When I was in grad school (forever ago), I developed a habit, a system for diving deep into my work while juggling the time, work and personal demands of a full-time grad program, a full-time job, full-time roommates, a long-distance boy/man-friend, Friday nights out, laundry. My strategy: I'd save most of my "art-making" for Sundays when I'd go into Manhattan (from Brooklyn) to NYU's digital arts studio or photography center, put my headphones on and work. For hours at a time. No breaks, no lunch, no chatting and comparing notes. Full-on, full-time creative process. A little isolation (while in a sometimes crowded workspace), a lot of reflection and quiet; except for the meditative music.
The headphones were more than decoration or a symbolic "no access" sign. I listened to music. I didn't listen to just anything; rather a specific CD (yes CD, this was the late 90's) that I would only play during these sessions. I won't tell you the name of the CD, but let's just say, it was sexy, seductive, slightly tormented, ecclectic and poetic. The songs, a collection of spoken word stories by Malcolm McLaren, Francois Hardy, Catherine Deneuve to name a few, laid over remixed tunes by African-Carribean, Middle Eastern Sufi and techno jazz artists as well as classic musicians like Eric Sate and Miles Davis were a quick dial up to the artistic story my work yearned to share. Months after I defended my thesis and my final pieces for the final exhibition. I put the CD aside and didn't play it again for years.
Those Sundays came to mind this past week when I took a step back from blogging, Facebooking, emailing and sharing as openly as I have in the past. My story was changing and I instinctively knew that the messages I would want to share with you would as well. Returning to my tried-and-true creative processes, I chose tunes that spoke to and through me. Let's just say, the soundtrack was raw, urban, seductive, fluff-free, onward marching and inspiring in a "When they go low, we go high kind of way". I did little as I listened. Just closed my eyes and opened my heart and mind. I didn't write or paint or even cook (experimental cooking is a 21st century art form). I did spend time with my daughter coloring and collaging and vision-boarding (retro pinning), and actually talking with friends and family about the possible mixed-blessing potential to recreate a new reality.
How is your story changing? Share in the comments below.