Monday, March 29, 2021

It takes time, and trust, to accept change

To follow on from the last post of letting go of my studio,  I have to say that ‘it’ all makes sense in the end. (It always does...)

Work in progress on scrapbook-cover
From the comfort of my day-bed in my ‘new’ (studio) room

But first of all: Thank you for those of you who reached out and shared their thoughts on the continued changes illness demands. Also interesting to hear and read how, yes, these changes are incredibly hard, but that it is my strength to not shy away from them. That I don’t ‘freeze’. That I go along with these changes.

True. And thank you. But boy are these changes hard on the soul.


Long time ago

I have to admit that my OT (Occupational Therapist) suggested in early 2018 that maybe I should bring my studio indoors. She was not the only one who suggested this. But at that time I just couldn’t imagine how this could be done. There was so much stuff in my studio. How on earth could I bring this in and not totally clutter up my lovely home. I wasn’t ready.

As you read, I did make many changes over the years. Maybe that is what I needed to do. One tiny (or big) step at the time. Nuggets of change. Trying to go with the flow- although I ‘swam against the tide’ as much as I possible could. 

Yes - I remain stubborn.

So now - March 2021.

I have to admit that the move to bring the very much reduced selection of art and craft materials indoors was right. During the sorting out it was paper and some fabric which got my attention. I did save some paints too, but not sure yet why. When it came to the box of puppet eyes and hair for some reason there was “No Way!” I could let these go. The reason? I haven’t the foggiest idea!


What makes me admit that the move of having a (reduced) studio in my room where the ‘day-bed’ is was right thing to do, is the fact that I can do a tiny bit of something creative most days. While comfy on this bed.



Photo album-scrapbook

Over the past while I have started to sort photos (again). And I like cutting paper. These two activities combined made me cut up photos. Both I can do while in bed, on recliner or on my day-bed. 

I am hoping over the coming year (leading up to my 60th) to make collages from these photo cuttings. I decided to do this on A3 heavy good quality watercolour paper. In landscape format as they fit perfectly on my over-bed and over-chair tables. (One has to remain practical). 


After a lot of thinking and planning, I came up with the idea to adapt an Lever-arch folder to hold the sheets. With help from friend Pascale this was created two weeks ago. And how lovely it was to have a creative person here to help me, versus just carers coming in. (No offence to carers!) A bit of normality. (Keeping Covid restrictions and precautions in place of course.)



My brains, combined with her brains and ability, the basis for the cover was made. The possible covering for this has already seen many a change: from red leather to handmade paper, to fabric, to adding a photo, to adding the wooden tree from the shadow puppetry time, to embroidery...


Positives 

This process of thinking is so incredibly useful to divert the draining energy around ongoing care issues and decline in health. As always I find it so powerful to be able to focus the mind to something positive and constructive. It still takes energy, but is more balanced in a way.


Having access to some fabric, scissors, treads, paper, etc etc in my ‘day-bed-room’, dare I call it my new ‘studio’?, makes it possible to do just a little bit of trying out at various times during the day. This would Not have happened if my material was still in the real studio. There! My OT and others were right all along. I just needed time to get there...



So, watch this space to see what will come of this photo-album-scrapbook-cover, and inners.




Bonus

What is also very beautiful is that my idea to do this project has inspired two other creatives along the way. One fellow creative whom I had initially asked to make the cover for me and my friend Pascale. The significance for me is that I truly thought my creative mind had ‘died’. That I had reached the point of being unable to access it. It hasn’t. And am very grateful for that.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Letting go of my studio


A deja-vu moment 

... as two years (2001?) or so into the illness I also de-constructed a studio. A small amount of art materials were saved and stored in boxes in the shed of my new home. Over the years they came out when I became able to sculpt again, and later do art projects with the kids in my street.


Move forwards a decade or so and once again I had a fully fledged studio in the garden of my (again) new home. It was/is a thing of beauty. (See photo at bottom of page)


With help I made this puppet-hospital bed for the 
‘Invisible Octopus’ project. (2019)
A year later my day-bed was put at this spot in my studio.

It was a place for me to create - to be in the garden and close to the birds. My ever inspiration. Many a sculpture and puppets were created - all at twenty minutes at the time. Each piece taking months to make. But I had time.


2016-2018

After facilitating the ‘Life Outside the Box’ puppet project I started teaching in my studio. A place where stories were created and shared. I am looking back at this time with great privilege and gratitude. 

The last class of three students finished in early 2018. After this I moved to online teaching. When supporting my students online was no longer possible either the course is now accessible as self directed course. Sharing decades of learning, with videos recorded in my studio.


One of my student’s work (Lorraine Shanahan) 
Trying out a Mohican hairstyle 


2019

In 2019 I had to acknowledge that my studio wasn’t so accessible for me anymore. My dear friend Heike reconfigured the space and we did a good clear out. That same year I received a mentoring bursary from Arts & Disability Ireland to explore how I could still tell my story creatively. ‘Invisible Octopus’ was the result.


With mentor Emma Fisher
(and Aram who did some film trials) in my studio
Before studio was reconfigured in 2019

However I was only in the studio - in this beautiful place - when I had practical support. I could not make what my mind designed. I was never in my studio on my own. 


A tidy and more accessible space.

2020

Last summer I very symbolically sold my work table and again (with carer/PA) did a further clear out. A reconfiguring of space. I now had a day-bed by the window. A place to rest instead of create, The space did retain its creative feel. My puppets, dolls and other people’s artworks were all around me. I was granted some beautiful moments of being part of my garden from the comfort of this bed.



The table gone - a day-bed in its place


But it wasn’t always safe for me to take the few steps to the studio. Two steps down from my kitchen door - about 7 to the next easy steps. At times I couldn’t get up off the bed. Also I realised that the place was too cold during autumn and winter.


The most recent re-configuring (2021)

Taking into account that I am less mobile and spending more time horizontally, a big BIG decision was made to move the day-bed into front room of my home.


The studio had its biggest clear out yet of art and craft books, and most materials. Even my puppets and dolls were brought into the house, and are now stored away. (Will share their stories one day - for now see Instagram)


A work in progress.
Seeing this broke my heart, but at the same time is ok...


The ‘right-ness’ and ‘odd-ness’

The good thing is that lots of materials have found other creative minds, young and ‘old’. At least they are being used! The very mixed emotion is that it is kind of ok to clear my space (I like the sorting), but at the same time sitting in this deconstructed space makes me cry. It feels too ‘odd’. Thinking about it makes me swallow rather hard. It is tough. It is an other letting go. Another acknowledgment that illness is very much in control.


New creative space?

Very few art materials survived the culling and are now in the same space as my day-bed. This space has also seen a major transformation, from study (where my books were created) to a space where I did my shadow puppetry last year, to a place of rest. My ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ room, as one carer calls it is also a place where I can eat in silence and not be around the inevitable noises of the kitchen. (Story for another day)


I have no idea if I will use any of the saved art materials but it does feel good to hang on to the possibility. 


The studio space... my garden room... is in the process to being cleaned properly. The paintings will remain on the wall. Maybe it will be a place where I can have my lunch some days. Who knows.


It is ok, and it is very very ‘odd’.


The remainder of my art materials.
A studio in a few baskets.


My studio (photo from before the garden
 makeover two years ago)







Monday, March 1, 2021

Early retirement?

 My dear friends

I am playing around with little ‘Paper-me’ used
in the shadow puppetry, but without the projector. Just ‘raw’, as it is.

Thank you for stopping by at my blog. A friend alerted me that I hadn’t entered any post since the 7th February. I do have thoughts about writing, but often they don’t get past my own brain or at most into my personal diary.


The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster of sorts again. With help from many hands and minds I made great progress to letting go of my books, art prints and postcards. As well as the work created for the exhibition, which never really was.


It is good to let go


Many books went to charities and organisation looking after the ill. Including ‘Jack and Gill’ foundation, local care home and the Irish ME Trust. 

I received some beautiful heartwarming emails and orders from all over the world.

It brings great joy to know what my words, images and thoughts have been set free from closed boxes and into the hearts and minds of many.


Thank you all


The online bookshop will close on the 10th March 2021. Of some books I only have few copies left, so if you like to avail of the almost no cost books, and Art Packs, please see my SHOP page 


The page to book the puppet making course will remain live after this date.


Thoughts


Last night in bed I thought about the reality of my current situation: being more depended on care, and finding it quite a challenge. Since my care was moved to a new agency, there are a lot of different carers coming in, sometimes three in the one day. 

I have to admit that the inconsistency of care led to a big struggle to ‘keep it all together’. Much more is asked of me than I am able to give. I have sought support on how to deal with this. Including from Greg and Linda Crowhurst, from Stonebird, who wrote this excellent document partly inspired by our communication. Their Carers book for people with severe and very severe ME is on the counter in my kitchen. 


Old sculptures and puppets


In dealing with the reality of a decline in health and the immense need to make life simpler, the clearing out continues. When I am able for it I ask my carers to bring in my sculptures and puppets in from the cold unused studio. It is actually quite an emotional journey to connect with my works, some created nearly 50 years ago. Some more recent, but with a much bigger story to tell me...


Reconnecting with ‘Johnny Dwyer’ from ‘Life Outside the Box’
He told me he had NO intention to go back into his box...
A great dilemma for me.



One day I will document their stories here, but for now I have written short thoughts on my Instagram page. Please head over there if you can? www.Instagram.com/corinaduyn 


Some of the older works are ‘up for adoption’. Please enquire if one gets your fancy (as shared on Instagram page). I am hoping to build up a fund for future care needs from these sales.



Creatively - I have taken early retirement. On health grounds

That thought made me giggle last night, as for the past 22 years my art was mostly about the state of living with illness... The challenges, the hopes, the fears and moments of gratitude.


During the sorting of materials from my studio, it is paper which gets my most attention. I will play with this notion for a while. Play. The all important word: Play. Having fun. Bringing ease.


Will try to check in here again.

Thank you for joining me.


Much love and stay well and stay in touch, please.


Corina (1st March 2021)


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Thank you

 My dear, dear friends.

I hope this finds you all well in this utterly strange time. 
Life is ever changing. Life is never linear. But who would have imagined a year ago that the world would change beyond recognition. For me personally, in the strangeness of life with chronic illness, not a whole lot has changed. At least not in the way of being housebound. That simply continued as before Covid. However, unfortunately my health has taking another bit out of my life and I am making changes accordingly. Life is never linear.

As some of you are aware, last year I explored the art of shadow puppetry. This proved to be an amazingly accessible art form. I didn’t require any practical help to create. What a beautiful revelation. I could make a world in miniature by cutting a little ‘paper-me’ as well as the birds and the tree in my garden. Projection them (using an overhead projector) onto the opposite wall brought me and others into regions of my mind I had not yet explored. Over time I edited the ‘Invisible Octopus’ poem and created a very short video-poem, the shadow images as illustrations.



“Here is a poem, a story, an animation, of a life triumphant under the weight of a debilitating illness M.E., of a woman whose words are her lifeline, an inspiration to others.” Dolores Ronayne, Poet.



SEE MY ‘POEM’ PAGE FOR POEM, IMAGES, VIDEOS AND LINKS TO ARTICLES AND PODCAST RELATED TO ‘INVISIBLE OCTOPUS’.



These images were also part of an exhibition - which never really was due to Covid. Art about isolation - in isolation ... See video of the exhibition on the POEM page.


Since this time I have not really been able to have access to my creative mind. I think this will return in some shape or form after I make further changes to my lived environment and adapt to new care support.




SIMPLICITY


I have a great desire to make life much simpler. It is a need, not just a desire.

As part of this process I sorting through my collected books, course material, writing files etc etc. But also sorting through my own published books, prints, cards and bookmarks. This led to the decision to greatly reduce my online shop. 


As part of this my remaining books are now available by paying for postage cost only (or as some people are kindly doing - adding a small donation of their choice - how beautiful.)


The cards and prints etc are available as ‘Art Packs’ which have an eclectic mix of material - each pack being different. Currently I have 12 general ‘Art Packs’ packs left, and 6 of the ‘Invisible Octopus Art Packs. All at hugely reduced costs.


ALL CAN BE ORDERED FROM MY WEBSITE 



THANK YOU


I am indebted by the huge support I have received over the two decades (and more) to enable my creative mind to voice the challenges, joys and moments of gratitude of life with illness. Support from friends, family and the general public. But also from funding institutions, whom have been more than generous in their encouragements as well as financial support. 

My deepest gratitude.



FUTURE


I am sure I will find some way to continue to use my voice. To tell my story.  But again to make life simpler for me, I have decided to go back to my Blog writing, instead of creating email content/ and longer Facebook post. I would like to ask those of you who’d like to stay up to date on my ‘adventures’ to sign up for Blog updates.


You can do so by visiting the web version of this Blog https://corinaduyn.blogspot.com which will show a sign up option on the right hand side of the screen. (On a mobile device, scroll down to the bottom and click on ‘view web version’.)


Many, many thanks for being such an important part of my journey. I can not thank you enough.


Much love to you all


Corina

February 2021


Monday, November 9, 2020

‘Invisible Octopus’ translated into four languages

 

With the help of  kind friends my ‘Invisible Octopus’ Poem has been translated into four language: Spanish, German, Dutch and French.  Scroll down for:

 

  • “Pulpo Invisible” translated by Myli Pincheira V.  
  • Unsichtbarer Oktopus”  translated by Heike Chlebosz 
  • “Onzichtbare Octopus” vertaald met ondersteuning van Els Pieters
  •  “Pieuvre Invisible” translated by Marie-Annick Desplanques 

 


Limited edition poem booklet, prints, and greeting cards (suitable for framing) 

are available from https://www.corinaduyn.com/site/poem/


Invisible Octopus 

by Corina Duyn 

 

The reality of life 

with the unpronounceable illness 

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

is hidden and fragile


M.E. as Invisible Octopus 

acting as puppeteer 

keeping me upright 

or making me stumble at will 


inflicting pain 

challenging my brain 

its crushing weight

taking my breath away


Rosie cheeks

looking well they say

summer is coming

happy thoughts will cure you


I live in a disbelieving world

my reality 

trivialised

dismissed 


My full time carers

witness Octopus’ destruction 

for others I simply disappear

into the shadows


I am just one in this worldwide

community of hermits

where freedom of movement

is no longer a right


Transcending gravity

I fly among the birds

Their beauty and harmony

uplifting and strengthening 


After a short flight 

Octopus attacks

Pinning me down 

immobilised 


each moment is a death 

Breathe

...

Each moment is a living


Finding peace in my solitude

I observe the dance of the trees

There is movement 

in stillness


My creative mind

the visible thread

throughout this twenty-two-year long story

Transforming pain into poetry


 



Pulpo Invisible
Por Corina Duyn - Translated by Myli Pincheira V.


La realidad de una vida

con la impronunciable enfermedad 

Encefalomielitis Miálgica

es frágil y oculta


E.M como Pulpo Invisible

actúa cual titiritero

me mantiene erguida

o bien tambaleando a su antojo


infringiendo dolor

desafía a mi cerebro

su demoledor peso

me deja sin respiro


Mejillas Rosa

luces bien dicen ellos

Se acerca ya el verano

pensar positivo te curará


Vivo en un mundo que no comprende 

mi realidad

trivializada

dejada a un lado


Mis cuidadores de tiempo completo 

testigos de la destrucción de El Pulpo

Para otros yo simplemente 

desaparezco entre las sombras


Soy tan solo una más 

en esta aldea global de ermitaños 

donde la libertad de movimiento 

ya no es un derecho


Trascendiendo la gravedad

vuelo entre los pájaros

Su belleza y armonía

me alientan y fortalecen


Luego de un breve vuelo

Pulpo ataca

Acorrala

inmoviliza


cada momento es una muerte

Respiro

Cada momento es vida


Encuentro paz estando a solas

observo el danzar de los árboles

Hay movimiento 

en la quietud


Mi mente creativa

hilo conductor 

de estos extensos veintidós años de historia 

Transformando el dolor en poesía


 


Limited edition poem booklet, prints, and greeting cards (suitable for framing) 


Unsichtbarer Oktopus 
Corina Duyn - translated by Heike Chlebosz

 

Die Realität des Lebens
mit der unaussprechlichen Krankheit
Myalgische Enzephalomyelitis
ist zerbrechlich und nicht sichtbar

 

M.E als Unsichtbarer Oktopus

agierend als Puppenspieler

der mich stehen

der mich fallen lässt


Der Schmerz zuführt

herausfordert

dessen erdrückende Last

mir die Luft zum Atmen nimmt


Rote Bäckchen so wie Rosie 

Gut ausschauend sagen Sie         

Der Sommer kommt 

alles wird gut glaub nur 


Aber in meiner Welt glaubt man nicht

Meine Realität

trivialisiert

ignoriert 


Mein Pflegepersonal sieht 

was der Oktopus anrichtet

Für die anderen 

verschwinde ich im Schatten


Ich bin nur eine unter vielen 

in dieser weltweiten Gemeinschaft von Einsiedlern

die das Recht verloren haben

sich frei zu bewegen


Die Schwerkraft ausser Kraft setzend

fliege ich mit den Vögeln

ihre Schönheit und Harmonie

stärkend und schön


Nach einem kurzen Flug nur

greift Oktopus an

fixiert 

immobilisiert mich


Jeder Moment ist tödlich 

Atme

...

Jeder Moment bedeutet Leben


Frieden findend mit meinem Dasein

schaue ich den Bewegungen der Bäume zu

In der Stille

liegt Bewegung


Meine Kreativität

der rote Faden

der sich durch diese zweiundzwanzig Jahre lange Geschichte zieht

verwandelt Schmerz zu Poesie 

 


Still from the studio visit based around the poem:https://youtu.be/QyQJ28K_RdY


Onzichtbare Octopus  

Corina Duyn vertaald met ondersteuning van Els Pieters


De realiteit van het leven

met de onuitspreekbare ziekte

Myalgische Encefalomyelitis

is verborgen en kwetsbaar


ME als Onzichtbare Octopus

fungerend als marionettenspeler

houdt me rechtop

of laat mij struikelen wanneer hij wil


veroorzaakt pijn

manipuleert mijn hersenen

zijn verpletterende gewicht

beneemt mij de adem          


Rozige wangen                

je ziet er goed uit zeggen ze

de zomer komt eraan

positieve gedachten zullen je genezen


Ik leef in een sceptische wereld

mijn realiteit

gebagatelliseerd

verstoten         


Mijn fulltime verzorgers

zijn getuigen van Octopus’ vernietigingskracht

voor anderen verdwijn ik

in de schaduw


Ik ben er slechts één van deze wereldwijde 

gemeenschap van kluizenaars

waar bewegingsvrijheid

niet langer een recht is


De zwaartekracht overstijgend

vlieg ik tussen de vogels

Hun schoonheid en harmonie

verheffend en versterkend


Na een korte vlucht

valt Octopus aan

Haalt me neer

verplettert me


Elk moment is sterven

Ademen

...

Elk moment is leven


Vrede vindend in mijn alleen-zijn    

observeer ik de dans van de bomen

Er is beweging

in de stilte


Mijn creatieve geest

de zichtbare draad

tijdens dit al tweeëntwintig jaar durende verhaal

Pijn omgezet in pure poëzie






Limited edition poem booklet, prints, and greeting cards (suitable for framing) 



Pieuvre Invisible 
par Corina Duyn 
Translated by Marie-Annick Desplanques 



La réalité de la vie

avec la maladie imprononçable

Encéphalomyélite  Myalgique

est cachée et fragile


E.M. comme Pieuvre Invisible 

agissant comme marionnettiste 

me gardant debout 

ou me faisant trébucher à son gré 


infligeant la douleur
défiant mon cerveau

son poids écrasant

à me couper le souffle


Les joues rosies

vous vont bien disent ils

c’est l’été qui arrive

les pensées positives vous guériront


Je vis dans un monde incrédule

ma réalité 

banalisée

écartée 


Mes soignants à temps plein

constatent la destruction de Pieuvre

pour d’autres je disparais tout simplement

dans l’ombre


Je ne suis que l’une de cette communauté 

mondiale d’ermites

où la liberté de mouvement

n’est désormais plus un droit



Transcendant la gravité

Je vole parmi les oiseaux

Leur beauté et leur harmonie

exaltantes et tonifiantes

Après un court vol 

Pieuvre attaque 

M’épinglant à terre

immobilisée


chaque instant est une mort 

Respire

...

Chaque instant est une vie


Trouvant la paix dans ma solitude

J’observe la danse des arbres

Il y a du mouvement 

dans l’immobilité


Mon esprit créatif

le fil visible

de cette histoire de vingt-deux ans

Transformant la douleur en poésie



©️Corina Duyn 2020 https://www.corinaduyn.com/site/poem/