immer mündlicher und königlicher

Went to meet a friend in the Orangery in Kensington Gardens and made an effort to get there early, on my bicycle. It was a damp, cold January afternoon and the air was full of inhalable memories of schooldays and cycle rides home through gathering darknesses.

I chained up my bike and went to sit on the peeling wooden slats of a cast-iron bench. I got out my notebook. I got out my camera. I took a few shots for this. And then I stopped.

I realised that I’d been getting myself all antsy about ‘capturing the moment’ (capture being such an aptly constrictive verb). I’d veered off to the scratchy filing cabinets of the thinking mind: trying to capture and translate the damp, pink cold into pictures, into thoughts, aperçus.

Instead I just sat and breathed cold air. Noticed how much hassle I had been giving myself until a few seconds previously. Remembered things that raced up to the surface of memory. Watched people looking at me, rollerblading past or cycling in wobbling swoops. Just sat. Felt the untranslatable thinginess of that particular afternoon in that particular park.

gapingvoid is a staggeringly good blog with some caffeine-like advice about creativity. And one of Hugh McLeod’s many wisdoms is about hiving off all external voices and only listening to the little voice that wants to play with crayons.

In this category of external voices, I would add the ‘internalized external voice’: the one that says, ‘you should be making money/ finding a niche in the market/ YOU SHOULD BE DOING MORE.’

As Hugh says, as long as you have something to say, then everything else falls into place.

Now, all I have to do is still the nattering inner voice that says: what do you want to say?

Did eventually get up and take photos of the swans. One of which I love.


  1. David Moore

    January 9, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Alistair, I’ve been lurking on and reading your blog for… hm, I really don’t know how long. And I’ve always enjoyed reading your thoughts and viewing your incredible photos.

    And since I’m enjoying yet another combination of insight and sight (through the eye of your camera), I figure it’s high time that I said “Thank you.” Good stuff.



  2. Nonplussed

    January 10, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    A wonderful picture.
    I’m not sure that you should be doing more but you should be creating more…
    the market can only exploit that which your creativity produces.

  3. Lucy

    January 15, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I like and recognise the mood of this piece. And I love the swans.

  4. Jocko

    January 19, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Mmmm beautiful and soothing, thank you, enjoy your
    writing and photography.

  5. Vicky

    June 27, 2008 at 1:14 am

    … INDIVIDUUM = human creature with balanced portions
    of thought and feeling within his flesh-shape.
    NON divisible somato-spiritual being.
    Why.. Al… you seem (at least to me..) still concerned.
    Too much attention for the outside.. world.
    You are PERFECT, go on.. The next occupation is a
    whole-hearted intention to worry ONLY about your talent.
    Express.. yourself!!! without constant reminding of the
    desire-orientations you have. You have any right to desire
    whatever you like. No one amoung mortals can blame ..the
    greek GIANTminds for anything. Think of your talent ONLY

Leave a Reply