Sunday Sunday… a glorious Sunday day. Much walking. Much sitting outside. And now… a zip through this week’s play in The Artist’s Way.
Week 11, for me, has been all about… re-affirming that it is not only OK to “do what I do, as I do it” but it is actually… the only way I can continue as an artist.
I can not … re-shape myself to fit the market. That way lies… death to the artist within me.
I KNOW this… but this week was a good refresher course on it.
Here we go…
Another fantastic Wednesday/Studio day …. I am loving having a day that is free of ALMOST all other commitments and dedicated to a morning’s writing work and an afternoon of artistic play. Ahhhh…..
I hope I can continue this.
Even if I do “other things” – the artist mindset stays with me. You’d think it would stay with me EVERY day – but… the world is weird that way. There is something about waking and smiling knowing that it is Studio Day that … sets this day apart.
Me like it.
This week, I worked on a leather pouch to hold my runes. Worked without a pattern, just looking at this piece of leather I bought years ago at a pow-wow and … finding the shape of the pouch. Poked holes with an old awl the Raggedy Man found for me out in the shed. Sewed it with waxed thread (cuz I googled sewing with leather and this was suggested). It’s a bit… clumsy looking… but I love it.
Tis all round me…. so… why can’t I recall an instance right this minute?
Didn’t do any of the “assigned” tasks this week.
I’ve been working working working on the reVisions to Sanctuary and dreaming and drawing and thinking on… the fast approaching end of the year. About Samhain (October 31st) and what sort of ritual I would like to do this year. About what sort of focus I see/feel coming for NEXT year.
And so… I let this weeks TAW tasks…. go undone.
So it goes.
Being true to the inner artist often results in work that sells–but not always. I have to free myself from determining my value and the value of my work by my work’s market value.
And it is easier said than done.
I’ve always been one of the ones who HONESTLY MEANS IT when I say, “If my work touches one person–that is enough.” I believe this, still.
But some days, it is hard.
Some days I want the feelthy lucre mucho mucho. Not heaps of gold, of course. Just… a wee sack-ful perhaps.
A new friend, who has been reading these posts, asked me what I would write if “money was no object.” I was glad that I was still able to say… “Exactly what I AM writing.”
I made that choice a long time ago. And I continue to make it every day.
But I would be such a liar if I did not confess that I flirt with a … desire… to be able to “whip off a thriller or a caper or something that would take the oh so elusive shape of BEST SELLER.” I flirt with this… but I also know damned well that I write what I write and… I am unable to write anything else. (Though I do so like to try. Especially during the 3day Novel contest. Heh heh.)
Truth is – I can’t “whip off” anything.
Truth also is – my life is awesome just the way it is. I just want, very much, to keep doing exactly what I have been doing for the last two years.
That, m’dears, is all kinds of cool.
Miz J goes on to say…
…my credibility as an artist lies with me, God, and my work. In other words, if I have a poem to write, I need to write that poem–whether it will sell or not.
As an artist, my self-respect comes from doing the work. One performance at a time, one gig at a time, one painting at a time.
And… I must not forget….
As an artist, I do not need to be rich but I do need to be richly supported. I cannot allow my emotional and intellectual life to stagnate, or the work will show it.
My life will show it.
So flippin true.
As is this…
Creativity is oxygen for our souls. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage. We react like we are being choked. There is a real rage that surfaces when we are interfered with on a level that involves picking lint off of us and fixing us up.
We will react as if we are fighting for our lives–we are.
Oooh yeah… you wanna hear some roaring…
I love that I can say that now.
That I have felt that rage.
I used to suppress all of that … any type of rage or anger or even… disgruntlement…. but as I get older, I get braver and I get more AWARE of what I need. And more willing to stand up for it.
And … hilariously… or sorrow-fullly… the person I most often need to stand up to is… MYSELF. My self who wants to run off and go back to school to “get a real job.” LORDY.
How the hell old do we have to be before she will finally accept that we HAVE A JOB already.
We are a writer. And a human. And… we are all kinds of things, and our job is to use our gifts to help others and to work out our own salvation.
So… if you find yourself in battle with your self (or your parents or whoever)…. remember…
If you are happier writing than not writing, painting than not painting, singing than not singing, acting than not acting, directing than not directing, for God’s sake (and I mean that literally) let yourself do it.
Creativity is a spiritual practice. It is not something that can be perfected, finished and set aside.
The stringent requirement of a sustained creative life is the humility to start again, to begin anew.
It is the willingness to once more be a beginner…
As artists, we are travelers.
The artist’s way is a spiral path.
As all of life is.
Round and round we go. Higher and higher and deeper and deeper.
And here is some grand grand advice that I have found my way to in in the past few years. I can vouch for this WHOLEHEARTEDLY.
Most blocked creatives are cerebral beings.
We need to move out of the head and into a body of work. To do this, we must first of all move INTO THE BODY. (my caps)
Creativity requires action, and part of that action must be physical.
Returning to the notion of ourselves as spiritual radio sets, we need enough energy to raise a strong signal. This is where walking comes in. What we are after here is a MOVING meditation. This means one where the act of motion puts us into the now and helps us to stop spinning. Twenty minutes a day is sufficient. The object is to stretch your mind more than your body, so there doesn’t need to be an emphasis on fitness, although eventual fitness is a likely result.
Get out there and walk, my people.
Walk every day. And go ALONE if you can. More and more and MORE I think this is key to the whole creativity thing.
It clears our heads. And the movement, the speed is… just right…
As a artist, walking offers the added benefit of sensory saturation. Things do not whiz by. We really see them. In a sense, insight follows from sight. We fill the well and later tap it more easily.
… we gather food for thought.
… we learn by going, where we have to go.
Julia urges us to create an Artist’s Altar.
A room, or corner, or window ledge, a haven where we can…
… celebrate the good things of this earth. Pretty leaves, rocks, candles, sea treasures — all these things remind us of our creator.
Small rituals, self-devised, are good for the soul. Burning incense while reading affirmations or writing them, lighting a candle, dancing to drum music, holding a smooth rock and listening to Gregorian Chant–all of these tactile, physical techniques reinforce spiritual growth.
I love that.
I have an altar – out in the Writing Burrow.
And I have a wee traveling altar that I take with me everywhere. It is just a few things. Incense, a candle, a few rocks, a tiny silver seashell given to me by a dear friend, and my wee rune-casting alter-ego.
I don’t have a “room of my own” in the shakey shack, so I set up my small travellin’ “altar” on the dresser beside the bunky when I work inside during the winter.
It soothes me.
I wonder if you have an altar of any sort. I’d love to hear about it if you do.
Or about any rituals you do around your work. Before you begin a session of work/play. When you finish.
In the Burrow, I light a candle and I say my Artist’s Prayer.
I sometimes burn incense as well.
And I close with a thank-you as I put out the candle.
I plan to bring this ritual inside to the bunky as well.
Oooop – time to pull some roasting beets out of the oven.
They smell delish.
I’m making some cuban black beans with kale for dinner, along with rice and these wonderful wonderful beets. I CRAVE them sometimes, and was thrilled to see one big bag of beets (10lbs) on sale at the Value Mart the other day.
My blessings abound!
Speaking of blessings. I just have to share this video with you. I found it today and it prompted me to start a whole new pinterest board called Super Smart Sh!t
If you’ve never heard of, or read any Lynda Barry…. go find her.
Here she is talking about…. Emily Dickinson, Poetry and Survival…
She speaks about learning how to really GET poetry – the power of memorization – and how poetry (and images and plays) help us honestly SURVIVE.
Have a great week.
go easy ~p
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I wish I was born a hundred years ago.