Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Challenge - dreamtime

Now that I've been crafting the Home-Made Revision Workshop for all of you who are doing that - I really want to focus the Friday Challenge on the bigger artistic picture. My imagination is that we are all together during the week, attending with great precision to our work, taking little breaks to eat and chat and then going back at it. On Fridays, a larger group joins us. Some of them are writers, some are visual artists, and some are creatives, pure and simple. Fridays is for getting out of our writing cubicles, walking in the world, and seeing why we do what we do.

This Friday (or the Friday of your life you can do this, which may well be a Saturday or a Wednesday), I want you to walk. Notice what you notice with your senses - what you taste, smell, how your legs feel moving through space, the colours of the leaves and weeds and the sounds of the critters, or neighbours (or neighbours who are critters). After your mind has settled with this practice, I want you to walk dreaming. By that I mean I want you to dream about some project you are working on, or hope to work on, and how it lives in the world. Perhaps you are working on a mystery and in it, you have a teen who is challenged in some way - in a wheel chair, deaf, or autistic. Maybe your mystery doesn't star this person - but nonetheless they are present. And you show them overcoming this adversity, and surprising their friends and family, by doing something no one thought they could do. Then you might imagine a teen reading this, or an old person, or a depressed middle-aged woman. All of them experience a lift in their hearts and spirits when they read this. Imagine that it allows them to rise up to meet some challenge in their own lives.

Yes, fiction can change people. So can songs - a friend of mine going through a terrifically horrendous time, was saved from taking her own life when she heard the lyrics sung by Rita McNeil - Rise Again. I have been raised up by paintings - ineffable images that cheered my dark mood, or at least let me know I wasn't alone. Sometimes it might be a meal that a friend lovingly puts together, with all elements designed to please and warm. Imagine your work creating this gap in some one's suffering and know that I'm not talking fuzzy kittens here. Your work could come from a dark place in yourself - might be complex and the farthest thing from cheery AND it could still cause another's heart to ease.

Red Deer by Barbara Berry 
We have this painting in our home and I can tell you that it changed my life and continues to.

I know, I know - this is corny. But why do you write or paint or create music or design buildings or envision any project? Do you not want to help create enlightened society? I believe you do. So dream it first - visualize it, so your very being will be reminded as to why you struggle with your art.

3 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

I love the idea of dreaming first and then creating. Can I just say, when I first saw the painting, it gave me the willies but after staring at it for awhile, it's growing on me.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - What I really like about your suggestion is that you encourage us to be open to whatever it is moves us. That's different for all of us but it's there. And it's so empowering to remember that when we create, we can lift others, too. Wonderful reminder, too, that there's a reason there's more than one of us on the planet.

Words A Day said...

i love this post - we so often forget to stand back, to think of the bigger picture. I love that painting; its so powerful, do you know the artist?