I am a one woman operation. Every day I draw about 30 – 60 drawings and since I can’t afford an assistant, in the evening I scan them in myself.
The simple, mentally undemanding task of scanning turns my mind on itself. Rather, my mind turns on me:
– What do you think you are doing?
– I am scanning. It is easy. Chill out.
– Scanning is preposterous! You are turning tangible things drawn on paper into some undetectable digits that rely on flimsy electronics made in China!
I freeze. The paper about to be put on the scanner pegs shivers in my hands.
– Is that right?
– Yes! What will happen to your work if your Mac Mini caves into an electric surge and all your files collapse in neat digital but useless piles? To weeks and weeks of your hard labour!?
– Oh, but I can scan it again.
– Scan it again?! But what if something happens to the paper your drawings are on? What you get evicted tomorrow and one of the movers lose the box with all your work done so far? What if 2012 strikes in 2011? What if Global Warming turns Manhattan in Venice overnight? Have you thought of End of the World lately? It is all futile. Your efforts are futile. The best you can do is to to hold on to your dear life. Forget the project, it doesn’t have a chance to get done.
This is why I’ve never made a feature before. My mind has a temperament of a saboteur – every time I start to work on a project it reminds me of all possible disasters, local or global, proving uselessness of my activity. I can trick my mind with a short film by working really fast so the work is done before the mind gets momentum with it’s argument. But now this project is possibly going to last more than a year and my mind is really trying to stop me before the disaster strikes.
Of course, this is very deeply rooted in a childhood trauma, more precisely – prepubescent trauma.
One summer when I was 13, just before the hormones started to kick me around the small town like a puppet, I realized how delicious the early gooseberries were and that I wanted to have them in the winter too.
– There is a recipe for gooseberry jam from Peter the Great times that I got from my grandmother’s second cousin, – my mother advised.
The recipe involved overnight soaking gooseberries in cold water mixed with leaves from black current bush, with a lid pressed by a 4 kilogram brick on top. In the morning the gooseberries were to be rinsed, the current leaves to be thrown out, fresh water and new current leaves added, bring the berries to boil, take it off the stove, leave the pot overnight in a cold place. The next day… in short, it was a very evolved recipe that consumed 3 days of my young life and most of my attention.
The moment I started to close the 10 hot jars full of fresh, still simmering gooseberry jam with vacuum lids, my family gathered at the table for dinner.
– Ah, it smells delicious, – they said and ate 7 of the 10 jars.
– They like it! – I was inspired. – Just wait how much more they like it in the winter!
I gathered more gooseberries and spent the next 3 days creating 20 more jars of jam. I made sure the lids were closed before the dinner time and to protect the jam from my gourmet family I hastily took the jars to the cellar where I put them on cold wooden shelves.
At that instant of the summer the gooseberry season was over and I turned my attention to currents – red, white and black. They were all snatched from under the fingers of my fruit loving family and put into the jars in a form of jam and jelly:
– This is for the winter. For your own good.
Then it came plums’ turn. I discovered that apple and red bilberry jam is irresistible. Pear and cranberry combination gives hints of pine apple. More exotic approaches – tomatoes with finely cut squash – gave a great promise for a solid winter salad.
The cellar was filling with jars of my creations. It was so full, there was barely a place to put any new jars.
Late sunny August day, just before school, one of the old wooden shelves couldn’t hold the weight anymore. The rot that had spread in the wood gave in, the shelve broke in two and all the jars it was holding went down to shelve below, also full of jars. That other shelve couldn’t hold the extra weight and with all the jam and jars it went down to the bottom where my most recent masterpieces were placed. It was a mess of glass, fruit, jam, sugar and my wild tears. Only about 3 of 117 jars survived the catastrophe.
I’ve not made a single jar of preserves since then.
I can barely do the scanning.
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