On the Approach
I found this in a 2014 notebook:
"Process used to be a bigger joy. A need. Sometimes now I feel I'm only filling pages, and the pages will never end, whether I'm writing in them or reading them. Perhaps that's a comfort. Perhaps a dread.
I look at everything I do and I haven't been taking the creative risks I once did. I haven't been making sacrifices for art. That I'm doing the bare minimum. I think I can push myself further, but sometimes my exhaustion is all I hear or notice. And then I zap my brain in front of Netflix. And I destroy my body on chocolate and pizza.
I could be reading instead, I could be writing. Not running the other way to get the night off from meetings or rehearsals. I am a writer. A theater maker. Sometimes the hours may not seem ideal. But resistance is prison. It tarnishes my belly. A cavernous beast. A disloyal terror.
These books, these daunting hours, these reams of paper, these notes. No one said it was easy to write, no matter the medium. So go deeply in. Expose my worst parts. Sharpen my best.
Resistant mind, glow. Stop giving up so fast. I am a significant ball of wax. Move mountains. Heave rocks. Paint Aurora Borealis in my dreams."
Over the last two years, I've learned a lot about my process. How to be friendly with it, and not so punishing. Sometimes I still feel like I did this February day in 2014, but I'm learning more and more to find a kinder, gentler attitude toward myself, my work, life, the world, everything. And creative activity benefits from that.
As the Cohen brothers said when asked about their creative process, "We do a lot of napping."
Sure, I write everyday, I make something new everyday, I read and work with older material, read work by others, and am working on a big play project that does feel difficult and also scary. I'm in school, I teach, I collaborate with new people all the time. It's work.
However, my relationship toward my work doesn't have to be a grueling shuffle. And thankfully, that approach isn't as finger waggling as it was two years ago, or even one year ago, or six months ago. For that I'm grateful. I have the reflective, generous attitude I'm learning from my professors to thank for that, and fellow students in my cohort, and other writers and artists and dear loves in my life.
Overall, it's a joyous gift to be able to make things. There are actual prisons, beasts and terrors out there in the world. I'm lucky to do this with my time, and I'm discovering how to soften the way I work, so I don't get so easily overwhelmed with dread or panic.
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Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: