I hate crumbs on a table. I like a clean table. Kitchen crumbs are no good, but they are the byproduct of doing kitchen stuff. Has anyone ever eaten without crumbs? No. And we love to eat so, hello crumbs!
In art, crumbs are a great reminder to use the kitchen. The kitchen is the studio or wherever, however, you are making art. Because we don’t have to make art the way we have to eat, we can sometimes prefer neatness to the point of nothingness. I think it’s a really good idea to actually see, with your eyes, the art tools and some of the art, to remind yourself to do it. To remind yourself you like doing it.
I just got a new blank book. It’s called Summer 2021 Fun Book. Can you guess why I named it that? It’s aspirational. I need to have more fun. And even more importantly, I need to honor the fun I allow myself to have. I need to not take it for granted. So, I am marking it down.
One way I am having more fun, and conversely, having less not-fun, is I’ve put an end to reading the news on my iPhone in the morning. Instead I am drawing a quick abstract in my fun book. I am currently doing them all in a grid style, so I hardly have to think about what to do when I am still coming to consciousness with the first coffee of the day.
As a world class guff giver, some grumpy part of myself will grudgingly grab the book and start grumbly about the point of it all, or the lack of point. What are you going to do with this abstract? What’s it for? Who’s going to see it? SHUT UP! It’s for fun you asinine loudmouth! It’s a crumb. It’s a trail of crumbs to lead us out of the forest of depression and anxiety back to the meadow, to the light, to love. It’s a gift to our future self. It tells us we care; we are brave, and we didn’t’ waste our life wondering but never trying. It’s not for anyone to see but me! It’s for me. It’s to save me from gloom. Now go get the bucket of markers, hit play on our Spotify Morning playlist and enjoy yourself for a change.
Does it undermine the post if I start by saying the title is obviously not true? I am still doing dishes, trying to keep my desk clear of excess clutter and being a parent. BUT…… regarding Sidewalk Face activities, I am challenging myself to not do anything unless I am psyched about it. No BIG GOALS. No shoulds or have to(s). It used to be like this so theoretically I already know how. It may be as simple as de-coupling my activities from an imaginary outcome. No more fantasizing that if I do x, y will happen. Now it’s just; how fun is it to do x?
Fun is the word I use in my own head but when I use fun around other people I am self conscious that it’s too frivilous. Putting stock in “fun” sounds immature. Kids are supposed to have fun but fun doesn’t pay the bills. Fun doesn’t get there on time. Fun doesn’t call your mother to check in. Fun sounds like the the wrong person to put in charge. So why do I want to do that anyway?
Fun to me signals engagement. Engagement is important because if you are engaged in the activity you’re doing it. You might be doing it without enjoying it but seriously, how long will that last? You aren’t going to keep doing anything optional unless you enjoy it. So fun is enjoyment.
What’s enjoyment? It has an aspect that is felt in the moment and an aspect that is felt after the activity is over, a by-product. Both must be highly rated. You know how some movies are fun while you watch them but when you think about them later, they’re stupid and therefore you don’t feel that good about having seen them? Enjoyable in the moment but not after. And some things suck in the moment, like not eating as much cheese as you want, but feel great later. Very unenjoyable in the moment but satisfying the next day.
The type of enjoyment I want to get back to, the fun I want to have, is the the kind that is fun in the moment and keeps growing and expanding when I reflect on it. I am specifically talking about being in the process of making art. Or more accurately, doing a creative activity. (I mean what is art? It’s hard enough to nail down this slippery word “fun”. I’ll deal with “art” later). When I am listening to music and drawing, it’s really fun. And when I look at my drawing over the course of the next week, because I have taped it on the wall, that’s also fun. It’s actually even more enjoyable to take so much time to “see” the work, to deeply notice and evaluate the composition, the colors, the choices. It creates anticipation for the next time, I gets me thinking of new things I want to try. It is a motor. Fun is a motor.
Fun is what guarantees there is a next time. If you want a next time, fun beats the heck out of duty.