“What Does Freedom Mean?”

I had an excellent plan yesterday for this week’s blog posts. I had woken up in a state of nervous anxiety in the realisation that I had to finish my little book of drawings over the next five days because I have a seriously huge painting installation project to do for an arts festival all next week. So it’s busy, busy, busy, and I thought to lessen the pressure on the well of creativity I would simple adopt every day the WordPress suggestion du jour.

I felt it might be amusing to take up some of the particularly batty ideas which are so far removed from even this eclectic blog, and find a way to make them relevant.

Then I opened up the topic suggestion for today, and had to look twice. I was expecting something along the lines of: Write about a day you got out of bed on the wrong side. If you never get out of bed on the wrong side, imagine what it would be like.

It was not to be. This morning’s offering was: What does Freedom mean? I groaned out loud. Big stuff. Meaning of Life stuff. Was this a serious topic for the Postaday2011 fraternity? Was this a sensible idea for a post of between 300-500 words?

Asking that question of an ex-lawyer who overthinks the whole of life is calling for a thesis rather than a Postaday2011 blog entry. I have a simple retort, of course. I can seek refuge in my answer to every question involving contemporary society: It’s all relative. Whether we talk in terms of hard fact or abstract theory, my freedom is always going to be a relative question.

This week I am not free. I am chained to my laptop. Next week I am not free. I will be hanging out in pavement cafés doing a grand job of looking as though I have nothing else to do with my life when I will in fact be surreptitiously drawing a local population. When I eventually go away on holiday I will not be free to abandon the family, so it’s lucky that I enjoy their company.

People argue that we are always nonetheless free in our minds. But my mind is far too cluttered to soar free. I wish.

However… cultivating ‘freedom’ (even if it proves illusory or elusive) is possibly one of the most worthwhile thing an artist can do. I work best when I’m unconstrained. Escaping the fetters of ‘ought’ and ‘right’ towards artistic freedom is my daily holy grail. I need constant reminders about this. And so in an instant, all is right with my world in the blogosphere. It was worth taking the time out to screech through this incredibly important question.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll be directed back to the more mundane aspects of life.


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