lives to change their names. They're allowed to keep their knowledge but they get a fresh start. I like that idea.

I used to think that the luckiest painters were the ones whose barn burned down, with all their old paintings inside. That way, they had no past to be responsible for. They could get a clean start.

I don't think I'm quite ready to burn down the barn with my paintings in it. Partly because I live in this particular barn, but also because, whilst I can see how the general idea might benefit some, I can also see that it didn't do G.L.Hunter (1877 - 1931) much good. He's the least-known of the four Scottish Colourists. This may be because he simply wasn't as good as the others, but leaving aside such value judgements, his position in history wasn't helped by the fact that many of his works were destroyed in a fire.

I am inclined to cleave to this "burnt barn" as an analogy, however.

Having found much of my comfortably established life "burnt in the barn" in a very short space of time, suddenly I feel very free. All options are open. Everything is up for grabs. And for me, especially behind my Mr Zip mask, that's a rather encouraging thought.

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