Tuesday, September 19, 2006

touring the facilities

I sit in the garden wearing headphones and trying not to sing out loud, squeezed into a small and ever-decreasing patch of sun; drawing pictures of cake.

Mainly I am drawing the pictures of cake because I meant to be drawing something else, but the thinking about something else has unlocked the pressing need to record all the cakes I can think of; and unlike the other thing I am not having any trouble with thinking about cake. Cake and I have had a long and happy relationship. Rare are the times that cake lets you down, forgets to call, says something which touches an uncomfortable nerve. And if it does? You eat the bugger and buy another one.

I get to about 15 kinds of cake without really trying to think about it, and then add another five or six with a minimum of effort. Then I decide to do the food shopping. As I am excited by my cake-ish list I think about the drawings as I drive. I come up with a couple more kinds of cake, and then I start to add rules. I will only draw the cakes that my mother made when I was little. I will only draw cakes that I have eaten with friends. I will exclude tray-baked cakes, anything including the word 'bread', tarts of any description. Slowly, I make it harder for myself. Take something which was fun, and turn it into work. Build restrictions and traps into my creativity which are pretty much guaranteed to force boredom or failure.

Luckily; and probably for the first time, I realise what I'm doing to myself and stop. I decide instead to draw every kind of cake I can think of, eaten and uneaten, whether cooked by my Mother or Marks and Spencer, the only rule being that I fancy drawing it. Then I can put them into categories if I so desire. Or not, as the case may be. I also reserve for myself the right to stop drawing pictures of cake whenever I feel like it. It isn't work.

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