Only one thing makes a dream impossible: the fear of failure. ::: Paulo Coelho :::

so… i took the night off tonight, I have spent all day dealing with the crazy bureaucracy at my daughters college and I couldn’t handle the stress anymore so I joined a friend at her belly dancing class. LOL. I used to dance years ago, but I am very rusty but it was fun, girly and no art making angst or kid stress involved!!

Everyone is out right now, it is just me and my art in the house and I am stuck. I cannot work because I feel the white truths building up to escape velocity. I am gagging my work.  It seems everyone is talking about serious work on their blogs in the past few days, as opposed to just making stuff to sell or that is fun (and I know all of those things aren’t mutually exclusive, but you know what I mean…). I left this quote from Anne Truitts “daybook” on Sheree’s blog, because it made me think of her dilemma, and now it is stuck in my head, but for a different reason.

Yesterday intuition fell back briefly before instinct and the forces of intuition fought for control of my work. My hand wanted to draw, to run free… For one whole day I entertained the notion, which had been creeping up on me, of turning my back on the live nerve of myself and having fun.

This morning I am sober. I would be a fool to sacrifice joy to fun.

OK – honesty time here, I am afraid. I am afraid that I do not have the courage to say the things my art wants to say right now, I lack the resolve necessary for joy, I feel like this Muriel Rukeyser quote,

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.

except of course the only thing in the ruins would be my current life… the rest of the world would no doubt go on oblivious. I feel myself walking up to the edge of the abyss, to the verges of the patterns in question and then I look out into the darkness and I cannot bring myself to take that last step across the line.

I could just ignore the things that I know I should be saying, I could turn my back and make something else entirely, or maybe just stop making things all together would be best. Unlike Truitt I think perhaps fun might be the better course of action, to fill the world with pretty, mindless things that do not speak. In a bitter moment of irony, a colleague who I have never felt understood my work recently wrote a reference for me where he talked about my courage and honesty, funny huh? I find myself  looking at work that seems shallow, because I know it is, because I am only dipping my toe in the deep end of the pool.

I find myself struggling beneath the skin of the thing, pressed up against it, how much can be said by glancing off the surface and will that be enough? Can you talk only about the fear of standing on the shore?

6 thoughts on “Only one thing makes a dream impossible: the fear of failure. ::: Paulo Coelho :::

  1. is it really shallow though????????? I ask that because it seems so much of what we do becomes a bridge. What is shallow may be a necessary part of a bigger journey. I am pondering as I think of your words and wonder these things myself.

  2. Jafabrit, you are right, I just have to take the journey, maybe I just need a nap. It would help if I didn’t have these two shows coming up, then I wouldn’t feel the need to rush at these things. This work has been waiting inside so long, waiting for me to finish my masters, then waiting for me to do the dishes… perhaps I have been thinking too long. I know instinctively I should just work right now, I guess I am just afraid to dive in….

  3. you know i feel the same way about just making whatever i want to make and not worry about if it is galleryable or sellable or deemed attractive or good blah blah blah.
    when i read you say similar things it is easy for me to see what it is …ego. if we really just did what wanted to be done and didn’t judge it or have an ego about what people would think of us/it then where would all the uncertainty come from?

    i know it doesn’t help when you have a show looming and have to make something, you can’t quite get into the oh i want to make something and not worry the consequences. something tells me you will do fine when you allow yourself to get into the zone and remember why it is you really wanted to even do this in the first place.

  4. paula – you are right, ego, I am always afraid of being caught out, ha, ha! I was just playing at being an artist! You got me! I guess I am not comfortable in this role of artist, student is easy, teacher is harder but manageable, artist seems too big, like wearing your mother’s shoes. I am very type A, I am afraid of failing and so I am paralyzed to begin….

  5. HA!!!!!
    “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?”

    Oh geesh. Oh geesh. I am about to jump off that cliff. I don’t know what took me so long. However, I know this one thing for sure. I needed to go through EVERYTHING I have gone through before this to get to the place I am at right now, this moment, this second.

    Thank GOD for time!

    Great post, Deb!

  6. You must have been here visiting me when I was there visiting you! Of course you are right, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

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