May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art—write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
I had a great idea for a new book, although come to think of it, maybe it is just a Facebook post. But it would be called Pre First Draft, and address the way we suit up and show up to be writers, artists, and general tribal-two-stomp creative types.
I think it would begin with an admonition: if you used to love writing, painting, dancing, singing, whatever, but you stopped doing it when you had kids or began a strenuous career, then you have to ask yourself if you are okay about not doing it anymore.
If you always dreamed of writing a novel or a memoir, and you used to love to write, and were pretty good at it, will it break your heart if it turns out you never got around to it? If you wake up one day at eighty, will you feel nonchalant that something always took precedence over a daily commitment to discovering your creative spirit?
If not—if this very thought fills you with regret—then what are you waiting for?
Back in the days when I had writing students, they used to spend half their time explaining to me why it was too hard to get around to writing every day, but how once this or that happens—they retired, or their last kid moved out—they could get to work.
I use to say very nicely, “That’s very nice; but it’s a total crock. Continue reading
pathwriter’s note: A dancer/choreographer friend of mine shared this video on Facebook a few days ago. The following text, written by Justin Fox, introduced the video on the Zen Garage website:
Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.
At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.
pathwriter’s note: I hesitate to attempt to put words to this photo. When I saw it on Facebook earlier today, my response was immediate, a sudden welling up of joy. I know this place. I have been moved to move, just like this little girl. There really are no words…and no words are necessary. This is the gift of dance: it expresses the things that cannot be communicated with mere words.
(There was no credit with the photo, but it is late and I am tired—from teaching three back-to-back ballet classes, oddly enough—so I’ll have to see if I can find out who the photographer is tomorrow. The painting is a portrait of Anna Pavlova by John Lavery.)
If you knew your art would support your life, how would you live?
Believing is all a child does for a living.
Picasso once said that artists are those of us who still see with the eyes of children. Somehow, as we journey into the world, more and more gets in the way, and we stop questioning things in order to move deeper into them and start questioning as a way to challenge things that we fear are false. Continue reading
If I create from the heart, nearly everything works. If from the head, almost nothing.