amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

One Thing Too: Ally Fleming



"I struggle with mental illness. As a child and teenager, I picked up a lot of poor coping mechanisms and self-destructive habits. For about ten years, since my most severe depressive episode, I've been trying to undo the damage I've done to myself and learn to channel my symptoms into more useful activities. My urge to obliterate is so deep in me that resisting it sometimes feels like pulling out my own veins. But I'm learning to turn to writing poetry and making vispo/photo art in my most painful moments. Not addiction, not projection, not rage. Art. At least, it's what I aspire to, and I've been fortunate to have had friends and mentors who are much better at it than I am, who show me ways to go about it.

One thing that sticks in my brain, often, is image. As in, our own, our faces, and how they communicate emotion. I have a lot of trouble with self-concept. I have a poor sense of self, part of my illness and childhood issues. A couple years ago, I started taking selfies in moments of high emotion. Mania, desolation, infatuation. I get entangled in the disconnect between the intensity of the emotion and my own expression of it. I can't comprehend myself, I don't see the tempest. Lately, I've been riding out tough times by "fixing" selfies. I use popular photo editing apps and conventional "beautifying" filters and overlays, but try to trick them into interesting effects. It's still an obsessive thing, but a step up from the more unhealthy behaviours I first learned. The images are low-res and can't be used for much, I might show them to one or two people. I do it for the unlearning aspect, the discipline, tolerance. It's an inversion process. Learning to see the thing I don't want to see (myself), and amplifying instead of denying. It's why I make a bad minimalist - I'd minimize to zero if I could, have tried to, but now I fight that. This is one way I fight, thought I'd share it with you."

your invitation:
tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

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