Rainer Maria Rilke
I picked up a book, oh probably 2 years ago now, by Anna Deavere Smith "letters to a young artist." For me it's a kind of devotional for the artist. During a fit of insomnia last night, I read- "You are an explorer, You understand that every time you go into the studio, you are after something that does not yet exist. Maybe it's the same for a runner, I don't know. But with running, or swimming, or gymnastics, or tennis, the achievement is measurable. Forget about competition. Rather, commit yourself to find out the true nature of your art. How does it really work; what's the essence of it? Go for that thing that no one can teach you. Go for that communion, that real communion with your soul, and the discipline of expressing that communion to others. That doesn't come from competition. That comes from being one with what you are doing. It comes from concentration, and from your own ability to be fascinated endlessly with the story, the sone, the jump, the color you are working with."
Undressing the Muse
When Sonny Rollins walked onto that bridge to play his saxophone to the wind he was stepping off the stage and into the woodshed. It wasn’t a failure of nerve, of course, nor was it only a deepening of his craft. He was breaking a voice apart and refashioning it. He was undressing his muse.
That’s what I want now: less stage, more bridge (the wind steady and relentless) and room to go about the private business of becoming—nothing more, not a single iota less—who I am meant to be.
And if that’s asking too much, then allow me to rest a moment, and when I wake let me be refreshed.
I've been spending--or trying to--time in my studio (woodshed, if you will) and work. I'm in a transition period as the art I was making was for art fairs...trying to figure out what people would buy. BIG mistake. I became so unhappy, there was NO JOY in creating. I need this woodshed experience, this digging deep, "the breaking a voice apart and refashioning it". It's been a real struggle, I've been practicing procrastination, resistance and avoidance. I probably spend more time journaling than art making. It's hard work.