Last week after a long, looong day at the cube farm, followed by a pretty hard-core kickboxing session with my trainer (how bourgeois is that that statement?) I dropped into my chair in my living room in an attempt to (i) crochet or knit something, anything, (ii) generally just decompress from the day's events and (iii) get through the hours of tube-action recorded on my DVR. Flipping through the list of the unwatched I settled upon an episode of Iconoclasts featuring Quentin Tarantino and Fiona Apple, both of whom I really like. (I also like that they're friends and have a sort of mutual admiration society going. )
Anyhow, as soon as the show/dialogue began I immediately found myself coming back to life and of course, sinking deep into thought (as is my way) at some of the ideas/conundrums/concepts debated and discussed by the dueling fonts of creativity. Although there was much said that resonated for me, I have to say that the portion of the dialogue that I cannot seem to shake centered upon the act of pouring huge amounts of self into a project and the subsequent "recovery process" that this kind of output can entail upon completion of said project. Obviously for Tarantino and Apple project is defined as entire film or album. For moi project is usually much smaller in scope (60" piece of wool bacon and the like) with occasional larger efforts here and there (large sculptural pieces like the squid - terrible pic, pirate and mermaid). Nonetheless, creative efforts cause us to expend the required amount of energy commensurate with project purview.
Definitely an intriguing topic for us who make stuff, yes indeed-y.
So, what happens to the maker after the energy has been expended and the project is complete? I can only speak for myself in this regard, but sometimes this completion signals a green light to begin something new, something never tried, something that builds upon the wisdom acquired from the previous effort, something that's been on the back burner desperately waiting to come to fruition. The remaining times I feel completely and utterly spent, having pushed forth a huge amount of myself literally outside myself in an effort to nurture an idea from conception through creation to completion. This process, my creative journey if you will, is all at once exhilarating, frustrating, exhausting, energizing, fraught with problems and solutions, wrought with pitfalls, freefalls and wonder. Really, after an experience of making such as the one just described I just want go have a smoke, and that's saying something for someone who hasn't taken a puff in 10 years give or take. It is in those times when the making is made and my creative self is exhausted that the time is ripe for turning my back to workspace in order to give mind and body a rest.
Whoa LadyLinoleum! What are you talking about? You seem to be switched to "on" 24/7!
Well my peoples, this current chick of the green blog that you now know as LadyLinoleum, is a direct result of the empty artist taking a break. And I don't mean weeks or months folks. Nope. After having expended copious amounts of energy to complete graduate school and a subsequent stint in teaching I was quite simply, empty. And being without contents? Yeah, I just couldn't make a thing. For about three years. And I survived. And when I was rested and ready, I hit the ground running so to speak, creativity intact and stronger than ever, if I do say so myself. And you know what? Apparently the Tarantinos and Apples of the world experienced similar if not longer respective hiatuses, each making nothing in between projects for about six years.
I am not alone. Nor am I anomalous I believe.
The great thing about human nature is our ability to rest and regenerate. The frustrating thing about human nature is our need to rest and regenerate. At least I found it frustrating when I was a young Linoleum, raring and ready to go for the next challenge or event. Now that I'm older, I recognize the positive aspects of rest and relaxation and their ability to quiet mind and body. When mind and body are quiet, they are also open. Open means those creative receptors are charged and queued, ready to tackle a new masterpiece.
Who knew empty could be so deep? Well, if you did, you are not only on your way to becoming a Buddhist monk, but you're a much more evolved person than I. However, if the pencil tip of your mind is, um, a little eroded much like mine, there's hope for you yet! Woo Hoo!