Monday, January 02, 2017
So tonight is my last night of freedom before it's back to the library. I am trying to do as little as possible in the way of obligations in this obligation-free space since I'll be plunged back into the brisk waters of reality soon enough, so tonight, I am ordering Chinese and being lazy, but I also vowed in some loose resolution, as I do every year, to use this space more,. to blog more, to take more pictures, and as always, to be more present I guess in my own life. (I'm better at this than I used to be, but it always needs improvement.)
Since this blog is the very back of the yard when it comes to mowing through my daily tasks, it is oft neglected for weeks at a time. Sometimes, I forget I even have a blog, Sometimes I forget to forget. Even though I've been writing one for nearly 15 years or so (first on xanga, and on blogger since 2005), I am bad at keeping it up on regular basis, and over time, my yearly number of posts have dwindled from over 250 to under 50. I imagine social media is partly responsible, and I once used this space in the way I use FB now for minor musings and updates. I also have a tumblr that is the news page for my website, so that gets updated with writing/art news regularly with new material.
But here, things can be longer, more introspective (note I say CAN, not that they always are.) I used to be more thoughtful in my posts in the days where I was figuring out things about my own writing, about po-biz, about creative life in general. At one time I posted drafts of work, po-biz, MFA rants. These have all gave way over time to more updatey posts on work in general, more like letters to myself (well, readers too, but probably mostly myself) on what has been happening in the in-betweens. They seem important, important in that way, but somehow I want to do, I dunno, MORE. Daily blogging while sometimes something I promise becomes highly unlikely, especially on days I find it hard to even get to my own creative work, but I'd like to try again. Or maybe even a couple updates a week, even of they are just photos.
I was thinking about what to write about today and staring at a painting I've been kind of working at since I arrived home from the holiday. I came home with some larger canvases and quickly primed them with a heavenly aqua, intending to do some sort of abstract florals (as these are my obsession of late). As a writer, I am not much of a reviser. Maybe once, in the beginning. But now, with a few tweaks, poems seem to develop differently. I approach the page with few expectations about where I want things to go, and in that, there is a great sense of freedom. Of play. Not that things come out perfect or full formed, only that I am usually mostly happy with what I get. Art is similar, and in fact, this change in my writing, as I often say, developed simultaneously with my visual practice.
When I was in my mid to late 20's I would sit down and say, okay I am going to make a birdhouse. The birdhouse would be, of course, imperfect at first, and I would try to make it as sound a birdhouse as I could. And birdhouses were okay. Some readers and some editors and publishers loved birdhouses. The change came when I stopped trying to make birdhouses--when I would sit down and say, well okay, maybe I'll make a birdhouse or maybe not. Maybe I'll get a boat. Or a butterdish. Or even just a bird that doesn't need a house. Things got so much more interesting to me, then, so much more enjoyable. What would I get? Would I get anything? Something really shitty, but maybe the roof could be salvaged? There weren't really any expectations, and some of my best work, both writing and visual, have come from this no man's land. I still say one of the truest things I've ever written are the James Franco pieces, which started off as a joke, a game, something I tricked myself into writing.
And you could probably say there are some greater life philosophies at play. The chief complaint I've heard from people unhappy in their lives is that things have not turned out the way they planned. I mostly, had only vague plans and mostly have only been very happy that things have developed they way they have--that I've been lucky enough to be able to live the way I do, to have been granted a fruitful, if not always smooth and clear road. Turning 40 a couple years back and I had done most things I had every set out to and so much more I'd never even knew was possible.
So for the past couple of days I've been trying to make myself think this way. My mistake is that I am probably taking it too seriously and probably working too much with what I'd like on that canvas in my mind. For one, canvas is spendy and the big ones moreso. I hate to scrap it, or start again by painting over. When working on paper, I regularly throw out the uninspiring and keep the good stuff. Writing is this way too. A lot gets thrown out, cast off, rolled into other things. And maybe the trouble here is that I can't decide whether I want a boat or a birdhouse, or any of those things at all. Or something new at all. Maybe it's time to move away from the florals and toward something else. I guess I'll wait and see what I get.