‘Physical training for business men:
basic rules and simple exercises for the training of the physical self’ (1917)
(courtesy of WikiCommons)
5.00 am: I awoke. It was raining and too early to exercise. Communion, then. (The training of the spiritual self.) 5.45 am: Floor exercises. I integrated several positions borrowed from the Pilates system. My regime is very eclectic … very postmodern too: some of the moves are derived from nineteenth and early twentieth century charts. Holst’s The Planets (1914–16) played in the background.
8.00 am: At my desk. I turned to my notes for the forthcoming Visual Theology I conference paper. The project is placed on the back burner until June but, periodically, it makes sense to ensure that the pan isn’t boiling dry. 8.30 am: I waited for the carpenter to arrive and install a bespoke wooden gate in place of the rusty wrought-iron one. There was a short article for The Ego magazine that has been sitting, motionless, on my desktop for far too long. It’s about my stint at Bethel Welsh Baptist Church constructing I. Nothing Lack. last year. I re-engaged the task.
9.30 am: Off to School. It feels like November. I continued writing the article until 10.00 am, when the first of the day’s PhD Fine Art tutees arrived. The ladies in the studio looked even more disconsolate today. They’d really been through the mill:
11.10 am: The third session of the off-the-radar PhD Fine Art provision on self-reflective writing. There’s now a strong internal dynamic among the group; as such, my position is more that of a director than a leader. This is ideal. We teach and encourage one another. A willingness to be honest, vulnerable, and open is essential to the sessions’ success. 12.30 pm: On route to an MA fine art tutorial, I was nourished by the hot beverage kindly prepared by one of our secretaries. (This is beyond their call of duty. An imaginative kindness that was greatly appreciated. I felt spoilt.)
One of the glories of teaching fine art is the conversation through and around the subject and across the boundaries of the mind and soul. The students invite me over the threshold of the lives into domains which only they and their nearest and dearest have previously occupied. During the course of the day, I pass from one world to another and, on occasion, from this world to the next. In this respect, my job is unbeatable. Who needs a large salary when you can achieve fulfilment and expansion in spades on a daily basis instead?
1.00 pm: Off into town to purchase a light lunch. And I looked up:
1.20 pm: Back to School. And I looked down:
1.30 pm: Adminy with yoghurt and fruit. 2.00 pm: I held an extended PhD Fine Art tutorial before shuttling to the Old College via the Promenade for another. 3.20 pm: And I looked out:
7.30 pm: Admin updates, followed my a return to the morning’s article.
Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:
- Art can redeem even the most tawdry source material and subject matter. It may also lift both the artist and the audience above the banality of their humdrum existence. Art is always purposeful.
- Righteous anger may bring forth right action. All other anger is corrosive to the soul.
- There’s a difference between being influenced by another artist’s work and recognising a reflection of one’s own vision in the same.
- S: ‘Being an artist is the best, isn’t it!’ T: We are truly privileged, whatever the cost.
- The ability to repeat an accident is of the essence of craftsmanship.
- The older you get, the more appreciate that, in the end, the only things that really matter are love, family, and deep friendship. Fame, influence, and fortune too often bring with them unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and selfishness.