Stars in an artistic context often represent hope, a guiding light in the metaphorical darkness. A vision of a brighter future in our most difficult moments. I know that during the hardest parts of my life there has always been a moment of absolute presence and clarity, when all the suffering and heart-ache stops for a second and I momentarily grasp a more fundamental truth or beauty. For some this is understood as a religious experience or others the awe inducing beauty of nature or humanity. It seems in these moments there is suddenly the capacity for deep feeling and connection.

Sometimes these can be transformational moments. We can break out of the monotony of daily life and daily consciousness and are thrown into an experience in which we totally have to re-assess who we are and our purpose. The same force that has the power to break down also has the potential to re-make. We tend to dread these parts of life, so much anxiety comes from an attempt to predict what form these difficulties will take and yet they are always unpredictable. I know in my own life whenever I’ve worried myself silly about something, a totally unexpected other problem will pop up that makes all the worry about the anxiety I’d created irrelevant. Lockdown has been the perfect example of this fact, regardless of how much planning we may have done or agonising over what’s next, the shape of our lives can change overnight, without our control. Yet, despite this we get through. In the moment things are painful and awful but we can bear it. Interestingly, the one thing that seems guaranteed to genuinely extract all joy and soul from a life seems to be the life unlived. The life of those who choose never to risk, to always play safe, always conform to cultural norms, these seems to be the choices that kill, not completely but through a slow loss of joy. I feel like Bukowski has said it better than I ever could so I’ll leave it with his poem ‘How Is Your Heart’ During my worst times on the park benches in the jails, or living with whores, I always had this certain contentment - I wouldn't call it happiness - it was more of an inner balance that settled for whatever was occurring and it helped in the factories and when relationships went wrong with the girls. It helped through the wars, and the hangovers, the back alley fights, the hospitals. To awaken in a cheap room in a strange city and pull up the shade - this was the craziest kind of contentment. And to walk across the floor to an old dresser with a cracked mirror - see myself, ugly, grinning at it all. What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.

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