This will be a first for me, my first blog, hopefully first of many, maybe only a few, depending on success of reception..
I start at the end; always a good thing to grab the tail end of a wild animal, or a dangerous snake, to minimize injury, and nastiness..
"At the end" means, at death, and without sinking into morbidity, I feel I have to open my dialogue with the end game, as it has been such a prevalent feature in my life in recent times..
It seems that 2014 became the year for me where death came to visit on many fronts; for me personally, in the media, in the world.. it feels like death permeates through the pores of society like a bad smell from old clothes..
All my life I have experienced moments of losing people.. Firstly, mostly colleagues during my air force days, and afterwards in civilian aviation, and more recently family.. and friends.. mostly due to aircraft accidents, sometimes cancer, sometimes other unforeseen circumstances..
The loss of my parents in 2000 (my father, Henri) and in 2003 (my mother, Brenda) was traumatic events that I have described before as: the time before, and the time after, and the two times not
being the same times..
2014 came with a bang though.. Despite various deadly aviation accidents, airline crashes, murderous wars across the globe, specifically in the Middle East, in the Ukraine, and other war zones, beheadings on-screen, the killing of RCMP officers locally, I also experienced the loss of two of my best friends, in quick succession..
These things are never our choice, and never easy; on June 21, 2014 I lost my long time primary school friend, Marius, to an unexpected heart attack.. 30 days later, on July 21, another good friend, Marthinus, died, after having suffered from lung cancer for a while..
Why do I dwell here..? ..firstly, because it is necessary to express these mournings, for the therapy it delivers by itself, and the doors it opens to a future of acceptance, although I am not there yet..
But secondly, what I did find was that I had to come up with my own ideas of dealing with the dark Summer of 2014, in ways that I have always known were there, but that I had never well discovered, or never really appreciated..
For me, creativity has become, and has shown itself, to be a strong, but calming treatment..
Of course those around me have carried me through these times, and of course everyone has to deal with their own life challenges, stresses and life dramas.. I am not unique..
But those who know me, know that pencil, paint and wood are my creative outlets, and even at limited production due to work constraints and life responsibilities, creativity is THE outlet, something that I can propose to anyone dealing with loss of family, or friends..
Tying your mind down to the creative process, with it's idea phase, design stages, planning stages, equipment and material acquisitions, and the coming together of paints, woods, canvases, glues, stains onto surfaces, structures, frames and open areas waiting to be covered, formed, or moulded, has a therapeutic value that is completely underestimated at the initial thoughts of "what shall I build?", "what shall I draw?", "what shall I paint?", "What shall I photograph?", "How will it turn out?", "What will it mean?", "What would it look like?"..
so, to my friends out there, and those who are dealing with loss, who are already dabbling in the paints, the wood, the film, the food, and seeing the products of their labour, and to those of you who have not yet discovered the magic of creativity, I say: "Go paint! Go cut! Go sand! Go stain! Go cook! Go photograph! Go draw!
..you will be amazed at how creativity will reward in ways that you could never imagine..