So I set myself the goal of publishing at least on the 1st and 15th.
Reading Marissa’s accounts of their ‘moonfarming’ project, I’m in awe! What a massive, amazing, undertaking. My husband and I are creatures of habit and caution – I don’t think it would be far off to say we’ve been debating since 2008 on whether and when we should think about moving to a house with a yard, in the same part of our city! Moving to another country without everything firmly laid out is hard for me to conceptualize.
So far for my hiatus I’ve signed up for a clay class (yeah me!) I just have to wait and see if it’s gotten enough enrollment to go ahead, I’ll know within a week or so.
Since I’ve started I’m finding it interesting how when I see calls to enter and submission deadlines I still get a moment of tension before I step back and breathe and remember that it’s not my problem right now. Then there’s a moment where I almost sag with relief.
In that vein I saw the Squirrel of Judgement:
Yeah. He’s an @$$.
There was a point where in an attempt to get in my studio more I posted a sign on the door saying “IF YOU WANT A BETTER PORTFOLIO YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK.” It stayed there a couple years before my brother-in-law said it was mean.
An interesting (and gentler) quote came from St. Francis Of Assisi:
“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. “
I liked the fact that he doesn’t seem to suggest any specific ‘thing’ as being art. Doing the work and how you do the work is what makes art. It reminded me of some reading I did a few years back about Zen, and the concept of wabi-sabi. Mindfulness, intent, and appreciation being the keys.
Which got me thinking about some very slow projects I’ve been doing, I have a shawl that I’ve been knitting for about 2 years. I started it to force myself to use a knitting pattern. I knit, I know lots of knitting tips, tricks, and stitch patterns but can’t follow an actual complete pattern worth a d@mn. My eyes skitter off the page, my mind wanders, and then I find I’ve made mistakes so I have to tinker back. I am awesome at casting on and just plowing on through making it up as I go. Great for tons of projects but not if you want to actually know what you’ll end up with or whether it will fit someone not in the room to measure against.
Mittens I knit for my oldest son. I loved making them and he adored them. However, I’m told that is not what thumbs are supposed to look like.
By this definition would the shawl be labour and the mittens art? Even though they are ostensibly the same process? I’d love to see a juror’s face if I submitted them to an exhibition. Even if they do make my heart happy.
I’ve also been reading about attention, motivation, and procrastination. I discovered there is a Professor at Carlton University in Ottawa, Canada who studies procrastination – it’s his JOB! How cool is that?! http://www.procrastination.ca/who-we-are/ But with his publication record, I don’t think he procrastinates a lot!
It’s been fascinating reading, especially about something called “executive functions” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_functions which (very simply) is your brain’s ability to co-ordinate and regulate itself. Reading about executive DYSfunction (inability to control attention, set goals and organize) was one of those “oh my g*d, that’s ME!” moments. But then reading further reading says being tired, stressed, and physically unfit all disrupt EF disproportionally. So, I am scattered and disorganized because I am tired, stressed and unfit. Dang it. As my doctor says – never read too much into internet information. J Still interesting reading.
As part of my musings, I sat down and did some math on how I spend my time – trying to figure out if and when there were blocks of time I could schedule art. It was an interesting exercise. If the clay class goes ahead I’ll be giving up a half-day of work-work (vs. art-work) in order to fit it in – which isn’t great for the budget but will be good for my mental state, I think. SO, otherwise, weekdays are a bust – between work-work, housework, kids’ school/activities and needing at least 6 hours of sleep; Monday morning to Friday suppertime are gone. Friday nights, I go for a semi-regular ‘artist date’ at a friend’s studio. Sometimes we work. Sometimes (mostly) we drink wine. It’s much needed decompression time.
According to my math there were 20 hours on the weekend ‘free’ but then I had to laugh because, of course, some semesters I teach on Saturday from 9 am to mid-afternoons (6 hours plus commute). And we spend family time – cleaning the house, watching a movie, doing a large grocery run, getting outside to a park or swimming.
Maybe I need more portable art – like some knitters take socks or a scarf wherever they go. A sketchbook didn’t work out. Despite constant lectures, our (almost) 4 year old is a very gleeful runner; if we take eyes off him for a second he’d be out in traffic. I wonder if I could keep clay in a tub and manipulate it while still paying attention? Maybe I could be a fibre artist and actually knit, I can do garter stitch without looking at my hands.
And now it is the 16th.
I am posting “late,” that’s in quotes because the 15th deadline is solely a figment of my imagination. Last night was my eldest’s school dance. After the excitement they were both bouncing off the walls. Maybe it was the dance, or the full-moon, or Mercury in Retrograde, or the cookies – I’m not sure it’s worth speculating. But many stories, downstairs visits, and glasses of water later, it was 11:15 pm and I was falling over, even if they weren’t.
Now, it’s Friday and since I’m not working on applications and my teaching doesn’t start for a couple weeks, it is gloriously free. In the spirit of Zen, I’m going to work on appreciating each moment as it comes and maybe that in itself will transform these days into art.