Beauty

An intangible gift.

An intangible gift. Drawing Luke Hockley.

An intangible gift. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

My fear is that I sit just outside of really talented at anything.

That I’m ok.

Adequate.

While others are gifted and inspiring.

I am afraid that I am destined for a life of mediocre.

I’d really like to be able to see through this. To see this for what it is…

But what is it?

It is a desire to have a natural, technical gift and to have honed that gift to a point of excellence.

What would having this kind of gift mean? What do I think it would give me?

I want to say ‘recognition’, I want to put this desire down to a need to be liked, a need to be celebrated by others…validated, but that’s not it. That’s not what I feel when I think of having this kind of gift.

I feel ‘freedom’. I am searching for the ability to use this ‘gift’ to make things.

At the moment I have music in my head. The ability to create music. To sit at the piano and play and sing, to create something from nothing.

I think I do have a gift. It’s just not so tangible. Which confuses me, I think.

Insight.

I think I have an ability to look at something and see the fabric of beliefs and ideas and history and story that is making that thing be the way that it is.

Then, I respond to that fabric.

I draw on my creative skills, as they are, to question, to challenge, to reflect…to imagine something new in the hope that we can see the fabric and choose how we want it to look in the future.

It seems like such an intangible gift.

I don’t think that makes it less valuable.

There’s something else.

I’m a dedicated craftsperson. I love learning. I have an ability to hone my skills. Then, when I respond creatively to some insight I’ve had, I have the tools at the ready to create.

The other day, at the gym, a friend said to me they wished they had lean muscle, rather than the bulky kind. I laughed…because they have the kind of body that most people at the gym are desperately looking to have.

I laughed because humans tend to do this. Or, at least, I certainly do this.

I look at the world and find the opposite of what I have and decide that that, that thing that I am not, is the most desirable thing to be in the world.

That if I only had that, then I would be happier and more creative and more special and unique and…everything, you know?

This is crap, though.

Really, it is crap.

The people I admire become distinct and interesting and beautiful because they take exactly what they have and amplify that.

Spending energy on a desire to be something else is a way of avoiding doing the work it takes to amplify what I’ve got.

It may also be a way of avoiding taking the risk of being seen, really seen, for what I am.

This is where it comes back to external validation.

My experience is that people living in their ‘gift’, whatever that may be, are not liked by everyone. Being liked by everyone is impossible and unlikely. The pursuit of this dubious goals is also likely to induce a kind of ‘mediocre’ that stifles things.

The unconscious goal of being liked by everyone is incredibly unhelpful to me.

Accepting…no, embracing, that the stuff I make will appeal to the people it is meant to appeal to, that’s where the gold is.

It frees me up.

To use my gifts.

To do something.

Right.

Thanks.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,379

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What is fire?

What is fire? Drawing Luke Hockley.

What is fire? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

It burns.

Uncontainable unless it’s contained.

Painful if it hits the skin.

Mesmerising.

Seductive and comforting.

Terrifying.

Totally overwhelmingly terrifying.

Intense.

Wood become air.

How? How does it become air?

What is fire?

Love

Luke

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Day 1,356

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Beautiful but damaged.

Beautiful but damaged. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Beautiful but damaged. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I had a bad dream last night.

A house that was haunted, but beautiful, but damaged.

We wanted to live in it.

Reimagine it.

Reinvent.

Restore it.

I felt frightened that the house was too damaged to regenerate.

But moved into it anyway.

When I woke up, I could feel the house was me.

That the haunted, damaged past was part of the beauty.

I could see that ghosts of events that happened through me are not me.

A kind piano to play,

in the corner,

sings the darkness away.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,345

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Chosen family.

Chosen family. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Chosen family. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I spoke to my beautiful friend Billie last night.

We’d been trying to connect for weeks, without success, and then finally the stars aligned.

It’s comforting to be back with someone who knows me so well. Who loves me so deeply.

Her little boy asked if “Luke was our family?” 

“Why, yes…he is”

We are a part of each other’s chosen family.

Which is an honour for me.

A real honour.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,267

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Nebulous and sharp.

Nebulous and sharp. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Nebulous and sharp. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Life is fleeting.

The edges and shape of it are blurry and ill defined.

It is painful and joyful.

All at once.

Generous and selfish.

At the same time.

A moment crystallises and then evaporates.

Nebulous and sharp.

What next, then.

What next?

Love

Luke

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Day 1,260

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Lovely.

Lovely. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Lovely. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The sun was lovely today.

Through windows.

In the car.

On my skin as I hung out the washing.

Lovely.

Just lovely.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,223

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To the brim.

To the brim. Drawing Luke Hockley.

To the brim. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am full.

Full to the brim.

Grateful and relieved.

Enriched,

Tired and inspired.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,181

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Disconcerting and beautiful.

Disconcerting and beautiful. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Disconcerting and beautiful. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The days of the week have no meaning anymore.

It is strange and beautiful and disconcerting when that happens.

I’m on holiday.

Life is not being sorted in the way that it normally is.

This is that time of year where I can find it hard to hold onto the threads of myself.

I tend to let go of my early morning writing of this letter, letting it slip into later in the day and then later in the evening. Last night I completely forgot and got lost in a movie and making a pair of shorts and it was suddenly midnight.

I panicked.

Funny that. It’s only me that knows or cares whether I write this letter daily or not. But I have promised myself this, and until I decide to change that agreement I don’t like the feeling of not fulfilling that promise.

This morning I have woken up early and worked out what day it is (it’s a Sunday) and have sat down to write to you before the day gets underway.

Like normal.

It feels like it is time to come back to this thread.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,118


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I am nature.

I am nature. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I am nature. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Being with nature.

Putting my feet in the grass.

Picking the spent gardenia flowers from the bush, so that more can grow.

Looking at the growth of the Japanese maple leaves.

Seeing the striking red of the feijoa flowers blooming for the first time.

Picking some mint so I can bring the bright aroma into the house with me.

Being with nature?

Yes. It's my only option.

I am nature.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,106

The dancer.

The dancer. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The dancer. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

We watched a film last night called ‘the dancer’ about the artist Loie Fuller.

She was a dancer who changed the way we view movement and the body.

She was a fierce pioneer who forged a path as an independent woman at a time when that was a long way from what was expected of women.

I’ve known about her work since I studied as a dancer at University.

But I had never seen any footage of her actual dance.

It is breath taking. Even now. With all the amazing effects and trickery we have access to…Loie did a simple astounding thing. She created a flowing dress that she inserted sticks into the arms of and she drew pictures in the air by moving her arms (and body) through space. The effect is like some outrageous, mesmerising sea creature. She was also at the forefront of using lighting, mirrors and stage craft to create dramatic effects.

When I watched this fictionalised version of her life and this dance last night I was very moved. I fell in love with dance again. I think I realised why it is so important to me.

Around the turn of the century (when the 1800’s became the 1900’s) human beings reinvented themselves by redefining their relationship with the body. Women were the major pioneers at this time. Mable Todd, Loie Fuller, and all of the body practitioners and artists who followed them, asked questions about how movement worked and began to challenge the clothing that contained the body and stopped it from moving in its natural ways.

It was a rediscovery.

An attempt to undo the damage that was done through ‘progress’.

Watching this film I saw how political the body is. And how these contemporary pioneers of movement, reacting against the restrictions and anti-gravity aspirations of the ballet, were changing the language of human movement in a way that laid the foundation for the freedom I now benefit from.

I was moved, and very grateful.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,054

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