When we have an artistic impulse, sometimes we KNOW what it’s pulling us towards – our creation already exists inside us, and our quest is to manifest that imagined reality in the physical universe.
It’s kind of like the Pinocchio story, but from Geppetto’s side: “I long for a son. I see him so clearly and love him so desperately that he is real to me! Aaaagh but he isn’t real to everyone else. Wait! I will build that son! If I do it well enough, he will become real and he will love me back!”
[Thanks to Wikipedia for the image at left]
Sometimes I experience the thing I’m creating as if it already exists before I create it, like Geppetto did. When that happens, the vision pulls me through the creative process and the struggle (yes, I experience it as a struggle and I love struggling with it) is to create what I’ve imagined into the real world with so much truth that other people can actually experience what I once only imagined.yes, I experience it as a struggle and I love struggling with it Click To Tweet
That is a true artistic success.
But sometimes I DON’T have a vision. I just have a restless, longing quest for I don’t know what. Or I feel nothing and I want to feel something.
When that happens, I don’t need to realize my creation – need to discover my creation.
One of the best ways, as an artist, to embark on a journey of discovery is to commit to a practice — and allow it to work on you.
The book “Eat, Pray, Love” was a book about that kind of quest – where the author began the practice with no idea what it would lead to.
Musician Jonathan Coulton’s “Thing a Week” project was that kind of quest: Coulton commitment to create and release one new ‘thing’ a week – a new MP3, a new music video, whatever. The quest was to see where that would take him, to discover the artist he would become, to let the journey shape HIM.The quest was to let the journey shape HIM Click To Tweet
It was a journey of BECOMING.
In my yearlong Mastermind, “Harness Your Muse” I work with artists who make a yearlong commitment to themselves as artists – a commitment to complete works, and to release them, and a commitment to practices that will reveal their own art both to themselves and the world.
Some see clearly where they want to go, others are starting the journey to find out where they’re going.
How about you?
Do you know what you want to create or to perform? Do you see it, hear it, feel the shape of it inside you? Do you KNOW it’s there and long to move closer to it?
In either situation, developing an artistic practice of creation-search-and-discovery is a powerful first step – and that’s what we do in my “Harness Your Muse” mastermind.What’s your practice? How do you bring it alive? Click To Tweet
How about you? What’s your practice? What have you discovered on your journey? How are you bringing it alive?
Are you searching for more clarity on that? Fill out the application for my “Harness Your Muse” program – seriously, just fill out the application – because the application process itself will give you clarity.
Do you want to shift that journey into high gear? Do you know you can’t do it alone? Join me and an incredible group of musicians for a year that will change your life. Learn more an apply here: HarnessYourMuse.com
Do we shape art, or does it shape us ? good question! I suppose there are more then one answer. but this I”m sure…. If we do not plunge in, our art won’t shape us. So first thing is to commit to making something, and seeing it thru.
I think it’s cool that you help harpists do it together, so you can all help other to finish what they have begun.
For me personally, both questions are true, and they feed off each other. However, I am not writing fresh material, but re-arranging what a composer has already written.
When I’m asked to be part of a project, I have to work within the parameters of time and (usually) of the page. In that situation, my job is to use my skills to make my part in the project as fabulous as possible. Ergo, I am using my skills to shape the art.
But… when I’ve found an idea to work on completely for myself and completely from scratch, then I have to be open to doing whatever I need to in order to get the result that I want. Maybe I need to learn how to play a certain rhythm, or how to use a new piece of equipment, or how to play standing up in completely badass shoes. All of those options require me to go outside my comfort zone, (literally, in the case of the shoes!), but all of them teach me skills that make me more than what I was when I started. I build and I grow and I change, and I believe all of those things make me a better artist, regardless of how I present my work to the world. Ergo, the art changes me.
And even if I only learn what doesn’t work and/or end up somewhere or something that I don’t like, I’ve still made progress. Sometimes you learn who you are by learning who you aren’t.
Hey Jennifer! Thank you so much for your comment! I just saw it (I got a spate of spam and just now teased out the real comments – so happy to see yours!). I love the idea of you practicing standing up to play in completely badass shoes. Love this “Sometimes you learn who you are by learning who you aren’t.” (And sometimes it takes me DECADES to discover the 2nd) (or maybe lifetimes??)
Your description of “a restless, longing quest for I don’t know what” describes me perfectly. It is a deep interior ache, a groping for SOMETHING that you want desperately, yet somehow you don’t know what it IS. That is what propelled me to start you “Harness Your Muse” program. I can’t wait to see what this creative endeavor brings into the light of day.