We are now heading into the concluding weeks of the Spring semester. Time has been measured by the number of rehearsals left before our final projects. It’s been a rush. Not knowing what the final project is “really” going to look like is the true source of angst. I’ve run around both inside my head and through the streets of Chicago, in books and on the internet. It took me a while before I slowed my momentum and acknowledged that I was slightly without form. I had to take a step back to recognize that what I was developing in the process, was MY “process.”
Being given a project and deadline is not a small matter. It is a challenge to present a piece of ourselves. How can an artist best represent themselves in a five minute performance, a three minute song, or a single piece of jewelry? The act of creating is mystical and magical. The raising of oneself to full creative capacity does require stealth-like and steady focus. But I think I found something kind of more important. Process.
Like looking at the negatives of a picture, I began with the tough experiences…the ones that really made me have to stop and exhale (more like a heavy sigh). Those experiences were usually the ones that left me staring off into the distance. I have to confess, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with these moments. I don’t believe creativity would be were it not for the challenge of confusion. There would not be the push toward synchronicity without them.
In the middle of the storm, what I rooted myself with most was knowing that there would be a solution. Knowing that gives me the ability to relax and let go. From there I was free to explore. I then became lost in zooming into and out of everything I found myself considering for that project.
I remember in high school I worked with what was then called Gallery 37 (now After School Matters). After being given instructions for our projects, we would often take field trips to get inspiration for our work. It took a few days of being pissed off and feeling like I had no clue what I was doing before I started “looking” into stuff (basically researching) and taking notes. For me it takes lots of note taking before I feel like my “looking at things” is done and I can step back and see what I’ve come up with. Inspiration is so sweet!
Putting it all together. Thats one of those toughies that comes RIGHT after feeling like you found some great inspiration. But what am I supposed to do with all of these “things” I’ve collected? How do I put it all together? Like legos without instructions.
That beautiful taste of that moment. The one that makes your eyes shine, and you shout without pause. The sensation of magic when at first you and your creation finally meet. The awe and wonder. There’s nothing like it. I believe thats why we do it. As artists, I believe thats the real sweetness of the victory right there. That smiley, laugh-ey, fist pumping, make your body move, hug someone you love, good cry, spiritually transformative, holy cow, surprise ourselves, and just plain thankful, gift of a moment is the reason.
The projects and classes this semester challenged me to continue toward the understanding of what my real, true work is. Running around not knowing what I wanted to say has been the most painfully frustrating, and yet my biggest lesson. It was is my search for clues where I reconnected with and realized that I have a process, and its my process. I believe that there is power in knowing what our process is and how we work.
May our process be clear, and our journey unpredictably creative!