It’s the winter season in our temperate rainforest. Rain. More rain. Flus to the left. Colds to the right. Overflowing inbox at work… and at home.
There’s that observation by Chuck Close regarding inspiration, or the necessity for its lack, in the life of a vocational artist. “Inspiration is for amateurs,” he writes, “The rest of us just show up and get to work.” I’m not such a vocational artist by any stretch of the term’s definition, yet something Paul said a few weeks ago stuck with me.
I had made to Paul my usual worry-wart remarks over coffee regarding what I could expect at work with the upcoming semester – we both work in the same institution (so to speak) – and how that might gum up my plans for getting into the darkroom regularly. Paul sipped and nodded. He then observed (clever man that he is) that setting aside a spot in my calendar for being in the darkroom, even booking it, was just as important as actually getting in there. Or put a bit differently, if I give myself an excuse for not doing the work, then it won’t get done. We’re better off putting out the marker, perhaps even missing it, and the merry-go-round will swing by again in a day or a week or a month. At some point I’ll reach out and grab on for a trip once around. And then some other trip round. Then miss. Then miss. Then another trip round.
So after missing the darkroom for a few weeks given everything swirling about me, it looks as if I can finally get in tomorrow. It seems a commitment I had made for something at work over top the same Friday-afternoon darkroom time suddenly vanished in front of my eyes (and for all the right reasons). If I hadn’t put that creative time in the calendar, I certainly wouldn’t have had it ready.
So maybe there is something a bit deeper and subtle in this thing about showing up and getting to work. Hmm.