TRUANCY AND THE CREATIVE IMPULSE, The Blog by CATHERINE ZIMDAHL
(In order to fully understand how I came to be in a courtroom fighting for my creative life please scroll down to the post MY INCREDIBLE EPIPHANY.)
I stood before 'Your Honour' with all his regal accoutrements and this picture of the Queen which had been shockingly photo-shopped to make her look 40 years younger when the Judge's words came thundering around my being:-
"You...you...you...are...are...not...not...not...not...going, going,going...to...to...to..gaol, gaol,gaol...not...not...etc...etc..etc...NOT GOING TO GAOL."
He banged his gavel MERCILESSLY.
Then he mumbled something about Sentencing and Lunch but I heard nothing - I was distraught in that particular way when you truly realise you are NOT going to get a custodial sentence. (The Germans have a precise word for it:- "Gotterickfkkurhellanekkkagaah.")
Then the Judge flounced off.
My Barrister Henry merrily chirped, "Hungry!"
How could he be happy at a time like this???
"Henry. Bloody everyone told me you were the worst bloody lawyer ever!! They warned me that you were only taking me on because there was the slight possibility that a case with an artist of my calibre namely I, Catherine Zimdahl would raise YOUR profile. So okay I knew full well that was most probable as I have 172 twitter followers. But I cared not because as soon as I saw how you spelt 'malicious damage' as 'malasius damige'. I thought I'm onto a winning streak. But no! I took you up under FALSE PRETENTIOUSNESS!! And now I'm completely stuffed!!"
I choked up, "I am not going to gaol, Henry."
He took a tomato and cheese sandwich out of a plastic bag that served as his briefcase.
"But we won! And it'll be real great when I front up for my professional misconduct hearing. Jeez if I can win an un-winnable case like yours I can win a totally un-winnable lost cause case like mine."
He giggled like an idiot, "It's not my fault you got glowing character references from major celebrities."
"MAJOR CELEBRITIES?? Wot like the Lady from Masterchef?? Wot won the hearts of a nation by being unable to make icing firm yet still enticing and then crying about it!! I only met her twenty minutes ago!!"
"But you gotta admit it was a masterful tactical-"
"She told me SHE was just trying to raise her own PROFILE, she said she wanted her own cooking show devoted to icing techniques. The Judge got a tear in his eye when she told him how I had empowered her to never, ever give up on her art form."
I sneered "Everyone's a 'creative' now aren't they? "Yeah", said Henry "I made my own sandwich."
He offered me the rest of his half-eaten sandwich. I slumped.
"Well what am I going to do now?"
"They've got this thing called Community Service, you'll do that for a bit"
"What's that? It's all legalese isn't it?"
"S'pose." He smiled looking on top of the world, eating happily, and speaking in an ambitiously slow patronising way. " Basically (pause) in (pause) plain (pause) English (pause) you just do stuff to give back to the community."
"Dunno. every judge has their pet projects. You never know."
"All rise!" The Judge entered. HENRY KICKED ME TO STAND UP. It was an effort.
The Judge appeared a bit boozy, bored as he read the list of my crimes, snuffled, huffed and momentarily appeared to nod off. He raised a finger at me.
"You, you, stand up."
"But I just did."
And then he stared at me for a long time as if to stare me down using all the power invested in him. I stared back with all the creative power conferred upon me by the universe. The staring went on until he threatened me-
"I'm about to sentence you so it behoves you to get yourself up and at least look like you are deserving of some leniency."
There was a DRAMATIC pause, at least I thought so, as it dawned on me that this Judge was just playing a role - really, really badly. He was in dire need of an acting coach. He lacked nuance, depth and he did DRAMATIC pauses ineffectually. And I knew he was just about to overuse the gavel once again.
BANG! "You are to undertake 4 months of Community Service-"
I knew then I had to play 'low status' in this situation.
"Your Sacred Highness on High if it behoves you, may I have a quick chitty-chat?"
"I have a few concepts I'd like to throw at you re: this Community Service thingo-"
"THERE WILL BE NO THROWING OF CONCEPTS IN THIS COURT!!"
"Oh, ah, but, but I could teach Street Art to-"
"Yes to inspire the elderly to make political art in a Banksy-like manner, that would no doubt become extremely valuable works of high art, I'm talking 8 figures, which would in turn relieve the economic pressure of an ageing population. It's inspired isn't it your Chief Justicisst? I can whip up the costings on my phone calculator-"
"You are a miscreant."
I didn't know what that meant but took it as a compliment.
"Thank you that's very execrable of you."
He appeared enraged, only 'appeared', I could see through the veneer, the failed auditions, the desire to be in a Professional Chorus Line living the dream...BUT before I could finish that thought he spoke with a passion that hit me with an intensity that was frightening.
"I have a 'pet' project close to my heart, deserving of sincere attention, one in which you will learn much about yourself."
And then there was a true and terrifying pause. I held my breath-
"Cats. Lost, stray cats. Often deliriously unloved. The ones that find themselves homeless and one step away from...salvation. Or another...a fate that...that...one cannot bear to contemplate."
I could not foresee this, I shook, I could barely speak and yet I did spiritedly.
"Your Honourablessedness if you would allow me to bequest of you. ( And then I enunciated as only a true thespian can) Cats, you see are just not for me."
"What on earth can you mean? Cats are the most exquisite creatures God in all his Greatness created."
"Is it inadmissible to say that I find them lacking in critical thought.?"
"HAVE YOU NOT SEEN THE YOUTUBE VIDEOS??"
"I'm not sure of which you refer-"
"Naughty Kittens Riding on the Backs of Dash hounds.?"
He seemed stunned.
"Perhaps then you have seen "Cat Meows Along To Danny Boy" which is intensely moving?"
"I'm sorry but-"
"Closer. Come closer."
I moved forward tepidly. Wrath was coming.
"I'm finding this immensely disturbing. (His hand was gripping onto the gavel gravely) What of - "Very Patient Dog Pulled By Tail For Fifty Metres By Toddler?" It is beyond cuteness and up until this moment largely unseen by humanity - it has only had 30 000 views. 20 000 of which are mine."
"As I said (I lied!) in my deposition I don't do cats. Isn't that right Henry? HENRY??"
"Was it on a post-it note?"
"SHUT UP THE BOTH OF YOU!!"
I whimpered, "I just don't do cats that's all I'm saying."
"'DO?"" WHAT IS THIS "DO"?" WHAT KIND OF HUMAN BEING ARE YOU??"
"I am an artist my aim is to make more human beings be be-ings."
"Hmmm. I am considering making your Community Service a much longer proposition-"
At this point I threw myself on the mercy of the Judge-
"Oh for god's sake get up!! UP! GET UP!!"
"No! ( I crawled, kneeled, prayer-like) Hear me out Your Honourable High Court Supremacist if I could in my own words plead my case. I am but a humble artist but I am also a serial offender and I have never once, ever once been incarcerated! It is said my crimes are apparently victimless ones but I am clearly the victim here!"
"I need to go to the Big House. I NEED 6 -11 months to work tirelessly on all my CREATIVE PROJECTS. There is a crime and this is the CRIME. And I won't stop until I am STOPPED!!"
The Judge leant forward and spoke in a sarcastic whisper, "I am not in the business of giving people what they want so 6 MONTHS community service! Now get out of my sight or I'll throw away the Unwanted Kitty Cat Litter Cage key!!"
Yes I was truly "Gotterickafkkurhellandekkkeagaaheded."
How did I cope with the hardship that had befallen me? You will learn in my next post. I am a creative being after all, and this gives me the strength that other mortals lack. But alas there was one blow that I will never recover from - you must remember Whatevs Evan my co-worker product stacker at Coles who made up rhymes like "Listerine no not here and Vaseline put it there and Margarine I know where"?
Whatevs Evan has just been awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant. You can read the 55 page fellowship commendation here____oh the link is busted? Bugger.
So do I need to say it again? Yes. Everyone now is a 'Creative'!! But not everyone gets the time to create, namely...me. Yes. If you think you hear a sob of self-pity in the distance, you are. It's me.