Monday, May 23

an agressive quota

Last week I submitted a chunk of the piece I've been working on for the CNF class I'm taking through Stanford. My professor ripped it to shreds. A few tears were shed, but then I admitted to him that his one-page critique did more for me than 3+ years of counseling ever had. But still—when you've poured so much of yourself into your art and truly been honest with what you've created, the last thing you want is for someone to straight up reject it. I reminded myself that I signed up for this class specifically wanting out of my Christian liberal arts circle, full of its assumptions and naiveté. I wanted fresh eyes to read me—someone who didn't have any preconceived ideas when I put the word "I" down on paper.

So I scrapped that project.
And now I have ≈15 pages due on Saturday that I'm hoping will appear in a big unmarked box on my doorstep, preferably in Helvetica.

A lot of being in a creative rut is the consequence of faithfully sticking to 'tried and true' methods that no longer take into consideration how you (or the world) have been refashioned over the years. We have to be patient with ourselves...and not punish ourselves. And big ruts often just require new ideas...which means giving ourselves an "aggressive quota."
I know of a choreographer who has an exercise where she instructs her students to find a simple object (a chair, for example) and come up with 60 new uses for it in a limited amount of time. This forces them not to panic, but rather to focus, which means they have to suspend critical thinking. When our internal critic is on hold, everything can be let out and we aren't "choking off the good impulses," as she puts it.
Usually we'll find that the most inspired and unorthodox ideas come toward the 60th idea...not at the beginning when we're only stating the obvious.

So I sat in Zoka for four hours on Saturday and came up with 41 things I could write about. And what an eclectic and embarrassing list that was.
More and more I'm realizing that nothing is original and everything is inspired by something, so artists are really just creative [and sometimes overly emotional] thieves. 
Which brings me to the comic relief portion of this post, and my case in point—Robyn, 'stealing' from Teddybears, who 'stole' from Kid Rock (who should never have been given free reign over a microphone in the first place):

See what I mean? Paintball on set was for sure toward #60 on her list. Love that girl though.
P.S. If anyone is dying to give me a Sunday ticket to Sasquatch, I can make sure you won't regret it...


Adam K said...

That's a great attitude regarding your chunk. Art is so tricky. All the time. I know how it is to overthink and really just go around in circles with the most obvious ideas. I'm impressed that you're taking criticism so well.

That quota challenge is pretty frickin' tough. I think it's a great exercise to broaden your thinking and research your hidden interests, but at the same time I've always been one to subscribe to the notion that you paint/write about/read about/talk about the things that you love. So, I think a combination of familiar elements and buried loves can get great results. Finding that middle area is my goal right now.

P. S. If I had $260 to spare on a couple of Sasquatch tickets, we'd definitely be attending. Alas, I haven't the cash. Here's hoping someone can supply you with a ticket :).

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