Flying Girl Where the Wild Things Bloom, or Nature Deep
Golden Fluid Acrylics, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens, White Gel pen
Movement never stops, in life. I think we're like sharks. Swim or die. However, sometimes life seems to be flowing by so fast, we don't really get to go deep into the places we need to go.
I've been thinking about the Fifth secret in the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. This week in the book club, it's "Committing to Self Focus." As I was reading the chapter, I was thinking how this really wasn't my struggle... the feeling that art was selfish (or if it was once, I've gotten over it). The feeling that I need to take care of my duties as a woman and a social being first before I turn to my art. Maybe it's because I'm kind of a hermit. Maybe it's the luck of being born into a family of artists who always supported my artistic leaning (not always other things, but art was always supported). I have made peace (mostly) with sacrificing my housekeeping and using PBS as a babysitter when need be. I have let go of being that perfect super mom so that I could be the best me, the best artist I can be.
But then, as I got farther in to the book, I began see some resonance. McMeekin mentions "the need for mothers to find blocks of time to create," espoused in another book, and I can see that is true for me. Unfortunately the other book (A Question of Balance: Artists and Writers on Motherhood, by Judith Pierce Rosenberg) also "advises young women to establish their careers before they embark on having children," which really doesn't help me now, does it? If I could go back in time, I might have put more pressure on myself to get my career going, not realizing the struggle it would be when I had less freedom as a mother. But I can't, and here I am now. So I need to make now as productive as I can. I need to make it work for me.
Yes, I am working a lot. I paint and I write and I take photographs and blog and cook and raise my children and all of that, but I don't really work that deep. I don't have those blocks of time to really sculpt my work. I go on instinct and my subconscious and the many years of practice I have put into writing and art. It's those years that allow me to sit down and whip out 1200 words of new writing in an hour, or a painting while watching tv. Years of just diving in and being there. If I was unable to work so fast, I don't know if I would be working at all, to tell the truth.
I'm finding a difficulty now as I start revising parts of my novel that are already written. I don't have the space in my mind to be able to get the larger picture. I can do little bits at a time, but I don't feel like I am getting myself deep into the work.
Maybe that's where my anxiety is coming from right now. I could say, "oh this is just the ebb and flow of creativity." I could allow myself to not write, but I know what happens when I do that. I stop writing. It is the practice of showing up for the work that keeps the work going. I need to keep writing.
Maybe the anxiety is necessary. Maybe in order to get to where I want to go with my novel, I need to feel uncomfortable. Maybe I need to ask for support from those around me. (Yes, they have always supported me, but as an adult, I have to ask for that support for them to give it to me. And I hate asking for help.) Maybe I need to ask for my mom and/or step dad to take the kids one or two days a week so I can really get going.
You know, I think being uncomfortable is often necessary to art. It doesn't mean that you have to create work that is "cutting edge" or uncomfortable or shocking, but it does mean that you have to push the edge in yourself. Push the comfort. Get out of the ease and steady every day patterns of thinking. Open doors that you are afraid of. Stand up when you'd rather sit down and hide. Stop and face the things that you have been running away from all your life.
Just like this Flying Girl, I feel like I am right on the outside of that forest of deep work. It looks scary and weird, and it looks like I might never get out if I get caught up in those dark brambles, but I am convinced that inside of that darkness is the true place. I am trying to figure out what I need to do to get where I belong. I may need to go at it in an oblique way, because I have been resisting this push.
And it is also interesting that this painting was inspired by the Sweet Treat Thursday prompt, and yet it dovetailed right into the 12 Secrets chapter for me. Maybe I wouldn't gone away with the meaning that I did if I did not have the two different ideas swimming in my head. I think it was Orson Scott Card who said all of his novels started not with one idea, but with two unrelated ideas that then set up a resonance. Interesting.
And just so you know, folks, this deepness I am talking about, isn't really about the content of the work for me. I'm okay with that depth. It's more about taking things to the end and bringing them out again. This is my darkness, my fear. Finishing. Showing. Selling. Publishing.
What is your fear? When you think about deep work, what are you afraid of facing? What stops you in your tracks? How do you think you can get past those brambles?
6 days ago