Tuesday, 10 December 2013

working more, working less, working

In relation to my constant sense that I should be producing more, or differently, I found it very refreshing to read these thoughts from David Whyte:

'....we long for the everyday with a work we can love and have and hold, and then we find that it is a rare living art form to keep... a work fresh and alive.

....From the outside very little seems to be happening, but in good work we return every day to the desk or the workbench to push it along a little further. We inch along or fly along, depending on what part of the cycle of endeavour we have entered. What we remember looking back, is the rhythm and constant sense of returning to the frontier we have just established...'

The Three Marriages, 2009

This seems to connect to his idea of being satisfied simply with getting some kind of purchase (discussed here); of working from the point of contact that you actually have, right now, instead of a fantasy about 'the right way', or some other future-projected insubstantiality.

I like the idea that what's important is not what you feel you manage to do or achieve on any given day, but that you keep coming back to do some more. This idea seems to be much more forgiving, a more real description of some sort of creative process, than the cultural fantasy of the artist disciplining and obsessing and producing without cease all day long. The endlessly productive fantasy leaves out the need for feeding and reflecting; for periods of rest and gestation, the time for things to come in from the outside and contribute something new, for disparate images and colours and thoughts to bump into each other so that there is at least a chance that occasionally something unexpected will emerge...

And all for what?

'...I (was reminded that I) could work wherever there was a knee or a pen or a pad, wherever there was a pause in the besieging clamour of the world. I didn't need a paradise in order to work, but work itself, given focus and given time for that focus to blossom, could open a little Eden of its own...'


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