Love this essay. This is why I’d rather insist on taking chances, on always working to instigate the new unknown let’s just try it and see what happens, than fall back on what I already suspect will succeed because there is “no room to fail,” as they say.
Restless dissatisfaction with self and its accompanying anguish make great things happen. So if I am thinking I can handle a theatrical challenge I lose interest. I am driven to do things I do not know how to do and I strive to create situations precisely where I do not know what’s happening or going to happen.
July 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm
This was great! Thanks for sharing. I’ve emailed links to his post to several friends and even reposted his essay in its entirety on my own blog.
Here’s a question I’ve been wrestling with lately. It seems that our infatuation with the products of creativity lead us down this road of aiming more at familiar results. When we were kids our creativity was undirected and couldn’t fail, because there was usually no such thing as winners and losers. We were all about the process. We did it because of its intrinsic value. Only later in life where creativity gets tied to commercial efforts (for professional artists and designers) does it seem that we trade out that naive acceptance of process for a obsesstion with the end results. The question is how we reclaim creative process in the face of such enormous pressure.
I see his essay as providing a partial answer to that question: If we distract ourselves from our insidious mastery we get to simply see what happens. We let the process take us in unanticipated directions rather than landing safely on stale already mapped out perches.
The problem I see is that even in creative industry there is so little room for pure, undirected, and aimless creativity. We see things like a fascination with innovation and novelty outbalancing efforts that don’t yield results. Creativity becomes significantly outward directed and extrinsically motivated.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, since it seems your process is partly built on “working to instigate the new unknown” (Great quote!). When artists get paid for products not process how do we keep ourselves from giving in to the seduction of familiar results?
July 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Thanks for the great comment.
Excuse my delayed response.
I’ve been thinking about your question, but it is a difficult one.
I think a lifestyle shift is required. People need to be attracted to process as much as product as part of their daily lives. The fact that there is a trend of people making things again at all is promising.
At this point, I personally have been so preoccupied with firming a new discipline of spiritual practice in my life, I can’t seem to separate that from your question.
So for me, this is a matter of faith in zen. Of letting go of fear and allowing ourselves to become childlike and vulnerable to the magic that lies along the path if only we open our eyes and our minds to it. Of embracing the difficulties and discomforts rather than turning away from them and learning how to make use of all that we’ve been given. Of trusting our own hearts and instincts and not, out of fearfulness, relying on someone else to tell us how to respond to the world.
peace and blessings,