Friday, July 16, 2010

Moaning Gremlins and Creative Authority

The Road Home

Has it really been almost a whole week? Where have I been? I didn't mean to not post this week. I guess I just got caught up in the living.

And maybe perhaps I haven't posted because I don't have any work to show you. I'm in the middle of multiple projects, both art and home, but I don't have anything done. Or if I do, I don't have my photos uploaded and edited.

I'm trying to get myself onto a new schedule in which art and writing are a regular, natural part of my day. I want them to be automatic, so I don't have to fight the scaredy cat parts of me to get to the creativity. I've been there before. It has worked, but right now, I am fighting all my lazy tendencies to take the paints out or fighting my fear to pull up the intimidating project of my third draft. I am in the place where I have all these ideas and all these projects and I am so close to their fruition, but the hurdles still seem impossible and nothing seems certain, and a little bump can throw me completely off.

I suppose it's some sort of insecurity, a lack of confidence, a fear that what I put out there into the world will be rebuffed, rejected, tossed aside, ignored.

"But what if I fail!!!!" moans my ravening gremlin. "What if I mess up the painting!" (I've been sitting on a new painting all week.) "What if I don't have time to finish? What if I never finish and toil away in obscurity forever? What if no one likes it? What if I'm not as good as I think I am? What if I am wasting all my time and all my efforts and I will never be more than what I am?"

Humph. My gremlin was just about to tell me that all I was was a dedicated amateur, and then I told my gremlin that I actually do make money selling my art, strangers buy it, so although I don't make a living with my creativity, I am a professional. Oh yeah. And I am a professional teacher of art and writing and girl's empowerment, even if I'm not doing it now, I have done it in the past and I am not an amateur. Take that you stupid gremlin.

This brings me to an almost epiphany I had this week. It's almost because it flashed through my mind and then flashed away just as quickly, like lightning, but I wasn't able to grab onto it and harness it. It was something about how becoming an authority on something is, in a big way, about accepting your own knowledge. How do you become an authority on something? You claim your own authority. You create your body of knowledge. You have faith in your own education and experiences that have gotten you to the point you exist in right now.

Even now, I don't have a handle on this epiphany. It faded that quickly. But I'm pretty sure my flash of insight told me to stop thinking I was an amateur and start recognizing the decades of work I have done, the creativity, the conversations, the reading, the classes, the experience.
And on and on.

What if we did walk through the world as if we were authorities on what we knew. Whatever that knowledge was, be it cooking or childrearing or teaching or travelling or art. Being an authority doesn't mean you aren't always looking for new ways of understanding your subject. It doesn't mean you are a know it all, jealous of your own knowledge and status and unwilling to admit where you don't know something. It means you say to yourself and to the world, "Yes. This is who I am. Yes. This is what I know."

I must consider more on this topic of creative authority.

Regardless of the moaning gremlins.

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