And I can feel it. I can feel that it's close. I'm ITCHING to paint. And I'm so excited about the possibility of getting time and space to do it again.
But.. honestly. I'm freaking out about it. Because I'm afraid that I'm setting my expectations too high. And I'm afraid that I am going to finally get to sit down in front of an empty canvas and put too much pressure on myself. I'm afraid that I'm going to actually get the opportunity to be creative and that it's not going to happen.
I think, often, about the Ira Glass interview that made the rounds of the internet several months ago..
"What nobody tells people who are beginners - and I really wish someone had told this to me... is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not.I think about it. And I agree with it. And I believe it. But it doesn't make it any easier. It doesn't make it easier to know that my work is not up to the quality of the things that I like.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It's gonna take awhile. It's normal to take awhile. You've just gotta fight your way through."
But as artists, are we ever satisfied with our work?
When I was in Kansas for Layne's wedding a few weeks ago, I met a friend of hers who was an artist.. coming to the rehearsal dinner from a gallery opening. When she introduced us, she mentioned our mutual love of "artist things" and her friend asked me "So, what kind of work do you do?"
And I was stumped. I didn't know how to respond.
Because I haven't really done anything in a very long time.
While I know that life has had other plans for me for the past few years, and my living situation has been temporary and my focus has been shifted elsewhere.. I am so ready to get back into creating art, figuring out my niche (or not), but at least figuring out what I enjoy and what I can do and do well, and then seeing where I can take it.
And then. Really the timing couldn't have been more perfect..
Over this past weekend, I read this post, Ecstatic Flailing, from Keri Smith... Read it. It's great.
Some of my favorite parts:
Creating work out of that pressure, doing all of the things that you have been taught by others, and listening to that voice in your head that tells you you need to be better is not what will create that success you are craving. The true work, (meaning the work you are here to do), comes from a completely different place than this. This energy of pressure actually does very little to move you ahead and into the place where you desire to go, and in some cases can even lead you in the complete opposite direction. I know your head is telling you you need to do it but really that is just dogma you have been taught by other people who are scared of going to their own true place (doing the work that they are really meant to do), so they go on repeating what they were told by other fearful people, and so on and so on.She goes on to talk about the difference between "opened" and "closed" energy, and how you find what makes you feel the most "open".. But then, she goes and says this:
...what I really want to share with you is this…the energy that you feel when you are creating is very important and will tell you if you are on the right path. Not that there is only one path, there are many, but I am referring to doing work that fulfills you and brings you “success”, and when I say success I really mean “work that is meaningful to you”, work that is aligned with your ideals.
It doesn’t matter one iota if you are unsure of what it is that you want to say just yet. The more you try to trust the process, the more you will figure it out piece by piece. But I will give you one more clue, focus your energy equally on things that get you really excited and things that get you really riled up (angry). I believe that the purpose of this wild and crazy ride of ours is to become fully open and experience the full range of emotions that make us human, (not close them off). This seems like it would be easy, but it is actually quite hard to remain open, and requires us to constantly question our own behaviours and assumptions. But it makes for a much more interesting ride doesn’t it?So. This is me acknowledging that once I'm moved and settled and the wedding is behind us, I'm going to start trying, more seriously than I have in the past. And also realizing that for awhile, my work is probably going to suck. But I'm going to keep doing it. I'm going to fight through it. I'm going to "trust the process". Because, really, I love to create. I love to paint. I love make something out of nothing, expressing my perspective through color and motion. And I want to be able to do it well. So I just have to start doing it. Even if it is awful. Even if I'm embarrassed and even if I would never buy it myself.
The first 6 months of this year have been focused on wedding planning and new chapters beginning and life organizing.. but the next 6 are going to be focused on creating and finding my niche. And then, hopefully, by the end of the year. I'll have something to show for it. And I can open up my shop. Or not. But I want to at least give myself the option. And give myself a goal.
Here goes nothing.