Anytime we stepped outside yesterday, Ariella and I were surrounded by dragonflies. Can you see them? There were thousands of them. Their specialty is eating mosquitos so we are only too happy to see so many. For them, we post a “like”. Or better, a “love”. See how handy I am(not)? I don’t even know where the emojis are on this keyboard (or where they are).
On the way to Maine this past weekend, Ariella read aloud to me an essay that really affected her. Nika, her sister, had passed it on to her when she was asking questions about her life and career. Her ambition, as it were. It’s long. But I thought EVERY PART of it sings.
I’ll send the link here and hope you read it in its entirety. The subject: women and ambition: http://hazlitt.net/longreads/snarling-girl. Ariella and I discussed it at length afterwards. But the very core of it: that what matters most is the happiness that you derive from your work, not all the “likes” and “loves” and craziness to be recognized.
And there is so much of that these days – the emojis, etc. And so much pressure. It doesn’t feel good to me. I’m not someone who is at home on the computer. I spend an inordinate amount of time saying “Aaaaugh!” Even so, I admit that I enjoy writing this blog, even though it seems like it is its own creature. It’s own art form. Writing. My visual art sources from a really different part of me. It doesn’t come from the a + b + c = success place. It comes from – where?
I know where it does NOT come from. It does not come from thinking. It does not come from a plan. Well, maybe a plan, as in, I’m doing art today. But, if I tell someone: I have this great idea – before I’ve done the idea – it will not be what I’d told them.
I know that interruption is good for me. I know that being thrown off routine always serves me well. I know I am fed by the unexpected.
I also know that I seek, I’m eager for a “formula” that will work. What will make my art even better? I quickly find someone’s suggestion (on the internet perhaps) and insert it as that magic formula. It’s a false god, every time. EVERY TIME.
It’s NOT knowing. It’s not having a path that relies on the mind. It’s letting go of all that buzzing going on all around and going with what is happening inside me that is my guide.
Right now, my work is about it’s what I call “stubborn color”. I was doing color all light and airy for months. Now it’s dark, dense, concentrated. Grrrrrrrr. All stuck and tight and intense. Yes.
Give all those hearts and likes to those sweet dragonflies who are only interested in mosquitos. And let me be like them. Searching for my own “food”.
And yes, do read the article(above). An excerpt from it… Elisa Albert:
Right, and okay, be ambitious, whatever that looks like for you, but don’t confuse your own worth with anyone else’s definition of success. And don’t think that if you happen to impress people you must be very impressive indeed. And don’t imagine that if you play by someone else’s rules you can win. Anyway, there is no winning. Anyway, the game is suspect. Anyway, write your own rules! Anyway, WHO HAS TIME FOR GAMES!?