i wanted to disabuse anyone who wonders about the ease with which something gets made.
i think i have been fooling myself about how easy it is.
i mean get some paints, make some marks, keep going until it feels done, put it out in the world, receive acknowledgment. it works like this right? Creativity is natural, native to us all right?
i have been thinking about this a lot. because at the moment i am in a real slump. emotional and creative (no prizes for guessing they are interconnected like oroboros to me)
i think it began (weirdly) with a drum tobacco ad when i was a teenager. There in the magazine was this groovy looking woman, jeans, tshirt, slightly dishevelled having obviously worked on the beautiful wooden chair in the workshop in the background. I think the slogan was "the satisfaction of doing it yourself". I looked at that woman making something, working with her hands to make something beautiful and i thought i want that. i want to look beautiful in that way, have the satisfaction she has (lordy do i sound like an advertiser's dream - and yes i did smoke drum for a time)
i wanted to look only slightly like i had worked. i wanted to make things.
always drawn to paint i began (with a great sense of being an impostor) to make things... at first taking courses where i learned to make things just like the teacher. Always disappointed because my things were never as beautiful or haunting or pretty. that disappointment was familiar because i was used to not measuring up. As uncomfortable as it was it was familiar.
then i began to reach out into the possibility that i could make my own things (maybe i have something to thank that drum woman for after all) that my things didn't have to look like someone else's was a possibility that began to drift in and out of my work.
i made stuff that i thought was ugly - not a lot because it was terrifying to think my soul's offerings and best tries at this would be ugly so i scampered back to making things with my mind on the necessity of making things that were pleasing to others, that looked like other people's things. As safe as it was it still chaffed somewhere.
i learned from people who encourage liberation i learned about allowing freedom, i followed my love of story and the wisdom of others and now i work in a way that doesn't really look much like anyone else's and it is the point i am at now that i want to talk about. A point typified by this painting above.
i worked hard on this, went through the stages i seem to go through loosely in this order 1. ooo paint. let's just spread it around and see. 2 oo paint. it's expensive. you don't make much money.... you can't afford... not so much.... 3. everything looks meagre.... you are too much...4. It looks ugly 5. remember what Flora said about the ugly teenager stage. 5b. ahh that feels better, look at the possibility, freedom (this is the shortest phase by the way) 6. God not this ugly. 7. oo that line looks like a .... (usually a face for me) 8 lets just sketch that in 9. here are about 30 more characters 10. i feel like i have to destroy them. 11. i feel bad but i can't keep them all lets define these. What if i chose the wrong one? Someone cleverer, more accomplished wiser more arty than you would have known what to do. 12. who the hell do you think you are? 13 keep going keep going 14. that's enough.
each point along the way (including 15 which is usually typified by "who the hell do you think you are showing THAT to the world???) is riddled with self condemnation, doubt, the wish to run away from it all.
Creativity is terrifying. Putting your work into the world is terrifying. At each step i am confronted by my insecurities soul injuries and introjects.
And yet something, keeps pulling me in. maybe my martyrish tendencies come in handy - they keep me banging up against the sharpest edges of my psyche over and over again in the pursuit of work i care about.
There is nothing more i can do but to say that the world needs more creativity and not to be scared off by the fact that it is terrifying.
I have a sneaking suspicion that it is the very act of meeting your creativity with courage that makes your contribution valuable.