In Which I Reconsider Crafting

April 8, 2014



On Saturday I luxuriously read in bed. I'm still working my way through Creative Block, which isn't the kind of book I'd want to polish off in just a couple of sittings. I look at the art, I read about the maker, I think about the creative block exercise, and then I gradually meander into thinking about what I might want to make myself. Rinse and repeat for all 50 artists!

At one of our last Small Dances performances, an audience member asked me the inevitable question: what's next? I had just finished explaining how we were in the middle of a move and I was ten days into a new full-time job, but SURELY I SHOULD HAVE BEEN COOKING UP A NEW LITTLE PROJECT BEHIND THE SCENES. The truth is that right now the only thing I want to make is my bed.

Actually, I lie: I want to make a lot of things, just nothing that involves scheduling rehearsals, stress of any kind, or creating something vulnerable based on personal experience. At least for a while.

Last week I was at a Latin Dance class at the Y with the intention of working up a sweat (you'll be so pleased to hear that I did) when I started tearing up because it felt so good to be moving, especially with a room full of other humans. Without my usual handful of weekly rehearsals and creative projects, the class (supposedly just a workout) felt pretty magical. That's when I remembered that the YWCA can sometimes be enough to keep me creatively satisfied.

I make things and/or take on creative projects for different reasons:
  • For career-building purposes.
  • Because I haven't had a project in a while & I'm starting to wonder if I remember how to make things.
  • To work on my craft: to experiment, and hopefully get better at choreographing (or writing).
  • Out of loneliness: as an excuse to see people/bring people together.
  • For self-gratification: I want to make something awesome, and I want people to see it and think I'm awesome (usually in this case I have the sense to END THE PROJECT & call a therapist for council-- this never ends well).
  • For creative therapy: I need to work on something I care deeply about! I need the creative high!
  • Because it brings me JOY.
  • To make sense of the world-- or create a reality I like better than my actual one.
Usually a few of these reasons overlap. Right now I crave creative therapy, but not the kind that involves a big project. You know what sounds nice?
  • Hosting a dinner party.
  • Going on a night time bike ride with a big group of people.
  • Having enough patience to crochet a blanket.
  • Learning to letterpress, and then making a bunch of encouraging signs to mail to strangers.
  • Hosting another Small Art.
  • Continuing my 1-on-1 coaching work with creatives, helping them put the puzzle pieces together.
  • Gardening.
  • Frisbee.
  • Trying all of the Twin Cities restaurants on the list I made two years ago.
What's funny is that my 24-year-old self would just like to PUNCH my current self for not having more ambition, or trying to fill all of my time. Maybe it's that I'm just coming off of several months of crazy, or maybe it's Spring fever. Or, maybe I've just finally stopped trying to prove myself to people who probably don't actually care.

Anyway: maybe I'll learn to letterpress. What would you like to make or do next? How do you pick projects? What has you excited? Do you have Spring fever?

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