Writing: [bad] first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart — your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it’s why you were born.Anne Lamont
The door is open, welcome!
Do you collect quotes? I collect quotes. The one above, by the writer, Anne Lamont, I find more relevant than I care to admit, no matter how many years in the studio. Perhaps it rings true for you, too.
It’s easy, of course, when in the flow — one’s work has a life of its own in that exalted state. It’s something else when I’m between works, completing one piece yet freezing up as I begin another. Never mind that I have a long list of inspiration, ideas, threads, etc. Somehow, every new work trips me up in the beginning. I know I’m not alone in this, and like everyone else, I’m the only one who can solve it — by doing the work.
The other piece of it is that I’m starting a bit late. My memories are of making art from a very early age, studying art, maintaining a studio (no matter the size), creating work for various organizations and events in which I participated, etc. However, it has only been since I retired, in early 2016, that I started approaching my work with the seriousness of a practicing artist. While other artists have more or less honed their oeuvre at this point in their lives, I’m still trying to figure mine out, and I freeze just thinking about it.
As we explore, and sometimes struggle with, what our interests are in this ACT II stage, I find it appallingly easy to be overwhelmed not just by fears but by possibilities, as well. There is so much I want to do, to try, places to go and see. And so, another quote comes to mind from artist Richard Diebenkorn:
My freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful, the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles.
I take that to mean: weed out distractions, cut to the chase (narrow my focus) and then work it from every direction possible. It’s good advice in the studio, and I’m thinking, pretty applicable to how one might approach “aging in place.”
Do you have a quote, or two, that inspires you at this stage in your life? Please share it below.
Check in with me next week and see how I’m doing.
Until then, warmly,