I remember reading a quote back when I was in college and contemplating a phD and career in academia (ha!) that what a phD gave you was the right to be a producer, not just a consumer, of knowledge. That thought stuck with me and has been something I've been beating myself over the head with for the past few weeks in regard to my art. Transitioning from a consumer or appreciate-er (gimme a break) of art to a creater.
In this regard, I blame facebook, twitter, tumblr, policymic, nytimes, mademenoir, the atlanta post, the millions of hair blogs and music videos on youtube, and my DVR and on-demand capabilities for keeping my EXTREMELY easily distracted mind away from making my own work. I remember being a kid with no cable and going through books daily, writing short story upon short story, poem upon poem, and making painting upon painting (i thought myself a fashion designer too!).
Since there's actually been a month delay since I started that post, you see where I was going. It's easy to get sucked up in the day-to-day, which is why my good friend and fellow blogger Lumumba Seegars swears away the 9-5 like the plague. Thank you to the great people at DAP for allowing me my sabbatical, one that has undoubtadly engrained and really branded into my mind that for me (and perhaps others?!?) my art is something I have to work at. Something I have to give time to, something I have to actively... well, act on. Perhaps I'm one who needs schedules, despite how much I hate them, for my art; time set-away, written into planners and locked into daily/weekly calendars to work on my art. How seemingly paradoxical! Shouldn't my art be the place I'm free? Shouldn't it be bursting out of me? Shouldn't I be unable to control it, say, on the A train to work or while standing in line for my lunch? Clearly a monologue should always be at the tip of my tongue and my newest novel should be unbearable to hold back.
And it is, to an extent. But I take solace in knowing that there are enough wandering artists out there to make Julia Cameron's "An Artists Way" a best-seller. There are others like me! With a story (or 5,000) inside them and a fire in their belly who...just... haven't. For me, it's about just doing. Just doing it! Not overintellectualizing my art or my performance or what to say or how to feel or attempting to package it neatly or even waiting around for some divine inspiration to hit and literally move my hand across the page (er, keyboard). It's about my own active steps. I remember watching my boyfriend in college who played basketball wake up every single morning at 6am to practice shooting. He'd have team practice later that same day for hours as well as lifting and all the other hours of unbelievable training they had, but he woke up himself at the crack of dawn (leaving, besides an extra 4 hours of sleep, a hottie like me behind!) to practice, to get better. And I was always in awe of that discipline. Why, shouldn't an artist have that same discipline?
To that accord, I've made a pact with myself (here we go...) to whip myself into artistic shape. I won't be getting up at 6:00am anytime soon, but I'll be demanding of myself at least a page of work a day-- be it thoughts, poems, drawings, collages, short stories, treatments, or whatever pours. And see, I'm putting it on DAP, for the world to see, so that I may be held accountable! I'm also going to be sure to spend more time outside of my apartment (read: my room) and work... I read today that Richard Wright wrote Native Son in Fort Greene Park. I walk outside of my door and am at Fort Greene Park! If that's not inspiration...
I feel good, good people. I feel good. Something about the fall makes me feel good, or maybe its just the change in seasons. I grew up in Texas and went to college in California, so this is the first time I'm experiencing a change in seasons and its just like a breath of fresh air. A new start. I'm excited for what it has to bring, and promise not be gone for so long.
Signing off with love, as always.