Days 227 – 236

Up there.

It’s been 10 days since the meeting with my oncologist and the likelihood of the reappearance of cancer, and a repeat of the roller coaster of being first diagnosed; the shock, the urgency to act, the unavoidable delays,  the uncertainty, the contemplation of treatment and side effects. Anger, annoyance, fear in varying proportions.

And lots of kind support from friends and family.

I’m doing ok.  I’m feeling as well as I have for a year I’d say, post chemo and the cancer largely gone.  There appears to be a single cancerous lymph node the size of the end of my thumb in my chest, but 6 months ago there were fistfuls of it in my neck, chest, abdomen and spine.  So definitely progress. Still very tired though – I tried running for the train this morning and my legs don’t work!  Just an eccentric, lolloping flat-footed walk.  Very weird.  Anyway I caught the train and I’m on my way to London for a few days – it’s feels good to be out in the wider world.

Round one of my big office sort-out is complete; lots of rubbish thrown away and what’s left filed and labelled.  And I’m now turning my attention to my neglected art life, heading to London to sort out the things stored in the loft space of my studio there.  Not sure what I’m going to find; junk and treasure I guess.

It’s funny but planning for a future and planning for no future are just the same thing; sorting, tidying, ordering, assessing, listing, valuing, labelling.  I’ve always hated doing my accounts, not because of the figures but because of having to revisit the past, even the near past.  But looking at my various projects and art life in this case is more positive, therapeutic even as I come to terms with what I’ve been doing for the last two decades or so, where I’ve been and where I might be going.

The admin side of my art life is in disarray – I’ve ignored it for 8 years at least.  I’m going to London to begin to address this, not just by finally shifting the last of it down to Penzance, but discussing archiving, inventories, representation, editions, disposal of works, destruction of works, collections, wills, bequests, gifts, inheritance tax implications, copyright and artist resale rights etc etc.

I’m not particularly interested in all this myself, but I am interested in not leaving a problem behind for others to deal with, so I’m keen to find out what my responsibilities are.  And there are a few outstanding issues to deal with, particularly the self-destructed soap sculptures that have ended up in various public and private collections.  So there is work to be done; meeting with my accountant and with the Artist Copyright Society and with friends who can advise.

Sitting on the train watching the estuaries as the South West slides by is restful, and feels like a return to normal.  London looming.  I’m looking forward to it and have a pretty good plan in place to achieve what I’ve set out to do.  But what I’m not sure about is the social side – I’ve been in hiding for most of the year, just not doing social things, crowds, noise, prolonged conversation.  I find it tiring and it brings my enforced inactivity, the uncertainty of the future, my illness into sharp focus.  We’ll see.  I’m looking forward to seeing friends and faces.