Monday, February 16, 2009
I've spent a wee bit of time in the studio every day, still working on things I can't show you yet. I'm frustrated because the toppling clutter in there is making everything seem twice as slow and twice as difficult. I'm trying not to let it get to me but instead keep putting one foot in front of the other. Last night I spent half my time sorting a small box of miscellaneous stuff that was knocking around at my feet, and half the time actually working on what I went in the there to work on. It felt good to get rid of the mess in the box (a lot of it was old paperwork I could simply burn) instead of just juggling it to another stack to deal with later. Now it's really sorted and gone. And I did stop at that and go back to my project. A good compromise solution. And a FAR better solution than simply being overwhelmed and walking out and closing the door on it all, which is what I would have more likely chosen to do even a few months ago.
I've somehow managed to find myself committed to too many reading deadlines this month, including three library books, a book club choice, and the book 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women that I borrowed from interlibrary loan which I've wanted to post about.
I've been enjoying the book and yet finding myself restless about spending time reading it. I don't think this is a flaw of the book, I think this is all about timing. As I've mentioned before, I'm feeling very spongelike recently, sucking in a lot of information and the book is too much information and too many levels of information on too many aspects of creativity for me to absorb. It overwhelms me. It is not the right time to be trying to gulp it down whole in a few weeks.
I've had to purposely take myself away from my house to force myself to read in the book, sitting with a cup of coffee or tea in a public setting. It's been slow going as I find tidbits, ideas, or new people or projects I want to remember. I've taken to carrying a notebook around with the book to jot these all down. It's all fun and interesting but ultimately too much for me to use all at once in a useful manner. I don't know how the bloggers working on this book challenge together are managing one chapter per week. It seems like one chapter per month would be barely enough time to truly absorb the wisdom and information in each chapter, each "secret". I've come to feel convinced that I made the right choice to pass this project by this year. I'm finding that I'm still, how many weeks later, still finding myself inspired and more productive by listening to the faery card, that it's been truly useful in manifesting change. Or perhaps more specifically, manifesting focus and effort. Or all of the above.
One of the specific problems I've had with the book so far is that the first few chapters, which is as far as I've gotten, focus on issues that I've already tackled personally, some many times over in my life. Most of them I feel I know how to handle or if I don't have them under control, I know my own faults and weaknesses or rationalizations. I could rattle them all off without even thinking about it. Some of the later chapters are more intriguing to me. What I've read so far has been entertaining and validating, but nothing new. I mostly have enjoyed reading about the personal vignettes, how each intellectual idea or question translates into numerous real life situations.
A few years ago I read a book called Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists by Rice Freeman-Zachery. I really liked the book. I read it get some insight on the real working lives of artists and I felt like it delivered exactly what I wanted and gave me an answers to a lot of questions I had about whether the artist's life was right for me. The surprisingly clear answer for me, at the time, was no. I wasn't ready, nor did I feel the need to recreate myself in such a dramatic way. The answer, although unexpected, wasn't a complete surprise at a deeper level because I felt pretty happy at having arrived at it.
Now, 12 Secrets.. has gotten me thinking again about what exactly I want out of my studio, out of my art, out of my creative time. A few years down the line, I get a less clear answer to that question. I'm in a different place, ready for more changes. But I still don't know exactly what I want out of it all - simply enough time to make gifts and homemade surprises for me and those I love? The rest of my life is still in such a muddle that I'm not even managing that. Art to share with the world? Art as a money making process? Art as a therapy? Art as a pleasurable hobby? What percentage of me is my art? How big a slice of time and energy do I give to it?
I am starting to toy with the idea of letting the rest of the book go at this point, with the intent to pick it back up at a later time when I can get more out of it. I think this might be a book I will need to own instead of borrow, so I can work my way through it unhurriedly, one bite at a time.