Patience as Artists

So Monday I blogged about counting. Today is Friday, and I'm counting three days I didn't blog, which means I'm recounting. Which is a little bit like second guessing, except it's more accurate.

It's what we creators do: recount, rehash, revisit all the projects we didn't get to, and all the reasons why not. And then we feel bad.

It's a question I keep coming back to:
How can I find time for everything I love?
Right on the heels of that question comes another perky little question wagging its tail:
What am I doing that I can stop doing?
Some things are easy for me to cut out - television, browsing mail ads, washing my car, washing the windows, painting my nails. Nobody cares if these things don't happen. If I neglect my environment too much, however, I can get distracted by the disarray. Talking to my artist/photographer/writer/chef friend Michelle, she mentioned she may hire a housekeeper to have more creating time. I'm thinking, even in the present economy, there's some sense to that.

I've cut down on driving time by getting my daughter a monthly bus pass. I've cut down on computer time, writing longhand whenever possible. I've cut down on (gasp!) church time, choosing close, inspiring gatherings over lots of busy meetings. And here I am, trimming the time I spend blogging for the love of other new pursuits such as watercoloring and my latest batch of folklore books (which are feeding my next story).

Going back to the first question:
How can I find time for everything I love?
There's something very big and crybaby about this question. Who says I have to do everything I love? "Oh, but when I don't work on my fiction," one writer said, "my characters die. They're dead."

"Are they?" I asked. "Or are they just asleep?" We had this conversation last week. This talented writer and artist mentioned he'd been doing a lot of art and personal writing, practicing his craft. Besides having a busy life, he'd experienced a traumatic event in his family last year. He couldn't do everything, and I sensed his frustration. Yet I know, given his passion as a novelist, his characters will some day return.

Our creative lives require patience. When you recount your week, sighing over undone things, it's all right to patiently readjust your sights for next week, next month, next year. This is not the same as procrastinating, which is frittering your time doing nothing significant. Exercising patience is acknowledging reality, foregoing one thing for love of another. There is no need to insist on everything, and to insist on everything now. Instead of asking, "How can I do everything I love?" I can begin asking, "What do I love that I can do right now?"

I only have two hands. The only moment I have any say about is the one I'm living. Let us practice that slow, motherly, all-knowing, deep-breathing, old-fashioned thing called patience.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that Sister, the one person I need to be patient with is myself.


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