Thursday, April 03, 2008

why we suffer

I had a terribly unfulfilled day at the studio today. Sara had the day off, and it was a Thursday, my favorite day of the week. I love Thursdays, because it holds all the promise of my next favorite days: Friday and Saturday. There is something very cool and swingy about a Thursday, and I try to not schedule anything on Thursdays so I can enjoy it to the max without interruption. So I was mentally rubbing my hands together, thinking, "A day to make new work and have some fun!" And my husband is out of town at the moment, so I could drink a gallon of coffee for breakfast without anyone nattering to me about my unhealthy level of caffeine intake, which makes me extra extra happy.

This has been my assignment for months: Let Sara take care of production orders so me can work on art. Say that in a robotic voice: Me make aaaaarrrrtttt. The system is in place to make that happen, and we've worked so hard to create a system that works. And yet. And yet...

Nothing is happening. I bounced, literally bounced, into the studio. I started to trim up a bunch of cake plates, (thankyouthankyou etsy for featuring me this week and pouring a ton of orders into my pay pal account) and then I thought, "Wait! I'm not gonna trim plates today! This is my day! I'm gonna make what I wanna make!" I immediately covered up my plates and wedged up some porcelain. I started throwing with no ideas in mind, and unfortunately, no ideas came. Throw throw. Crap. Crap. Suffer.

I called up Rae and complained. She snorted and said, "Join the club". She was not unsympathetic, but merely voicing the truth: to be an artist means you are going to suffer. Why? Because to create takes time, and we want it now. Pulling those ideas down out of the ether or out of the universe or wherever the hell they come from is so damn time-consuming. And we want-- no we expect the idea now.

When an artist is not yet in the flow of creation, it's like waiting in a long line, pushing and shoving your way to the front. And what we can't see is that the pushing and shoving is getting us closer to the front of the line; all we can see are the annoying people in front of us, not the distance we traveled.

And so. We suffer. I suffered. I thought about it for a while, and I thought about what I would say to a friend about my predicament, assuming this friend was not as annoying and deserving of punishment as I am. And I thought, "You should not be in the studio, you should be out in the world and looking at some real art". Then I took out the "real" part, because I would never say that to a friend and I would never even think it. Thank god it's almost Friday, my real favorite day, cause I'm taking the day off to go and look at some art.