Saturday, July 24, 2010
Down to the Bones
Times come where one must simplify and get down to the bones of life.
Many of you know that I read Robert Genn's Twice-Weekly Letters, which arrive in my Inbox with blessed regularity. His last missive was titled "Finding Your Voice." A reader sent Robert a query involving finding one's voice. Mr. Genn's answer began with this: "First off, and contrary to what I've said before, plans can actually derail the voice-finding process. Further, you have to know what you mean by "voice." Voice in style is different than voice in cause. Ideally, style develops over time. Cause is based on attitude and issue. With growth and development, causes change. A predetermined voice shackles creativity."
Robert's novella was ripe with knowledge, which I won't go into here, but will share four points that were highlighted. For those of you who aren't familiar, Robert Genn is a painter and his Twice-Weekly letters mainly focus on painting and the overall creative. I have found his wisdom to be extremely illuminating, touching all manner of subjects not related to painting in and of itself.
That said, he listed 4 things to help one find one's voice:
1. You need to make stuff.
2. You need hunger.
3. You need curiosity.
4. You need joy.
Plans can indeed derail the voice-finding process. In my case, the fear and drudgery of all things non-creative - the business side - has caused paralysis and sucked the joy right out of my craft. Also, a constantly changing home life - destabilization - gives little time for creativity. I'm off balance.
Robert ends with his usual piece of Esoterica, as follows: "What's my voice?" has to be asked by each individual artist. Committee-free, the artist needs to develop her voice as if on an island. To be a voice is to be a different voice, set apart, unique. How to find it? Go to your island, put in long hours, fall in love with process--your voice will come out of your work."
I'm thinking long hours in a peaceful surrounding, perhaps at a local convent or park, would be helpful. "Away" seems to be the best option. Peace and quiet, reflection, journaling and nature calls to me.
Cause for concern is that my camera never leaves its case these days. The last time I visited the lake it sat in the same spot I plunked it upon arriving, never moving until I left 3 days later. Further, it never crossed my mind. Upon leaving I realized it was there and was startled to realize that I'd forgotten about it entirely.
What do you do when you feel you've lost all four points, above?