This blog is for Mike

[ Outsider Art:  Forty years out]
….  Provide your own image….

As you may have guessed by now, I have been doing *didley squat (*absolutely nothing) on my thesis about outsider art. I have no real explanation for this – at least nothing that has filtered into my conscious mind. I am not, by nature, a procrastinator. I always get projects done on time, or before the deadline. I arrive early to appointments. I am very organized. I make my living by writing, so “writer’s block” is not a phrase in my vocabulary. I simply don’t know why I am not getting on with the task… Perhaps it will all become clear to me in hindsight.

Vancouver is hosting the TED talks again this year. They are called Truth or Dare. Intriguing concept. The talks are broadcast (free) at my university, so I headed out there last night to see Marina Ambrovic talk about her performance art. (Big fan of hers. Check her out.)  Anyway, I ran into a few of my grad student colleagues, and a few professors.

It was a lot of fun except that one of my professors was there (let’s call him *Mike* from the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois). Mike is a visiting professor at the UBC Faculty of Education, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, where I am doing my studies. I took a course from Mike last spring and was honoured to discover that he is genuinely interested in my topic. Mike is one of those modest, kind, supportive, brilliant professors that we always hope to run into during our university studies and I was lucky enough to take a course from him, and even luckier to have him take an interest in my research. To be blunt, Mike basically asked what the *heck* I was doing (on my thesis) and, with a considerable amount of discomfort,  I had to answer “not much”. Fortunately, people in the TED talk audience were shushing us to keep quiet, so I managed to avoid a more detailed explanation of my ingenious avoidance tactics (e.g., see previous blog on washing pillows).

So, Mike, these next few blogs are for you. I have *gone fishing* (so to speak) in the mountains of BC to write my thesis. I am not coming down from the mountain until I am finished. I will blog regularly, keeping you informed of my progress. With an audience to witness my progress (or lack thereof) I hope to stay on track. I have been living with this research for several years, so it should be a easy task to set it down on paper.

Easy, right?

The worst (or best) of my writing retreat is that I will be in the mountains. I don’t like mountains.  Period. I live on the edge of a coastal mountain range, but I would rather not. I feel claustrophobic when I am under them. I even feel claustrophobic when I am on the top of a mountain.  And I am absolutely terrified of bears (see previous blogs). So this will be a challenge to all my senses. It will be best, and safer, if I stay inside and write until I have nothing left to say. Or at least until I take a breath.

You will all be acknowledged in that final document that certifies I have earned this degree. Thank you for your support:

Mandy and Gerry: Thank you for the hospitable venue.
Luca: Skype me.
Ant: Ask the entire Buddhist empire to chant for me.
Donal:  Look, I’m doing it!
Spring: Let’s graduate together!
All of you: send me chocolate and “you go girl” emails.

Love you all.  See you on the other side of the mountain.