The Dance of Resistance

We’re in Santa Fe for a week for a photo workshop of Mark’s…Daisy’s grandparents have met us here, so I’m finding myself with a beautiful open expanse of free time each day. It’s a little weird. I’m kind of freaked out. It’s been so long since I had hours in a ROW to work on anything. The last ten months have trained me well in jumping on the opportunity of a free moment. My productivity has leapt to new heights with the ever-tightening amount of time available to me. So to find myself here with time gorgeously, luxuriously languished upon me, I should be crazily productive, right? Instead, I’m feeling a little…paralyzed.

At home, I find myself writing furiously in the 40 minutes or so that’s free after getting basic life stuff managed and before Daisy wakes from her nap. When she’s awake, I jot down (important! magnificent-feeling!) ideas on scraps of paper while feeding her, finish songs with her sitting on my lap or crawling around my feet, organize projects while she nibbles on puffs in the highchair. But here, in this quiet coffeehouse with the classical music playing and not a soul needing one-damn-thing from me, I’m doing everything but what I thought I’d do, what I really would like to have done by the end of this week. I have a book proposal to finish, meditations and visualizations to finish for a site I’m launching, and an artist cards project to — yep, you got it — finish. All things in the final stretch. Exciting, cool projects that I couldn’t put DOWN a few weeks ago. They kept me up til 1, 2, in the morning as it felt like I channelled information directly from sources much more brilliant than I could hope to ever be.

But what am I doing now, in the land of enchantment and free time? Clearing out my email in-box. Organizing my word docs so that my recipes and songs-in-progress are no longer a big entangled mess. Figuring out what the F keys do on my macbook. Checking to see if Victoria’s Secret website has that mascara I like. Or if there are any great glittery closed-toe gold heels on (Yes to both, btw.) I’m obsessive-compulsively checking email about every seven minutes. (So please email me). Oh my God, I just checked it again, because it sounded like a good idea. Nothing exciting, btw. I have done SO much maintenance in the last three days, I feel like my entire digital life is tight as a drum. No stray threads, here. No, sirree.

What’s the resistance about? Some of it is surely task related. I love the big idea part of a project, the thrill of the first big waves of thought, the illumination, the discovery, the yes yes yes chain of momentum that often builds before the (often caffeine-fueled) frenzy dims. I usually find less excitement in the nuts and bolts part of the project. The research, the little obstacles (what!? my brilliant domain name is TAKEN??!!), the actual doing. The little jolts of popping energy come less regularly here for me. It feels a bit more like, umm, work.

I suspect the other piece of the resistance is the bit about fear. As an artistic project nears completion, it will likely be presented to the world. The world, being the opinionated place it is, tends to respond. Response comes in the form of applause, demands, frowns, confusion, even silence…any or all of these may be daunting to the artist.

But what are we supposed to do? Scribble away in obscurity, hoping that some self-starting relative will take it upon himself to publish our stuff after we’re gone? Pretend we don’t care what people think when we release our works? Market ourselves like fiends, self-promoting so that there’s no way we’ll be ignored (if not loved)?

Maybe the job today is just to do SOMETHING. Do the NEXT thing. Relax the focus off the eighteen things that all need to be done yesterday and do what I can, do what sounds GOOD to do right at this moment.

Okay. Off to work on a chapter. Or something. After I check email.


5 Things I’m Thankful for Today:
1. Helpful, loving, generous family members.
2. Daisy’s goofy bedhead smile when she wakes from her nap.
3. Good parking karma
4. The sweet herb-bundle guy who gave me such fragrant sage yesterday.
5. The delicious dinner we had last night at Coyote Cafe.

Leave a comment

Add comment