When Lolita and Lizard were first courting (hard to believe it has been 4 years) one of their absolute favorite weekend pastimes was festival hopping. Given a three day weekend, our unlikely couple would hotel somewhere, anywhere, within shouting distance of at least an art fair (naturally Lolita always pre-confirmed a busy night schedule) of events and activities.For Lolita, interacting with the artists was without a doubt the highlite of these frequent getaways. Of course she wanted to learn about the works, learning which served as grist for her blogger’s mill. But more than that, she was fascinated by artists’ process. “Tell me how it starts,” she would beg, like the little Boston girl she once was, asking Dad to retell a well-loved story.
And in many ways it would be a re-telling, for the creative process is not without a certain inherent logic and order. But one summer at a Harrisburg fair Lolita had a particularly significant conversation with a rather gruff, older artist about her very intricate mosaic works. Having learned that the average gestation period for one of the artisan’s pieces was about 3 months, Lolita marveled and asked, “How do you stay focused for so long on one piece?” (our wise readers are surely anticipating the respone). “I don’t”, replied the old artisan, and continued. “I generally have 12-15 projects in the works at any given time.”
“Holy cow!” Lolita exclaimed. “How do you keep them all straight?”
Her new mentor allowed for a little smile at the corners and a bit of twinkle from one squinty eye as she focused on what had clearly become her current project – Lolita, our eager Vampiress. “My dear, in the creative life, there is a rightness in every moment, if we will learn to recognize it. There is a right choice, a perfect choice for creative action. At any moment of the day or night, one of my projects offers up a piece of ripe fruit for me to pick. And in this way, piece by piece, I fill baskets full of finished work. I gradually move my projects along, rear them like children. And I never grow tired of any of them, but continually return to each of them with renewed wonder, anticipation, gratitude, a readiness to learn and to give.
During this inspirational conversation, Lizard had fallen fast asleep in a guest chair. If Lolita had not been shaken by her lover’s snoring, she would have needed to be shaken by the old woman out of her revelatory trance. It was a revelation of permissions – permission to unburden herself from the “current project”, permission to take a more expansive view, permission to breathe.