Thinking About 2013
1.1.2013. Okay, here's a little change-up in my "resolution" planning for 2013. Instead of parceling out my so-called work into categories, I want to home in on a central thing -- a thing, a "thing," a Thing, an emergent mysterious THING. My natural inclination at age 64 is to fly off in many directions, having fun experimenting and exploring and chasing little fish up the local creek. That's kind of what I did in 2012. That was good. But I think I need to focus this year. I love all the little perch and sunfish in my net, but I need to fish for one of those big old muskies that hide deep and aren't impressed by a common worm on a tiny hook. Okay, enough with the fish.
I want to dig into a project that demands writing, drawing, and the exploration of mysteries. I want to meld Process and Product to keep me discovering and not merely polishing a finished (aka dead) product.
Writing. My craft is okay, as far as stringing sentences into paragraphs go. But I need to pull out some more stories. Character-driven. Themes that make me want to keep on exploring, finding variations, going deeper.
Drawing. My drawing is middling competent, as much for lack of daily practice as for lack of a "good hand." But I'm not bad at squeezing out some expressiveness in simple cartoon-y characters. I'm impatient and bored with "life drawing" but copying complicated ethnic textile or jewelry patterns (for example) surprisingly puts me into a deep meditative state that often leads to something new and interesting. And then, I simply enjoy the benefits of visual communication -- what I think of as mindmapping or diagramming and what now might be referred to as "infographics" or "sketchnoting."
Mystery. The mysteries that snag me are cultural -- religion, the arts, literature and their histories, both factual and fanciful. Why? How? When? What stokes humanity's belief in God and gods? I am a humble humanist, not blessed with the gift of faith, so I must scratch for answers. What drives our passion for beauty, for pattern and symmetry, for innovation and invention? Why do we sing, dance, paint, design? I think this is all the same mystery.
How am I going to accomplish this 2013 mission to produce something that surprises me?
Nurturing sources. Here's my opening to chase down anything and everything -- travel, reading, friendships, hobbies. But I need to observe and absorb energetically. Here's the diagram I put on my unfinished Attitude Adjustment page. Whatever I'm feeling, wherever I'm going, I need to work it ("robust"). Don't be namby-pamby, don't half-step, don't fumble the ball, no sleeping at the switch ("weak"). On the other hand, don't freak out ("crazy") -- gets you nowhere. On the third hand, work your energy so that every so often you will take that quantum leap into Knowing! Loving! Genius! Holy Shit! Getting It! (aka hitting the "ecstatic" zone).
Methods and Tools. This part comes naturally to me, sometimes at the expense of everything else. Love my tools and methods. Creativity always seems to start in analog -- quick notes, doodles, pencils with erasers, gel pens, fat markers... But then there is the whole digital afterlife of the thought that lives and dies in a notebook.
Right now I am focusing in on Adobe Illustrator as my composition board and "finishing" tool. I am out of practice with it and frustrated -- always a good sign of untapped capacity.