“When the work takes over, the the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over then the artist listens. But before he can listen, paradoxically he must work. Getting out of the way and listening is not something that comes easily, either in art or prayer” ~ Madeleine L’Engle
I have been struggling to figure out what to write about the MARK boot camp experience. For those of you who know me well, it may be enough to simply say that on the last day when I got up to speak, I began to cry, in public, in front of people I hardly knew. However, if you don’t know me well, this will tell you very little. Perhaps knowing I am British and not given to public displays of emotion it will be a clue that it was a really intense experience for me.
Ah, but why? And this is harder even to say than admitting to tears. Why would a series of business lectures reduce me to tears? Well of course, the formal part of the workshops had very little to do with the emotion, in fact after going through the SAVI program, there was not much in the way of information that was startlingly new for me. It was rather in the experience of being addressed as a working artist for a whole weekend, of spending the weekend surrounded with so much talent, drive, vision.
I wish I could say it was the experience of being amongst my own kind, but really with a few moments of exception, I have not worked hard or long enough in the studio recently to call these my peers. The most striking realisation of the whole weekend was how little I have been prepared to give my work or myself, and how much I devalue what I do have/give. I can call myself an artist, but inside I am still afraid to believe it.
The greatest revelation of the weekend was that I need to marshal my resources more wisely and I really need to husband more of those resources for my work. I have so much work calling to me, and for fear of having nothing “important” to say I have discounted that work which has come to me. I tell others that if they stifle the voice it has no other outlet, but I don’t heed my own advice. On a very practical level what that means is watching my budget to make the space for my work instead of working for pay all summer, and it also means showing up to do the work, not making judgements about the value of the work I have been given.
I have so much more I want to say about this experience which has altered my thinking in a very profound way that I am struggling to articulate. But this seems heavy enough for one night.
I really want to thank all my fellow MARKers, my friends, and all my regular blog readers, for being my tribe and for walking with me as I journey. I am really shaken by the power of the emotion this experience has woken in me, and before that evangelical zeal fades I am publicly declaring my intentions to SLOW DOWN, listen and make room for the work, and to that end I am practicing the word NO. Although, to be honest, it may take a while for that idea to really stick.