I carry art supplies the way a writer brings books

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When I hung out with Kevin this weekend, I was reminded of one of his habits. When we got back from Long Beach, he unloaded five books from his backpack, which he never pulled out once while we were hanging out. To the average person, packing away five books in your backpack just in case you find yourself idle as you run errands or hang out with friends seems irrational, but I totally get it. I carry a backpack filled with sewing, painting, drawing supplies-up to four different projects!-just in case. It's not that we want to work all the time. It's just that we love our work, & would love to do it all the time.

Our minds are constantly churning ideas for paintings, stories, plays. We see the world through the lens of our craft. Just like the time I went to Baltimore... I kept thinking, Oh! Just like The Wire! I saw the city through the lens of The Wire. Well, perhaps that was a poor comparison but maybe you get it. Anyway, that mode is always on because somewhere down the line, the craft becomes you. It takes a while to get to that point, but I think that once you get there you stop questioning and doubting yourself in the way a fearful, self-immobilizing beginner would.

I've been talking to a lot of people about discipline. I really do believe it's the deal breaker (yeah! Liz Lemon!) between hobby and professional. Time seems to be the most common excuse for why people don't pursue what they love and want. With discipline, you're intentionally setting aside the time. You're allocating the resources and putting your craft first. Discipline is a tricky skill to learn and it works differently for different people. I think it starts with intention, knowing what's important to you and rarely compromising it. It may be challenging and entering you into a whole new world of struggle, but you'll be happy in a way few, if any, can take away from you.

1 comment:

Richard said...

So that's why I've been carrying around my macbook, wacom tablet, and busting out my wacom pen at parties for the past 5 years...

insightful words, miss.

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