foldless blocking

Well, April went by fairly free of folding. School holidays and a trip to Yorkshire contributed to the lack of folding however, the month wasn’t entirely without thoughts of folding or to any of the other themes that the pinboard has raised. A leisurely family stroll along the River Wharfe led me to think about the geology of the place … a site of intense geological activity during Variscan times resulting in the Skipton Anticline and the various folds visible in the limestone and shale. For much more detail on this follow this link. A notable fold in the Middle Bowland Shale immediately below the ruins of Bolton Abbey is described as ‘disharmonic’; given my interest in disjunctions during my PhD this triggers particular attention.

the folded geology of the River Wharfe, Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire

Otherwise, things have been slow. The creative block has regained control of strategic positions. But I recognise now that I must not be dismissive of this state, it is more important to afford it attention … attempt to understand how it made this manoeuvre, how it gained space and time. What the manoeuvring consisted of. Maybe it is recognising that ‘creative block’ is a misnomer, or maybe that the ‘block’ is not an obstacle but a piece of material to be worked. Folded and eroded maybe? The block-as-an-obstacle is a construct of the mind, it exists between the individual and the creative process. The mind projects a block-as-an-obstacle a little further off and then the mind conspires to interpret this projection as an actuality … a physical presence which stifles movement, decision, thought. A careful dance must take place wherein the issue isn’t forced but yet neither is the projected obstacle allowed to dictate indefinitely.

What is this ‘block’? It is certainly not always solidly block like (although, as I type this I’m picturing a geometrically neat stone cuboid, pale cream in colour, large in scale (bigger than a car, smaller than a house)), it is often foggy, miasmic, indistinct and all-enveloping. It muffles the senses. Has a faintly metallic odour, dampens and disorientates. Has an anxiety-inducing turbidity, a self-fuelling busyness of its own that overwhelms and distracts. Strange that these images can be so apparently oppositional and yet both have similar end results inducing as they do inertia and indecision. But does the situation have other identities, these are certainly most common but maybe they also suggest a bodily blockage … constipation or a mucosal congestion.

As an aside, the etymology of ‘block’ relates to wood and the trunk of a tree specifically. Perhaps it is a case of trying to see the wood despite the appeal of the trees.