“It is a silver morning like any other. I am at my desk. Then the phone rings, or someone raps at the door. I am deep in the machinery of my wits. Reluctantly I rise, I answer the phone or I open the door. And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone. Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.
But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation. And what does it have to say? That you must phone the dentist, that you are out of mustard, that your uncle Stanley’s birthday is two weeks hence. You react, of course. Then you return to your work, only to find that the imps of idea have fled back into the mist.”
Read the rest: Mary Oliver: The Artist’s Task | Vox Populi
Trying to get back to studio days now that holidays are over (meaning lots of yardwork, which isn’t even finished, I have to rearrange the woodshed before carting in a new load, strawbales will hopefully be delivered soon, to be stacked, the base of all buildings need to be painted and I have an ongoing list for next year as well!)
I’m sure many of you recognise the conundrum, especially if you are an artist without actual income from your creative work – the constant pull to be creating, the push in the opposite direction from the guilt of skipping practical chores.
Falling out of the habit of workflow is always easier than jumping back into it, and I work slowly enough as it is. And yet I must. Or eventually I go bonkers…. 😉 So back on the horse it is! I don’t know that I’ll ever declutter my mind completely and work exclusively on one thing, or that it would even do me any good. I do know that quitting wouldn’t help at all.