There is something scary about letting ourselves go. It means that we will screw up, that we will relinquish the possibility of perfection. It means that we will say things we didn’t mean to say and express feelings we can’t explain. It means that we will be onstage and not have complete control, that we won’t know what we’re going to play until we begin, until the bow is drawn across the strings. While this spontaneous method might be frightening, it’s also an extremely valuable source of creativity. The lesson about letting go is that we contain our own creativity. We are so worried about playing the wrong note or saying the wrong thing that we end up with nothing at all.
~ Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works
When I read a quotation like this, I cannot help thinking how beautifully the author talks about the process of letting go, how well it is put into words and how good it is to read it; somewhere someone else has gone through something that is similar to what I am struggling with. Yet the frustrations, dilemmas and emotions that actually accompany the process of letting go of an outcome can be terrifying and confusing. When I took that leap full of faith and hope and as much research as possible into Montreal, as careful as I was,I inched forward for a while and finally crash landed into a mountain of dirty brown snow and sank down into the bottom. Now I am simply going through the motions of desperately crawling out. As another wise man once said, ‘it is easier to be philosophic when things are going well’. Indeed it most definitely is.
These are scenes from this year's Montreal winter. It was the coldest and worst winter since 1889. After four months of bitter cold, it is still snowing outside; giant trucks carry loads of snow outside the city which they pump into enormous white mountains; I am still wearing my Canada Goose; I still experience acute homesickness when I see pictures of flowering trees from a Bangalore summer. As a newcomer, I feel I am running through an endless labyrinth which leads nowhere... It is excruciatingly difficult to be an immigrant during a recession and a soul-killing winter, alone in a foreign city which speaks a language other than what I am fluent in.
But to try and end this post on a positive note, before I came to this city, I corresponded with an artist who wrote me these words that I've never forgotten: ‘The warmth of the people makes up for the cold temperatures...’ How much those words ring true over and over. If there is just one redeeming feature about Montreal and its endless winter, it is the kindness of the Montrealers and the warm friendships I have made here. It reminds me that there were other seasons too and that I still have memories of Montreal that look like this -
But while the fleeting summer and autumn in Montreal were ephemeral, it is the winter that is eternal and so my drawings of Montreal will always be of bare branches and snow ~