Monday, October 12, 2015

Conversations with Myself About Art

Because I lack an immediate, present artistic community (a perpetual sore point for me), I have no other recourse sometimes than to talk to myself. If I am in public, this is done in my head (although I can't help making occasional facial expressions), and if I am in private, this is sometimes done aloud. I had one such conversation tonight, sitting in my studio.

I had just read the most recent Slice of Infinity post on the RZIM website. Apparently I was thinking about the nature of that blog, the new RZIM Institute facility they're building, what Sara Groves said about the "space" to create art in her recent video, and who knows what else.

At any rate, I imagined I was seated at a table with the RZIM team - a big, oval conference table - having a discussion about something or other, and I ended up talking about the artistic process.

It was great to have someone to discuss it with.

Seriously, though.

For my part, the artistic process is synthesis. It's an osmosis of Stuff that gets synthesized into ideas and concepts and feelings and moods, and it gets solidified and defined on paper as a piece of writing. The osmosis comes naturally from living life, reading, and listening. The synthesis takes time and quiet and as much osmosis material as possible. The actual creation takes time and energy. Lots and lots of time and energy.*

It takes "space."

That space can be hard to find - I've got a lot of irons in the fire.

When I do find it, I often don't know what to do with it. Because I don't currently support myself through my writing, taking that kind of time feels wasteful. It feels like luxury; it feels lazy. Surely I should be doing something - anything - else. So I do.**

Because sitting at a table and just ... thinking ... is ridiculous. Going for an hour-long walk around the neighborhood not for the sake of exercise is a waste of time. Listening to that new Sara Groves album multiple times - really listening to it, no multi-tasking - is lazy.

But it's not. Those things are springboards for inspiration. Those things are necessary.

*This process usually involves or results in a lot of conversations with God, another activity we tend to mistake for a waste of time.

**When I find space and realize it, life is very, very, good. And I tend to not get any sleep.

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