Plaster statues

Up at 5am two days in a row. It’s just a habit. Sleep is overrated. Sleeping too much worsens my depression. Back then, studying at the university, I had a group assignment. Preparing a documentary about something. We were three girls and there was a lot to do. I was lazy and slept too much. We were on a schedule and I had to get up early in the morning to get things done. We met at the workshop of the plaster maker at the royal museum. They sell reproductions of ancient statues, Michelangelo’s David, stuff like that. It’s skilfully made, professionnal. The shop is full of models, shelves filled with them, full of dust, flowers, birds, fountains, women, children, all stocked inside a huge dimly lit depot. We walked around with our notebooks. I take it all in, wondering if I would like to work there one day. Why not? It’s as good a place as any other. But they are workers, they use their hands. That’s degrading to me. I have been raised an intellectual. I feel superior. I’m too young to be aware of the gap between me and them. I am aware now. They are just as worthy as the richest stock broker. We all use our hands. But we are told that using our brains is the right way to live. Concepts are stronger than objects. Leaders don’t get their hands dirty, they think. That’s how I was raised. Even though I always yearned to use my hands, to draw, paint, sculpt, dig in the dirt, touch all the animals. Be like an animal.

Today I’m finally feeling that using my hands is the ultimate joy. Feeding living meal worms to ducklings, feeding lambs, playing with cats and dogs, ripping out stinging nettles to plant lush grass for the sheep to feed on. Real life. Living for real, not dreaming of living. Doing things not creating concepts and going to philosophy lectures. Always trying to match the words to life. To find an equivalence. The world is a totality of facts. That used to be my creed. I still love the sound of it. It’s still true but also a lie. There is so much more to the world.

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