Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Making ...

I have visions.

Not visions of significance. I do not glimpse the future. I have never been right about the lottery.

But creatively, I have visions. An image appears in my mind of something I want to make and I set about creating it, no matter if I've never created anything like it before. Better that way, actually. Once I do something, I have little interest in doing it again. What's done becomes dull and when it comes to endeavors, I crave shiny.

"Get obsessed and stay obsessed," my friend Rob wrote in my yearbook, senior year. He was a member of the faculty but also a friend, one of the grown-ups of my youth with whom I always got along better than my peers.

Often, I drift about, obsessionless, but every so often, I happen upon a bit of creative flotsam and I grab on.

To wit, a hefty handful of this weekend's hours. Time passed while I wrote and baked and styled and shot and edited and edited and I was completely unaware.

No, wait, that's a lie. I was aware. At one point, I was aware that I was profoundly hungry and then realized that I had not eaten in about 10 hours. And the light was lost anyway. So I called time on the day's creative pursuit and put a pizza on to bake.

But I was back at it this morning, then morning spilled into afternoon, and eventually I was pleased with what I had created and I set it free.

It's strange, creating and then letting it go. Because you know that no one will appreciate it in the same way. They're not able. And yet we do it anyway. Well, some of us more than others. Sometimes.

I'm reading my friend Patti Digh's Creative Is A Verb and smirking in self-recognition but feeling more than a little grateful, too.

Sometimes, more often than not, really, I feel like such a slacker, wasting my potential, as educators would say. But I don't mean to slack. I don't intend to slack. I don't wake up every day thinking, "You know what I'll do today? Nothing."

Because when I have an idea, I don't stop. I don't eat, I don't drink, I just go. I just do. I do and I redo and I tweak and I edit and I look at it differently and I do it again, that way, until that sensation arrives that it's right, that it's exactly what it should be, that moment when I just know.

I love those days, that immersion. And I know it's not sustainable. I know that I can't live in that space every moment of every day. Creativity needs lulls. Doesn't it? An engine can't run in the red endlessly. It needs time to cool down, time to refuel. But I could do with more days of obsession and fewer days lacking direction. I welcome a tip in the balance.

Or, as a friend once wrote: "Just do. Please." (I may make that a tattoo.)

Here's to doing.


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