Friday, January 27, 2017

The Shit That Sticks

The biggest hurdle is beginning. Even in this post, the first sentence took me 40 hours to start, and I can't imagine anything I will write past this point could be as aggravating.

I can't claim to be a writer. All my life I've had plenty ideas and thought-out opinions about the world, but its never been something I've expressed. The closest I come is in deeper conversations, but in a lot of ways that's cheating because it's a dialogue we tease out of one another. Writing is a statement from you. A back and forth may reveal truths, but writing anything remains a single uninterrupted line of thought- and trying to make your point convincingly and totally within that space you create to a reader is intimidating to say the least. I trust the conclusions I arrive at in my head, but until I am good at communicating them, the answers I arrive at will only satisfy the Me in my head. But I guess that just isn't satisfying enough anymore.

I'm hesitant of beginning because I know it won't be pretty. There is a fixation on mastery with mystery. The child prodigies, the wise hermits, and the geniuses are all revered because they don't show weakness. They simply produce brilliance. What they create and what they solve is bold- it's beautiful in its simplicity and totality. What they make is perfect because they made it with no compromise. It simply is. The minute I hash out a process to myself or anyone else, that spontaneous creation is lost. I can't afford to play quiet and insightful anymore. That's daunting. It's a concession of my flaws, and my willingness to move past them. I even came up with the title of this blog partially as a way to self-depreciate my way out of respectable expectations. I've had this issue during the process of attempting to master several things in my lifetime. I am not good at slogging through the initial part of being bad at things. I'd much rather bide my time and study up so I can be good- or at least passable- right out of the gate. At some point however that simply isn't an effective way to improve. Experience is simply too valuable to forego in any medium worth its salt, and besides muscle memory, experience in a craft really just boils down to figuring out what doesn't work.

I've had this wake up call a few different times in my multiple competitive careers, but I only recently had one for my art. I would be happy to pretend that you learn a life lesson once and that's enough, but apparently that just isn't the case. After all, I am writing this at an alarmingly late hour yet again because holding sleep hostage seems to be the ultimate motivator. It seems procrastination is next on the list of my problem confronting. The specific indecent that spurred this artistic wake up call will actually be my next blog post. It is not related to any in class experiments, but it is a rather critical step in my journey as an artist, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't rather proud of it.

Fortunately, during all that forced development I've picked up an understanding of the efficiency in improving. Unfortunately, a massive part of great efficiency in improvement is practice. Conscious practice, but also the sheer number of attempts, regardless of quality. And yes, this involves the bits that are miserable and ugly failures. Michelangelo once said something about how his brilliance wouldn't look so brilliant if you saw all the trial and error involved, but it would be dishonest for me to paste the exact quote and pretend I remembered it. I hope it was Michelangelo. The point is, at some point on your path to doing anything worth anyone's time you have to throw your shit at the wall, and you have to figure out what sticks. So excuse whatever it is that happens to ooze out of this blog, and I will try to do the same for others. I cant pretend I've enjoyed every fledgling artistic expression that has been shared with me in my adventures in creative workshops, but each attempt remains better than mine already because at least they've shared something with the world. And eventually, that something is bound to stick.