It comes in threes
Three letters came this week. Irrationally, they feel much more like a joint offering, a dependent array, than they would if there had been either only two of them or more of them. Illogical but there it is. Holy trinity. Macbeth witches. Wise monkeys.
Things come in threes.
First I received an invitation to interview at the Australian National University School of Art.
Second I received an invitation to interview at the National Art School.
Third I received a claim from an insurance company requesting I pay them several thousand dollars for an incident that happened on rain slick Sydney streets many months ago.
Together - and they do feel as if they came together - these missives made me think. About good news and bad and how we value them both. In this case, two of the letters represented the first step in realising my dream of going to art school; something I’ve been tuning out of conversations to think about for years. This is good. More than good, this is solid real definable progress marked with a time and place.
I should have been wired yet terrified, anxious yet excited. (And more than that, I should have been practicing my less-than-stunning life drawing skills, since both interviews have a skill-based test component.)
And yet, from the moment the third letter dropped into my hands, I’ve thought about nothing but it.
I’ve thought about the night itself obsessively; the unreal crunching, the metal wending off one vehicle to gift itself to the other… the shuddering juddering halt of subsiding impact. In my fantasy I continue from that night through to the letter and what it represents. I imagine myself in court for this – not ever clear whether I am disputing it or simply failed to deal with it by other means.
The idea of going to court terrifies me.
I’m not sure if this fear is in spite of my legal training or because of it. I do know that the torrid knowledge of what law firms charge sits so prominently in my mind that a critical component of all these dystopian fantasies is the awarding of costs against me. (I, of course, lose in every one of these imaginings). I imagine myself facing down a costs order of typically behemoth proportions. I imagine myself being declared bankrupt or, in a sort of pick-your-own-nightmare ending, having debt collectors seize my designer handbags while I plaintively try to convince them that the resale market is really not very good right now.
I mention all of this because my fears are very big right now. Very big and very real seeming, in a way it occurs to me I never do with dreams. I never let dreams become bigger than my reality; I never let them become more concrete than the merest whisper.
I never let them in.
I don’t think I’m alone in this (though I will own a peculiarly strong belief in the powers of jinx) but it made me think – what if all of the energy, all the whirring emotion that I have funnelled into the third letter, what if it was re-directed towards the first two? What if instead of focusing on the negative (acknowledging here of course that although the negative has the possibility of sucking greatly for me financially it does not have any greater impact on anyone than that) I focussed on the other?
And what if I used the good that created, the positive vibes, the creative output the dreamings, to fight the other?
I have no idea really. Truth be told I’ve been in a horrid funk all week. But I do know that right after I decided to bite the bullet and paint the cow skull that’s been sitting on my desk for a month was when I realised I needed to draft a letter requesting further and better particulars of the claim. And it was only after I finished painting it this afternoon that I felt strong enough to get up and not roll over. To fight.