Before I start I want to wish a Happy Birthday to my beloved son-in-law
who begins a new year today.
First: If you have not read last Wednesday’s blog,
please click through here and read it [Harvesting (sometimes elusive) Courage] I don’t want anyone wondering what happened!
Second: If you think you have signed up for my 21-day art journey experiment,
but your name is not on the following list, please send me an e-mail today so that I can get you enrolled:
Pete, Philippa, Rhonda, Amy, George, Annie, Kathleen, Mallory.
At the moment, no one beyond this group will be receiving my blog for the next three weeks.
To say I am having second thoughts about the far-too-rapidly approaching 23rd of September would be to radically understate the level of my self-doubt. I have awoken in the early hours three nights in a row thinking, “You have got to be out of your mind!” When I used the word ‘terrified’ in a recent e-mail, one of you asked what was most terrifying. It took me a couple of hours to figure out an answer because the list felt almost endless. But I will share what I finally wrote back because, in retrospect, it feels like it is a pretty accurate response. First, I fear that I will wake up one (or more) morning(s) and look at a stack of fabric and thread and have absolutely no inspiration whatsoever. [So I am depending on my self-discipline to get me started.] Second, I am afraid that my (hyper-critical) self-judgment will be so strong that I will come to the end of this experience trusting process less rather than more. [So I am depending on my curiosity to keep me going right past the fear.]
To those of you who have mentioned that you are interested in seeing how it goes for me because this might serve as a model for jump-starting your own creativity – whether that is painting, sewing, gardening, writing, cooking, or preaching – just be aware that the first step of that ‘jump-start’ may very well be terror. I am breathing with it and remembering that I never, ever, ever got over stage fright when I was acting, and the minutes before starting to lead a worship service never got any less fraught even after 20+ years. So, I’m going with the ‘been there, done that’ approach to the pumping adrenaline, and hoping for the best.
I am also wondering if, like acting and preaching, this process will hold me steadily and firmly in Now, in this moment right now…for several hours of moments each day. Maybe resting more fully in Now will have a better chance of becoming a habit.
I am reminding myself that I am using this moment in time to practice working without self-censoring on techniques that are unfamiliar in an improvisational process. [I try to say that with emphasis on all the concepts. It’s hard.] I am trying, therefore, to celebrate the opportunity for total chaos which looms large on the horizon. “Chaos is a creative space” has just become my mantra.
That said, I can’t resist trying to bring order to the chaos by setting some vague-ish parameters for the process. Improvisation after all has its own rhythm and pattern, however fluid it may seem to someone watching. So, in the broadest of brushstrokes, I am intending to play with color the first week, texture the second week, and line the third week. We may not experience these the same way; I may think ‘an experiment in color’ and you may see texture, or line. Line and texture may bleed together. And since I am not thinking about doing anything in black and white, it’s all going to involve color anyway. But generally I am going to be thinking color, then texture, then line.
So if you want to actually share the journey (as opposed to watching from a distance while I tremble with adrenaline overload), you can use my three-tiered approach (or not.) If you are painting or sewing, you can use color, texture, and line right along with me. If you are cooking, maybe you want to use vegetable, dairy, herbs and spice. If you are writing or preaching, maybe it would be image, pace, voice.
And for those of you who just want to shut your eyes and take three weeks off, keep me in your thoughts from time to time and wish me ‘good courage’.
Text © 2015, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015 Immram Chara, LLC