Since I last posted about chi-stipation, I've made some inroads. I can now actually walk straight into my studio, without worrying about a shower of glass shards, (although it's still far from neat and organized) I've finished two large mosaics, one which I submitted to a national juried show, the other to a show themed "American Dream" for a local gallery here. I'm working on a commissioned piece (not a mosaic) and several other things that will end up being travel posters for the summer library program.
In other words, I'm busy. And this is a good thing. But...(and isn't there always a "but"?) I still feel like I'm not doing it right. Which makes me wonder, what is doing it "right?" What do I expect from myself that I'm not getting?
I've always struggled with this. When I'm writing I feel like I should be making mosaics, when I'm making mosaics I feel like I should be doing more cut paper work, and when I'm doing cut paper work I think about painting more or quilting more or just something else, more.
And I ALWAYS feel like I should be spending more time with the kids, gardening more, exercising more, and just, in general, being a better person. When it gets like this I never think I should be watching more television and yet somehow, I always manage to find time for that.
I've read lots of books on how to be more creative. I learned a lot from Julia Cameron and "The Artist's Way." I loved Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" about the writing life. And I believe that Stephen Pressfield's "The War of Art" should be required reading for everyone aspiring to the creative life. And virtually every book, article or random piece of advice I've ever read or heard has one element included in it.
If you want to be a...insert artistic pursuit here...focus on doing that. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by other things you could be doing. And yet that is exactly what I end up doing.
But what would I give up? See. That's the real question. It's not so much that I'm distracting myself away from my "true" goal, which may or may not be true, but that I have such a hard time letting go of the other things. I can't imagine not writing. I can't imagine not making mosaics or painting or cutting up gorgeous little bits of paper.
I almost managed to walk away from quilting. I gave it up for several years. But this spring, when my family received a particularly cruel blow, I found myself making a baby quilt for the friend of my son. It was like comfort food, flexing the scissors and threading the machine.
So like it or not, I'm going to be doing these many things that I do. And I'm resigned to that. I just need to find the balance that will allow me to be productive and yet not feel as though I'm missing out on some other great adventure.