One Reason


I, like every other human on this planet, have made a decision based on the 101 reasons why something won’t work.  A job.  I don’t know that area very well.  Suddenly I don’t know if I have the skills to do the work.  A creative project.  I can’t start a blog.  I have nothing of value to say.  A business opportunity.  Buy a building and start a company!  I don’t know anything about business.   A relationship.  We’ve only known each other a couple months.  We live so far apart.  Positive things don’t happen that fast.  A vacation.  Fly to a country where I don’t speak the language to meet a friend that I haven’t known very long.  Am I crazy?

Those reasons that it won’t work are based on fear and resistance.  (Stephen Pressfield has several excellent books on resistance.  I highly recommend The War of Art.)  We have to fight through fear and resistance every day.  What are we really afraid of?  In a society that rewards mediocrity and following the status quo, I think the answer is being different and failure.

There was a study done where kindergarteners were asked if they were creative.  Every single student raised their hand.  Each consecutive grade was asked the same thing.  As the students got older and older, less and less of them would raise their hand when asked if creative.  When they got to graduating seniors, a mere handful of students out of hundreds would raise their hand.  The system trains us not to be creative.  As children we believed in possibility.  We believed we could do stuff.  We were our own reason.

As to failure…….we have got to learn not to be afraid of it.  (See there is fear again.)  You are going to mess up.  The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes.  We cannot have success without failure.  Take the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

What if we changed our assumptions?  What if we went on the basis or idea that it will work?  This blog is proof of me changing my assumptions.  I found the one reason why it will work.  I am my own reason.  I am doing it because I want to.  I am doing it to challenge myself as a creative individual.  I want my voice to be a positive message out in the universe.

Find your one reason.  Change your assumptions.  Do the work.

You Make Boxes!?!

It is interesting that two of the blogs I follow have discussed the concept that even when you are doing good work and it is the work that you are meant to do, there will always be people who won’t get it.  As if I hadn’t experienced that enough in my life…..I got to experience it again to really drive home this concept.

I am a Contemporary Narrative Collage Artist.  I work in oil paint, acrylic, water media, photography, printmaking, drawing, collage, colored pencils, crayons, paper making, marbleizing paper, etc.  My work has evolved over the years and is changing all the time.  Currently I am exploring the construction and creation of boxes.

Last February I needed a very small box to put a gift in.  I couldn’t find anything that worked, so I decided to make a box myself.  Once I started the process it couldn’t be just any kind of box…… had to be a box that my friend would want to display.  I spent two months figuring out how to make that first box.  Measuring and cutting.  Measuring again and cutting again.  Challenges with adhesives.  Sewing on accoutrements verses gluing.  Finally I completed a box worthy of the gift and my friend.

I find things to create my artwork in Art Supply Stores, Hardware Stores, Craft Stores, Fabric Stores, and sometimes I just pick stuff up off the ground.  There are some stores that the sales associates are friendly and helpful even if they don’t understand or care what you do.  But there is always that person who gives you the look (you know the one I am talking about) and is condescending.  They act like your work isn’t real and has no value.

Recently I was in a craft/fabric store.  Generally when I shop at this particular store the sales associates are friendly, polite, helpful and will leave you alone if that is what you desire.  So I was shopping for a variety of materials: paper, chip board, embroidery floss, buttons, ribbon, rick rack, and sticks for my glue gun.  I bring my basket to the register and a person I have not seen before is at the counter.  She comments on the odd collection of materials I am purchasing.  I state that I am an artist and that I make boxes.  She made the face (the one we talked about before) and said “You make boxes!?!”  I proceeded to show her pictures of my work that I had on my phone.  She raised one of her eyebrows and said “Oh.”

Not everyone is going to get what you do (even after you show them).

One could take this experience personally.  Have it affect the way they create in the future.  I am telling you right now that if you don’t have people giving you the look and not getting what you do you are not doing the right creative work.  Keep creating.  Your work is real and it has value.  Create in order that you might get the look.

Impermanence or Why I Started Writing a Blog

Buddhists have it right when it comes to impermanence or change.  The sun sets and the moon rises, plants grow, summer follows spring, on and on the cycle of change continues.  Change is the only constant in the universe.

My friend, Sue, told me about a friend of hers who had lost her husband on Wednesday this past week.  There was no warning.  He had not had an illness or surgery.  No known health issues.  She talked to him, went to make dinner, and then he was gone.  He had died within minutes.

Things can change in your life that quickly….

I started thinking about things that I want to do and the many reasons I use to validate myself in not doing them.  I realized I need to do them…. sooner rather than later.  This is the first.  For the past couple years, I have talked about writing a blog.  Now I am.  This is my first post.

I enjoy writing.  I didn’t realize it until several years into my morning pages.  (Thank you Julia Cameron.)  It turns out I am a multi-media artist who likes to play with words.  Who knew?  Blogging is a way for me to do something I enjoy and allows me to stretch my creative muscles in a different way.

Life is uncertain.  Life is impermanent.  What do you want to do to live a more creative life?  What does that first step look like?  Now go do it.  I did.  Right now is the time to get started.