Friday, February 05, 2010

No More Words For A While

I used to be lunatic from the gracious days.
I used to be woebegone and so restless nights.
My aching heart would bleed for you to see,

Oh, but now...
No More I Love Yous, Annie Lennox
It came upon me slowly, a faint shadow at the edge of my awareness.
Over weeks, the shadow deepened and settled around me, a leaden pall that obscured all light. I woke each morning with the weight of it stifling every breath. It was summer but I felt as cold as death.
I've made no secret of my disordered moods. When I was young, I self-medicated myself into a drowsy, depressive surrender but nothing – including trying to starve myself in between binging on pills, alcohol, and cocaine – quite did the trick.
The swings between agitated highs and pit-dark lows became more frequent and precipitous when I got older. Prescription drugs and sporadic bouts of therapy enabled me to work and although I imposed on myself strict routines and disciplines – with an almost obsessive, monastic vigour – they were too new to withstand the battering when, often, my unruly psyche busted loose from my control.
It sometimes took months to quell it again. The effort wore me out. It also affected my health. Already weakened by my insistence on working unencumbered and unprotected in the carcinogenic miasma of high-gloss enamel, my immune system gave up the ghost just before Christmas. I was able to muster neither the energy nor the inspiration to finish several new works.
I'd been in bed for a week, crying, coughing and hearing odd voices when friends intervened. They convinced me that I should admit myself to in-patient care. My accountant organised the paperwork while my mother arranged transport and cleaners for my house. The one room in which I was holed up was about as fetid as a city dump.
I have been in a clinic in Sydney for nearly a week, in a sparsely furnished but not unpleasant private room. I have a few books and some art materials. I can get a reasonable cappuccino from the café in the clinic's lobby.
What more can I say? I'm resigned to the likelihood that the process of becoming well again might take some time.


DK said...

Heartfelt best wishes to you x

Rachel said...

My thoughts are with you! I hope you get well soon. You are such a beautiful soul :-)

Anonymous said...

Sending positive vibes and good wishes your way.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

it's unfortunate that this happens. i hope that you get your balance back when you can.

TheBaboon said...

All the best - your well-being comes first.

Carolyn Ann Pappas said...

I'm glad that you are getting some help and perhaps this will allow you to recharge. I hope you feel better soon.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

Sending you strenght and courage and healing. Let it happen.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

Many around the world are sending you strength, and courage, and healing

JenXer said...

Thanks for the update; I've been really worried. I wish you the best in your recovery.

Matt said...

I've just recently discovered you, recently been drawn into your art and world. Your strength has always been apparent to me. Keep your dancing spirit alive.

bean said...

hang in there hazel...big doses of happy and hope for you.

Mona said...

Stay well!

Sarah Marie Lacy said...

Thinking of you, sending good wishes and various other cheesy, but well meant feelings. :)

Been worried about you.

Princess Rashid said...

Hazel, take all the time you need. Your health is most important. I'm thinking of you and sending positive energy your way.

Gretchen Kelly said...

wow - intense-
I am sending soothing healing energy to your soul-

Angela Hunt/Hunt Press said...

Please take all the time you need to get well. Having a broken brain of my own, I know how difficult it can be to manage.

From the bottom of my heart, feel better soon.

ABCcreativity said...

you have incredible strength, character and spirit. i knowthis will support you in healing and recovery.

eszter said...

I wish you all the best,health and happiness!

mondotrasho said...

Apples she'll be. ~m

Tosha said...

your post has brought many and myself immense comfort to know that you are well and on your way to recovery. keep your wits about you hazel!

Kate said...

So pleased to hear this Hazel.
I have been concerned.
Sounds like it's been really rough.
Rest, recover and recharge now.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to get plenty of sponge baths while you're there! (You'd pay a pretty penny for that service in a private spa so go for it!)

Aaron B. Brown said...

"No More I love Yous" was Suzie's song back in the 90s, she really loved it, and I connected everything that happened between us to that song. It touches an intimate place within me that is reserved only for her, for years it would make me cry whenever I heard it.

The song will always have a special place in my heart, and if I ever run into Annie Lennox I will give her a big kiss and cry all over her for writing it. Annie is an amazing artist.

Annie Lennox - No more I love yous

I'm soooo glad you reached out to your friends and family, and I'm so glad you're safe and looked after. I wouldn't want anything to happen to you. You're young and life has good things in store for you Hazel, I promise.

Be well, take care.

sue beyer said...

hope you are feeling better soon

Debra said...

Another bump in the road of life, but please know that we'll be waiting for you on the other side, reading you, being inspired by you, and also living your pain with you.

Wishing you courage and strength on this journey, Hazel.

Dave said...

It takes a lot of strength to keep going. It takes even more to admit when you need help. You have people pulling for you around the world. Take it one day at a time. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

ponor said...

I really hope you feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

Hazel. Be still. Peace and strength.

So you want to be a writer by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.
and there never was.

Anonymous said...

You are my hope.

Your art and your writings have given me hope beyond explanation.

When everything else fails, just hang on. Just hang on.
That's hope, right?

You are my hope.
There is strength and recovery all within you. It is.
You just need some time to unleash it.

You are my hope. :)

Sean Beard said...

Good Luck!

Hugh said...

here's to you, get better



Patti Trostle Fine Art said...

Wishing you all the best. I hope you recover very soon!

Patti Trostle Fine Art said...

My thoughts are with you and I do hope you get better very soon!

Mandy Muse said...

I always wonder, as someone who also walks along the edge and sometimes falls in, whether the lows are the price I pay for the highs. Mostly, it's worth it. I'm glad you've got a soft landing this time around.

faunawolf said...

It seems to be a theme to send well-wishing and post something meant to be profound, meaningful or supportive in a way which might assist.

I can't say what I've got to offer is much different. I began following your blog a few months back when my Psychologist mentioned you for the umpteenth time and I realised she was right, you were an excellent role model.

In following your blog I've discovered a lot about self definition and motivation and gained a great deal of motivation from the way in which you spur yourself forward.

I suspect it is the nature of the beast that those with a need to create also seem to suffer from a great deal of mental instability. I am no stranger to it, hence the fact that I see a psychologist regularly. But I don't think it's the faith other have in us that will ensure our success in recovery.

It's the faith we have in ourselves and the passion we have for the life we've got, not the life we wish we had, which keeps us going.

I used Gouache for the first time today. I thought of you whilst I painted flowers and fairies with smooth strokes of the brush. And then I thought I wanted to read your blog, which I haven't for about a week.

I'm glad I did. And I hope you are able to remember your own strength and ability to survive.

Anonymous said...

That is very powerful and wise that you sought help.

Wishing you recovery and resurgence and all will happen in its own time.

Heal and be well


Indigene said...

There is light in the abyss, it's just that we walk through many detours to get there. I know, because I am there, often. I wish you the best as we all hold you in the light, dear one.

Ryan said...

Wishing you well Hazel. Thank you for your art.

Enter Miles said...

the weatehr allways clears after a heavy storm. Allways. Just lower your sails for a while and then go back on course. Best whishes,
Peter - Rio de Janeiro

gapingvoid said...

Big Love, Hazel! Get well soon!

Hugh @gapingvoid

Mike Wood said...

"Compared to any medical treatment or cure, the Six Syllables [Om Mani Padme Hum] are the strongest remedy against sickness and evil."
-- Guru Rinpoche

Now while I can't say other things won't work for you too, I am here and not there. So I will kick out a few Buddhist shout outs today for you, Hazel.

Be well.

terra210 said...

I hope you will feel the strength to navigate in broader ranges soon. I enjoy your artistic travels and look forward to what will emerge later.

Anonymous said...

I wish you a full recovery. One day at a time. Easy does it. Take care.

karo Akpokiere said...

Hazel, You have inspired me much with your life and I pray for you to get well soon. Stay strong. Thank you.

nakedpastor said...

Thinking of you. Get well.

PROZAC said...

I always find that the best writing always emerges from the toughest circumstances.

nathe said...

Loving thoughts and best wishes Hazel x

Mr. Kim Guthrie said...


I'm new here, my partner Lisa Adams (painter) put me on to your blog we've been familiar with your work for some years. Since that outback trip with Larwill etc. We live in Cooroy, Queensland. Met your mum and her partner when they lived her and visited them once I think it was. Anyway it has been refreshing to read an honest account of a fellow artist's experiences. Best wishes with your health and please have a look at my blog and send me a message if you wish

kind regards


Zoe Tan said...

take care! many blessings :)

Lisa Byrne said...

Hang in there. Don't give up. Love you.

Di said...

I just discovered your art and your blog tonight ... and after reading for a long while, I wanted to wish you well as you heal.

Thank you for thinking out loud here on the blog, it seems generous and I couldn't help but appreciate it.

Julie Levesque said...

Art heals all... hopes for your quick recovery.

The Vamp Aesthetic said...

I'm taking St. John's Wort for my mood swings. It seems to be helping a alot. I'm in therapy as well, avoiding meds and finding beautiful inspiration in music, particularly, Claude Debussy's "Reverie" and Andrew Bird's "Anonanimal".

dig your way out.

Ginny said...

Wishing you well Hazel, hang in there.

matt sutton said...

Dear Hazel, my heart and best wishes are with you. Rest up, be well. kind regards, Matt Sutton.

Jane E Porter said...

Hi Hazel, I hope you are feeling better and are being gentle with yourself.
I too have a tormented soul and have been in some very dark places. Is that what makes us artists?
I'm sending you warm wishes and lots of light.
Jane x

Sarah said...

Dear Hazel,
My heartfelt thoughts are with you. I love your artworks and ideas. I admire the courage with which you express your soul. At the moment I empathise deeply with how you feel, for me these words help …
“Dream, dream, dream!
You will never
Have time to suffer
From despair.”

AV Flox said...

I send you my warmest wishes. May you heal fully and come out of this full of vigor and inspiration. We'll keep the internet warm for you. You take care of you.

(I'm here through Hugh MacLeod, who turned me onto your stuff. You're adored.)

Aaron B. Brown said...

Eve Ensler: Embrace your inner girl


Aaron B. Brown said...

JR / Exposition Paris 2009 - Ile Saint Louis

"Having presented his portraits of women in Brazil, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, India, Belgium, Britain and other countries, JR is showing the whole of his «Women» exhibition for the first time."

Marnie B said...

I wish you well. Keep being brave.

Annie Paul said...

love and warm feelings from the Caribbean! Time is the best prescription right now...take lots of it...

Aaron B. Brown said...

Who Needs the Whitney? They Have Their Own Show

"The word these days is that it’s impossible for artists to take an effective critical position outside the socioeconomic system called the art world. The system is all-encompassing. It absorbs all resistance. The very notion of alternative anything is a romantic illusion.

This means that if your defining goal is to change that system — open it up, tangle its wiring, expose its codes — you have to work from within: but really work, take what you find and seriously do something to it to make it your own."


Shell said...

All the best for a full recovery.

Aaron B. Brown said...

Banksy interview

Can street art ever be shown in a gallery?

'I don't know if street art ever really works indoors. If you domesticate an animal, it goes from being wild and free to sterile, fat and sleepy. So maybe the art should stay outside. Then again, some old people get a lot of comfort from having a pet around the house.

So you want your art to be preserved for the nation?

'It's impossible to predict which paintings will last and which won't. In New Orleans I painted on a dilapidated shop in a street littered with abandoned cars and rotting mattresses, then two hours later the piece was gone. It turned out I'd picked the side of a crack house and the proprietor didn't like the attention.

'The one thing you can rely on is if you get disturbed halfway through a painting and it looks a bit naff, then someone will preserve that piece, remove it and a few months later it'll be paraded round Sotheby's by people wearing white gloves.'

Neo said...

hope you are recovering well. :)

someone once said, "what doesn't kill you only MAKES YOU STRONGER." (emphasis added)

fogbound said...

Hazel, take your time, absorb the peace and calm, focus on your well-being. You have the support, concern and prayers of many behind you. You will be well, whole and productive again. Thanks for keeping us posted.

jerry shawback said...

wishing you all the best know that
nothing ever stays the same

Ithili said...

Yours has always been the only blog I really read. Glad you are ok. Been in a similiar place of mind and so I Thank you very sincerely for getting through. It all goes into the pot.

Aaron B. Brown said...

Billy Childish proves he exists

“there’s a desire to meet somebody who is really doing something”, that is, actually painting rather than exercising the shallow conceits of the conceptual artists.

Melissa said...

wishing you the absolute best and a peaceful recovery with moments of joy. i've had to spend quite a bit of time recovering myself. the process of healing can be a bitch, but in my experience coming out a little more whole with more space for joy is worth the rest. be gentle and patient with yourself and honor your courage. :)