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THE ARTLIFE BLOGS: Mind Map, Squared

I love accidentally discovering new ways to do things.

I made a mind map* recently. It took three versions to get to a completed, articulate - if somewhat daunting - depiction of my current life as a whole.

But I kept the second work-in-progress version, on which I'd drawn all the categories I needed to include, but also ended up with lots of crossings-out, redirecting arrows, etc. I couldn't quite bring myself to throw out this second version, even though it looked messy and chaotic. Or perhaps because I somehow suspected that this might actually be a truer map of my life than the third, "finished" version?

This morning, I was wondering if I should after all just throw it out. The idea suddenly came of cutting it into squares and reassembling it into a random pattern. It just took five minutes with a paper cutter to do that.

Now this, I like! This has the meandering, alternating clarities, sudden halts and unknowings, of real life!

Some of the elements on it are clear to me but won't be to anyone else (as in life!) This version, all random cut-offs and intersections, mirrors different aspects of my life jutting up against each other, yet magically creating an unpredictable but organic balance. The sudden shifts, inevitable loose ends, incomplete words, look way more like the real mystery of living.

This feels way more satisfying than that third, articulate and well-organized regular mind map.

As ever, I love making things that carry a felt-sense of alive, flowing meaning, things that didn’t result from a goal to create something beautiful or impressive (a goal which generally tends to majorly inhibit spontaneous discovery along the way...) This is artlife, the intangible made tangible, a mirror that tangibly reflects the intangible back to us, then creatively alters the intangible by having initiated some new, unexpected way of living.

Here, the constant living intersection of art and life, the place where each invigorates and affirms the other.

Now I can set out into this new day ready for anything, because I started the day discovering the inventive and the playful.


*If you want to find out more about mind mapping, which is a great practice even without cutting them up into squared randomness, go to:

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