Every year I envision summer as this bucolic period when I catch up and get to relax a bit. Not this summer! The crazy move/remodel has overtaken my life and there are still many details to attend to. I wonder how long it will be before I have a week where I don’t pick up something at Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn or Bed, Bath and Beyond. I know that if I don’t specifically schedule time, I will not have time to just be.
With all the stress from the move and remodel, I’ve had to resolve some sleep issues. One way of coping is to read for pleasure before going to bed. Imagine that! Until recently I would pretty much go full tilt, then fall into bed. That is not working for me anymore. It has come as a shock to me that I need to slow down. I know, forehead slap there. And now I have a cozy little area of my studio to read in:
I have rediscovered the pleasures of reading and I thought I’d share what’s on my night stand. Okay, I know I’m late to the game here; I suspect many of you have already read “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon.
I’ve heard so much about this book, all of it good. It is a very quick read but full of wisdom. It’s described as “an inspiring guide to creativity for the digital age”. It kind of feels like a companion to Art and Fear to me, full of pithy tidbits. It is an easy read, maybe 2 hours and packed with advice, the kind of advice you might get from a wise older brother.
There are some key points for me:
–“Stand next to talent“. Oh boy. This is a biggie for me. I am active in Studio Art Quilt Associates and hanging with SAQA artists can be intimidating. There is so much talent! Kleon notes that you’re only going to be as good as the people you stand next to.
And one necessary quality to do that-“a willingness to look stupid”. Well check that box! I constantly find myself in odd predicaments, some of which test the limits of my talents. I have learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s where I live. And it’s uncomfortable. And I do feel stupid-a lot. I’m okay with that one.
–“In the beginning, obscurity is good“. That is so true. When I first began to quilt, if I made something I was “meh” about, nobody cared. And they probably still don’t, but now I think they care. Silly me. Let that one grow and it will thwart creativity because I’ll allow myself to fester over what others think of my work. I sometimes have to force myself back to that stage of magical, pure wonder. That’s when I ask myself, “What would happen if…” and that is a glorious feeling!
–“Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)” Oh good, I have permission to be boring! I love this-he notes that creating a routine can be even more important that having a lot of time. Chew on that one-it’s not about how much time you have, it’s what you do with it. Work gets done in the time I have. It’s the routine that creates space for creativity to flourish in whatever time is left.
–“Keep a Log Book.” I do this and I GET the importance of keeping a daily record of your life. I have kept a 10-year calendar for 13 years so far. It is a wonderful tool that reminds me of both charming, trivial things that happened in years past as well as remind me of important milestones. Writing it down each day creates a mind-set that makes for a well-lived life.
–“Choose what to leave out.” I struggle with this. If I could conquer this one my world would pivot. This requires such discipline.
I want to enter every show, teach more, enjoy personal retreats, spend more time with my family, create more art, cook more, garden more, be more active, get my website updated, spend more time with friends and read more. And that’s just the partial list! It is so hard to actually say to myself, I am going to let that teaching gig go, I am not going to try to make something for that show…
How about you-does this resonate? Have you already read this book-any thoughts? I’m linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday where all the good links are.