Sunday, January 25, 2009

Flying Girl is Building her Scaffold, or Climb

Flying Girl is Building her Scaffold, or Climb
Golden fluid acrylics, Pitt Artist Pens, White Gel Pen

Oh, yes, that's how we get there. To those heights. We climb our ladders and put up our bracings, and build our climb out of memories and the sweat of our brow.

Interestingly, I just found some old notes and plans from 5 years ago, when I first started my blog. Yes, my old Wonderlanding blog began on January 19, 2004. You'd think I'd be farther along than I am with my blogging, but I had no idea the twists and turns that life would hold in store for me. And I had no idea how hard having kids was, either.

But, 5 years down the line, and I can see how I've build up my world to be something like what I wanted it to be. Yes, I thought the development would be one directional (as in all forward). No, I didn't take into account the complexity of some of my goals. No, I did not realize that some goals would fade out as I dealt with new ones. And I did not realize that I would have to go into survival mode, for a couple of years there.

My goals slowed down, when I had kids. I should remember that having kids was one of my big goals, and it was looking pretty grim on reaching that one, for a while. So, I think the sacrifice to my artistic goals was worth it.

But then again, as I think about my artistic development in those years when it was all going so much more slowly, I begin to wonder if instead of growing out and up, I grew inwards, stronger and more detailed, more secure. That's my scaffolding, preparing the way for how far I've come now. I feel like I have deeper motivation, now. I feel like my work has more meaning now. Not that it was shallow before, but it often seemed as if I was trying to make myself become who I was, instead of just BEING who I was. I feel like I have more understanding, now, and less desperation.

I feel bad for criticizing my younger self now. I know I meant the work I did then. And I really love some of it. Maybe I was trying to yoke my creativity to the meaning. The meaningfulness.

For example, back then, the books I was trying to write were literary fiction. My first book... I still love that one and hope to go back to it, but the one I lost (back up your computers, people) after I finished teaching... that one was me trying to write a literary story, and trying to wrestle the meaning into it. That main character is so bland. Was.

Now, I've acknowledged my first love of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and am enjoying myself much more as I write in genre. That's right. Not the high falutin' literary fiction. Just silly ole' SF/F.

My goals from back then? They'd gotten wet and smudged, so I couldn't see them all, but I know on the list was to start writing fiction again. I can check that one off my goals.

Maybe it's good that my old goals are faded into obscurity. It's okay to let go of your old desires, when new ones become available. It's okay to take new roads that you hadn't even seen on the map.

When you think back to the you of 5 years ago, or farther back... ten years ago... or when you were fifteen... what are the goals you wanted then? Have you reached any of those goals? Let any of them go? What do you think the 15 year old (or 20 year old, or 30 year old) you would say about your life now?


tekeal said...

forgive me for not answering your questions, but want to say i LOVE this painting and all the implied meanings.

Super Nova said...

I wanted to be a stay at home wife with three kids and to bake and sing and teach them all to read by the age of two.

Not that that isn't a worthy life.

But I like the path I chose now.

I love looking back at the past, just to see where I've come. It's rich.

Anonymous said...

lovelovelovelove this post. Right now, while my daughter is so small, I feel very much how you described - like I am growing inward, working on my foundation. I really struggle with my artistic and creative goals right now - or at least how there simply is not enough time to accomplish all that I would like to. I get frustrated that I don't have more skills or that I can't practice certain techniques right now. I hate that I devalue my past and current work because it's not where I want to be. I wish I could just appreciate what I can do now and what I've done in the past that has brought me to this place. How do I do that? Yet looking back, I never would have thought then that I would be where I am right now. I like that perspective. I'll have to be more mindful of looking at things that way.

thank you.

Christy A. said...

I love love love this painting!!!

Genie Sea said...

What is highfalutin' lit? Something some withered lit critics approve? Phsaw!

SF/F can be so literary. Brave New World, 1984, Lord of the Rings, The Handmaid's Tale, The Book of Lost Things...

Okay. I'm stopping myself. Can you tell I'm an English teacher and a fan of SF/F? :)

I like the whole idea of building inward, of finally being instead of trying to be.

I am thoroughly enjoying the flying girl series and how it connects so markedly with your thoughts on growth and life.

Now I am itching to read your novel. :)

Rowena said...

Clearframe, I wanted to address your questions specifically, since this is what the last 3 years of my life has been about.

How to find time for your artistic goals? Get a timer and set it for 15 minutes with the intention to work for those 15 minutes without stopping or getting distracted by all those things you HAVE to do. You can commit to 15 minutes. When the time is up, you can take care of your other stuff. Just choose your art for 15 minutes, whether it's once a day, or 15 minutes every hour, or 15 minutes per child-nap.

Another thing you might try doing is don't look at your work. Put it away. Don't peek back, just keep moving forward. Follow inspiration wherever it goes without judging yourself.

When you feel like you have some distance, you can take out your old work and look at the whole body. Look at it with eyes for the good and exciting and real and soulful. When you can see what you love in your old work, take those elements and move forward with them.

Just a couple of suggestions. :)

Rowena said...

I know Genie, I'm being silly with putting down SF/F. I know it can be really great, but there's so much crap out there.

The whole "literary" thing is just my neurosis speaking, my fears that I'm not good enough. That old poetry professor who didn't think I could do it. The establishment is "good" work, and the stuff I love is not as worthy.

And thank you tekeal and christy and D'arcy, keep it up, you're totally on the right path, you trail blazer you.

aeneadellaluna said...

She is lovely..such a light!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the suggestions. i can handle 15 minutes. will let you know how it goes!

oh, and i like what you said about making commitments in your comment on my post - i think you may be onto something.

Amanda (Blake) Fall said...

Hi! In all honesty, I popped over here to thank you for the comment on my blog... and was completely stopped in my tracks by YOUR blog. I haven't even managed to get very far reading it, since I keep scrolling back to stare at Flying Girl is Bulding her Scaffold.

Obviously we each have to choose our journey when we're ready for it--but please, trust yourself and open that Etsy shop! Your work is stunning. Flying Girl brought tears to my eyes. She reminds me of all I'm working to achieve right now, step by teetering step. I've always been a dreamer, but only lately have I been building the actual structure that turns those fantasies to reality. Who says we can't reach the sky, if we build our own scaffold bit by bit? (And if you ever sell prints of that painting, I'll scrape together the pennies to buy one!)

Thank you for the wonderful inspiration--I'll be back (many times) to continue reading. As a fellow writer/artist-who-thinks-she's-gonna-be-exposed-as-phony/thinker/etc., I can't express how much it means to find people like you (and Natasha, of course!) along the way.

So, in short (not really, lol), thanks for the comment.. ;)


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