On Diving In

It’s time for your monthly deep dive…and this time, we’re going meta.

You know I love nothing more than going all in – on a project, on a question, pulling on a thread until there’s nothing left to discover. I want ALL of the details, the context, the goodies.

When I’m writing music or working on a new creative project, I feel this sort of pull to uncover everything…even though somewhere in my mind I’m vaguely aware that I’m actually at the helm of the thing. It still feels more like curiosity than it feels like anything else. And it’s simply the best feeling. I’m chasing it all the time.

But…I’ve been making and teaching art for about 12 years now, and I’m constantly shocked by how many of my fellow creatives find an aversion to “going there,” even in their imaginations.

Somehow, it feels vulnerable for a lot of people to even think about creating something – to simply imagine a story they’d like to tell, to picture themselves doing something new, to do a “how to” google search…

I’ve always felt puzzled by this kind of obstacle, but my brain feels a little cracked open on this subject after last month’s Artifice interviews. My guests had some GORGEOUS thoughts to share…

I’m incredibly moved by Malory’s approach to her own perfectionism. Because she knows perfectionism is a temptation and a risk for her, she purposefully chooses mediums that are “unforgiving” (wood burning, ceramics – mediums you can’t erase, undo, rewrite), so she’ll simply have to keep moving forward. It’s a very inspiring sort of creative bravery.

We talked about being surrounded by raw materials (art supplies), and being full of knowledge, or full of talent…and how all of this material and knowledge holds wonderful potential for creativity. But, as Malory so wisely says, “without your active participation, their potential remains just that – potential.”

Ugh. Let’s go ahead and cross stitch that shit, shall we? Say it out louuuuuud! I love it so much.

Pedro and I mulled over the idea that creativity is sort of like an iceberg. What an artist actually produces or releases is the part that’s visible above the surface. And below, the process is multiplied tenfold as curiosity, play, exploration, imagination, inspiration, self-development, side-quests, trials, and oh so many errors.

The final product is built on alllllll of this. And it can’t happen any other way.

Nearly all of the time, the behemoth begins innocently enough as play, as a nugget of a curiosity, as a little hunch. And the artist builds upon those teeny little somethings until a mountain emerges.

It’s almost like a little trick. When we know we have a mountain (err…an iceberg) to build, it’s soooo scary to begin. So, we focus on what’s right in front of us – a little play here, a little play there. As Pedro says of being an artist, “I love the feeling that I haven’t lost my inner child.” And I feel exactly the same way.

Sometimes we think that building that giant art-iceberg is a grownup’s pursuit…but I think all of the most “productive” artists would disagree.

Paul’s story is chock full of this kind of playful bravery. Time and again he’s stepped into challenges that seemed sure to end in failure, but have landed instead in the most incredible serendipities.

At least a time or two, it’s been (at least in part) because of this playful audacity that Paul has been chosen for a path-altering opportunity.

I agree emphatically with Paul when he says “trying is ALWAYS better than not trying.” What is there to lose?

Just…dive IN! All the way down.

And remember, I’ve got a brand new chapter of The Hallowed Wide for you to dive into in TEN DAYS! It’s the most important lesson yet…

Wishing you the dreamiest day,