Sitting in front of a blank page, an empty canvas, a silent rehearsal studio — these first moments are genuinely exciting. I always feel a sense of accomplishment for just getting the everyday distractions out of the way long enough to allow those first moments of the creative process to begin.
My inner voice proudly says, “Look at me, I’m about to create something…oh the possibilities!”
Close my eyes. Inhale. Exhale. The ritual begins…then the voice again,
“Oh this blank journal page is so beautiful…maybe I should put a pic of it on facebook! , “to hashtag or not to hashtag…am I too old for hashtags?” or “let me film this short movement idea on my iphone so I don’t forget it…wait…my iphone’s out of storage space…ipad…wait my ipad battery is dead…” and so on and so forth. The romantic, inspired, quiet moment is over.
Ahhh, the beauty of the creative process. I actually find a lot of calmness in remembering just that…it’s a process. It takes time. It takes detours. And, it’s different for everyone.
Just last week I revisited one of my favorite books, Woman Who Run With The Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés and was thumbing back through the chapter called, Nourishing The Creative Life. She provides some beautiful thoughts on creativity:
Creativity is a shapechanger. One moment it takes this form, the next that….Some say the creative life is in ideas, some say it is in doing….The creative force flows over the terrain of our psyches looking for the natural hollows, the arroyos, the channels that exist in us. We become its tributaries, its basins, we are its pools, ponds, streams, and sanctuaries…We don’t have to fill them, we only have to build them.
The last time I really dug into this book was 2014, yet right there on the page in a few elegantly simple sentences was a perfect description of why BASIN ARTShas come to be.
It’s a container for creativity. A space to support and nurture the creative sparks ignited inside its walls until they are ready to flow out into the greater community. A building where artists of all disciplines can come together to create, collaborate and learn from one another.
I am inspired by the ways we are all so different in this world. Different cultures, different languages, different occupations, different favorite foods, different ways of expression. I believe we all have our own unique and intriguing collection of experiences and perspectives kept inside of us.
The quote above says, “We don’t have to fill them, we only have to build them.”, I might offer this variation, we don’t have to have the same process, be the same type of artists or even like the same things, we only have to share our process with each other along the way. The act of doing…the practice of process is what connects us all as artists and more importantly as people.
Whether you are taking dance classes, working on a new visual art piece, rehearsing a play, improvising to music, or having a frustrated conversation over coffee about feeling creative…remember, it’s all part of the process and just keep going.
A dance-making memory…
I share this special moment from my own personal process ‘archives’. My dear friend, Carlos A. Cruz Velazquez, choreographed a trio in 2007 for me, ChristinaNoel Reaves and Lori Byargeon when we were all grad students at NYU’s Tisch Dance. When we first began this creative process with Carlos, I’m not sure I had ever spoken on stage. Before much time, a testament to his artistry and our trust in him, he had us screaming, throwing chairs around the stage and pretty much going blissfully insane in front of an audience. It was amazing. Every single time. It’s always very special to revisit this trio and remember the creation process because it was truly collaborative, generous and all four of us went to a new place because of the unique parts of ourselves we were willing to share with each other.