Writing Home

1.'Laid to Rest 80,000...Spirits (east)'--Cat Fink
Laid To Rest 80,000 Obstructing Spirits (east)

I moved to my southern studio in late March.  It takes a couple weeks to find rhythm and routine when I shift from one studio and home to the other.  I’m always a bit off balance during those two weeks, but I notice this time it is seven weeks plus and I am still not settled.

I know that I haven’t been writing my morning pages.  When I count back, I see three days written out of the fifty-three days I have been here.  “Not very good,” my mind comments on the obvious.

It’s a direct route for me, from an absence of morning pages to an absence of writing and drawing as my daily priority.  Morning pages are the doorway.  They remind me how vital creating is to my life, and how I am not paying attention to something that is breath for me.

Not only am I not paying attention to what I need, I am not allowing myself to choose that creating comes first in my day.

Do I not love myself enough to let myself do the thing I love?

This is a new studio and home.  I am taking care of the new-home tasks, and not taking care of myself and my creative practice.

No one is pushing me to do the home tasks first.  There is only me pushing me, and  I need to quit pushing.  Better yet, I need to write my morning pages because always, solutions and the right choice show up in those pages.  Balance shows up.

Sigh.

Here I am, reaching for balance in my life again.

When I don’t write morning pages, I am no longer at home to myself.  I am not living in the centre of me, my life, and my creativity.  No surprise, then, that I am currently out of sorts and resenting the to-do list I wrote.

This is an old pattern, putting all else before my creative needs.  I struggled with it in art school, and made it the theme of my graduating body of work.  I’ve been through this so many times, I thought I had it solved.  I should be more like a friend’s mother, who frequently served burned dinners because she was at the other end of the house, painting in her studio.  She had her priorities right.  I should hang one of her paintings (I have five) on my studio wall, just to remind me.  Yes, put that on the to-do list.

This is all about choice and loving myself.  The choice is always mine to give myself permission and do something I love.  The choice is always mine to make creativity my first priority.  I choose, again.  Write my morning pages, find my centre, then write and draw myself home.

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In this post:

Morning pages come from Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way: 25th Anniversary Edition, Penguin Publishing Group, 2016.  I purchased my first copy in 1994, the year before I entered art school.  I have two more copies, 2002 editions, with my teaching notes scribbled all over the margins and end papers.  That first one saved me in 1994.  Thank you, Julia.  http://juliacameronlive.com/

Warp Speed Creativity

cat-fink-what-gives-me-joy-nov-8-2016-colour
What Gives Me Joy Nov 8 2016

I have compressed my creative process into a month-long, fully-completed-drawing-a-day challenge. No, challenge is not the word, although this is challenging in every way. No, the word is assignment, because I expect and know I will complete each daily drawing.

‘Make it so!’ I say to myself each morning, Captain Cat Fink on the bridge of her studio sighting the creative horizon. Warp 10. (Yes, Star Trek fan, total creative fun.)

I’m drawing at warp speed. There is something that begins to happen when I work with this intensity and compression.

Instead of feeling more emotional stress, I feel less. I am moving at such speed that I pass through these emotions into full creation mind much sooner than usual. I know I have experienced this quickening before, but I had forgotten. Such pleasure to reacquaint myself with this phenomenon.

Part of this change is knowing I want this drawing complete by the end of the day. I have no time to be a drama queen. No wasting my time and energy on emotional upset. My time and energy and emotions are here to be used for drawing, not for whining about drawing.

There is more to this. I have set an intention.  I am focused on this alone–be here in the gallery’s studio in my creative process and nowhere else. The intention sets a boundary for me, even though my drawing itself has no boundaries. It tells me where to put my attention and energy and emotions, all on the sheet of paper in front of me. It makes the choice of what to do with all my creative energy very very easy. Draw.

Part of this change is daily movement through my complete creative process. Trust shows up, based on the tangible proof of the drawing I completed yesterday. My mind says, I did this yesterday, I can do it again today. And I do.

I am reminded here I do better as a daily creator than a stop-and-start creator.

Could I sustain this warp speed creativity for longer than this month?

Possibly not. I have a life outside of my studio that feeds my creative life, and it is lacking some attention right now. This intense activity would eventually drain my creative well, as I am pouring creative energy out onto the page faster than I am replenishing it. I know that my long term creative process requires periods of rest and quiet, letting inspiration arrive and develop a richness that eventually says create me now. Seeds in the ground awaiting the right season to move above the surface and be seen. My warp speed creativity, while fun and crazily productive, lacks true balance.

That said, I am realizing that a month of warp speed creativity, set amidst my more sedate daily creativity, is a very good thing. I am thinking I want this as a new creative habit.

Warp 10. Carry on, Captain.

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The Joy Diary interactive art show is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC.  The show runs to November 26th.  Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.  I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th.  Come and join me!   https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/