Guest Blog: Gareth Clark On the Fear That Comes with Creating Art

In Gareth Clark’s second blog post, he talks about the inherent fear that exists in creating art and whether it ever goes away.

(F.E.A.R.) arrives at CPT on October 19-20 at 9pm. Click here to find out more.

It started… this mini-tour of (F.E.A..R.) and here I am in Bridport, lovely Bridport with its splendid bakeries, cafes and art centres. It’s nice to be here as the week leading up to the two shows at The Lyric had not been particularly typical or routine despite my efforts to organise myself. Whilst deep in the rehearsing process I had a phone call informing me that Marega, Mrs Clark, was in hospital after falling and bumping her head. She was working in Swansea and was a day away from opening her exhibition ‘Framing The Transient Now’ at the Elysium Art Space and Gallery.

The phone rang with a more than usual urgent ring and the call was something of a surreal moment. I was sweating from re-tracing dance moves, attempting to remember a simple structure and build up the energy to be in the moment, playful. My muscles were vaguely receptive to the idea of recall and I was enjoying the somewhat carefree abandonment of just dancing. A morning of movement had pulled me out of my head, away from the thinking that gets wrapped around the actual doing. The type of thinking that doesn’t always help. And there I was post-freestyle bop when the phone rang.

Needless to say the mood of the day changed. Swansea is an hour drive away and I was aware that my instinct for a speedy journey may well cloud my judgment, and I did my best to remain within a respectable stretch of the speed limit. My initial grasp of the facts, were limited. Marega had fallen, had hit her head and was in casualty waiting for stitches. She wasn’t alone but there was a complication of fainting whilst the surgeon attempted to stitch her wound. As I attempted to go easy on the accelerator my mind raced. I can’t type what was going through my mind… it just felt catastrophic.

And here it was again… that thinking. Those thoughts that wrap around the things we do, that voice, that persistent nag that perpetuates negativity and fear. Where does that come from? Biologically why do we have this internal dialogue and to what part of the brain does it belong? For so many years I have thought the worst… it will be rubbish, no-one will like this, I’m such a twat…. and on analysis one must conclude that this is for a purpose, right? Like when our heartbeat races and our muscles tighten, physiologically preparing us to flea, an instinct programmed in to us when faced with predators. So there must be a purpose for these notions of the worst possible outcomes…

On that drive the voice in my head conjured the most awful scenarios. And when I arrive I am quickened into running down the wrong corridor of Morriston Hospital as if getting hastily lost was an unavoidable and necessary option. When I eventually arrive in cubicle 6 of the minor surgical ward I see Marega. She is curled up on a trolley, her face swollen and scratched with a deep gash under her nose. It is a sobering picture to see anyone you care for in such a state. However when she sits up and smiles through the pain and the blood, I can tell she’s going to be okay… and when they stitch that cut up, things will be even better.

I feel for those that deal with these issues regularly. I feel grateful for the support of the staff and the friends in Swansea who were there to help. And it reminded me that fear is a constant feeling throughout all of our lives. Sometimes it is very tangible and present. At other times it is an imagined construct of our very own. Whatever our fears are they are real to us and I believe that recognising them, naming them and shouting them out is as good a way as any of dealing with them. And dancing… yes, definitely dancing.

Gareth

(F.E.A.R.) will be at Cardiff and Vale College – 15 October, Camden Peoples Theatre – 19/20 October, and Theatre Shop Clevedon – 8 November.