A.W.O.L.

I’m trying very hard not to feel guilty about how I’ve neglected this blog in the past two months.

I may or may not be succeeding in this endeavor.

Rather than apologizing and making excuses about why I’ve been away and where I’ve been, I’m musing about this reoccurring difficulty that I have sticking to any kind of plan. Because this blog is a plan – the thing to keep my on track, keep me accountable, keep a record of my work and my developing creative process and progress. Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it? It’s actually being a real struggle to keep with it – though you could probably guess that from my prolonged absence. But I swear, it’s not you… it’s me.

It’s something that I butt up against regularly in myself – having very noble goals, having exciting and wonderful ideas… and not following through to completion, for one reason or another. Or having a serious heart to heart with myself, major introspection, feel like I’ve made a breakthrough, enough is enough, here I go, turn over that new leaf… only to find myself lapsing into those familiar and comfortable, if totally maladaptive, swampy old habits.I won’t bore you with a laundry list of botched projects and abandoned commitments, but I can assure you it’s not just this blog.

On the one hand though, it’s pretty hard for me to be all that mad at myself about it really – in the past few years I’ve been trying quite consciously to really let myself be distracted, to follow whatever idea pops into my head, even if it isn’t what i’m “supposed” to be working on, because often this is where my most interesting ideas come from. I think that this ebb and flow of motivation and inspiration, this distractability, is an integral part of my creative process, and I’m trying to embrace it. I can’t force myself to be creative when I’m not feeling it, so I try to not force myself to do anything. Allowing myself to be distracted brings me closer to being spontanteous, closer to the exciting edge of improvisation that Nachmanovitch talks about in Free Play. I imagine these distractions then as taking me further into my work, the greater work, the greater craft, i don’t know what scale we’re talking about at this point – maybe my whole life. It doesn’t seen to be outright harmful, and in any case, beating myself up about it was only making me feel shitty about myself, not motivating me to change, so envisioning it as a positive force seems like the only option, really.

On the other hand, getting distracted and totally off course is what leads to a week’s worth of dishes on the counter, a two digit bank balance, dead plants in my dusty studio, etc… Obviously, balance is the key. How does one learn this particularly valuable skill? I am getting pretty good at surrendering to my Muse, but I need to develop a corresponding ability to harness her. A little. Gently. I find it nearly impossible to stick to any kind of self-imposed schedule. I can never seem to agree with myself from day to day what my priorities are. And then there are never enough hours in the day to do all the things on my various lists anyway. Of course, having a wage-labour job now that takes me out of the house, out of my studio, and a commute that eats up a good hour and a half of the day makes sticking any kind of personal creative growth schedule more difficult. But also, much more necessary. I need to figure this out.

Although, I suppose it has got to be totally natural and understandable to have a period of disruption with any big change in one’s life, say, like after starting a new job after being self[un]employed for 6 months, or having major dental surgery, for instance… 😉 [healed up fine, btw, but percocet is the devil]. So I won’t fret about it, and just consider this blip a circumstantial event, rather than a serious cause for more introspection than this. But I have missed you, oh anonymous readership of mine. And you know what? I just realized that I haven’t even taken any photos since Christmas, so I have very little to show you, anyway. In the 3 years that I have owned a digital camera, this is unprecedented. So you know I’ve been a bit off my game! Anyway, I hope I can reestablish a rhythm soon. Any tips regarding the art of balancing one’s life are encouraged.

On the plus side, my job is going really, really well. I am really enjoying it, learning a lot, honing my skills, getting along wonderfully with my boss, scoring lots of sweet free materials — and i just got a raise to boot. And, until the 11th of February, I am working on my own on some projects for my boss while she is away at a trade show in NYC. So today i went over to my studio and tidied up, rearranged the furniture a bit, and generally reestablished a good vibe over to prepare room for Craft to flourish again. In addition to the Work I have to do, I also have a great big swath of lusciously orange, organic wool, waiting to become a cardigan, bright and cheerful printed cottons waiting to become a baby quilt for my expecting friends (could be any day now!), several recon projects to inject my wardrobe with a little energy, and a couple birthdays around the corner that doubtlessly will inspire a little something-something! So stay tuned for a plethora of pretties to be posted in February!

So, hey! Belated Happy New year! I have a good feeling about 2008, I have to say.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Nanner,

    I ❤ U! I wished you lived closer so I could poke u with a stick and you could poke me too. We both need to be poked with sticks every once in a while. Oh and I can’t want to see pictures 😀 I lerv pictures! Miss u.

  2. Dude, whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about your blog! That way lies madness.

    I completely feel where you’re at–have been there many times & will be again in the near future, I’m sure. It seems to be the way of things for les artistes, delicate special snowflakes that we are. Wise mind/mindfulness (just Google “wise mind”) is what helps me the most when it comes to balance etc. The hard part is it requires practice, which kind of requires balance to some extent in and of itself, just to make the space for the practice… it’s hard!

    I think I need to read Free Play. Sounds like it probably ties in a lot with my beloved Barthes’ ideas.

    We are probably going to be in your city in May, for reals this time. I hope we can get together.

    XOXOXO.

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