Dislodging the Unmovable Boulder

Dislodging the Unmovable Boulder

I wanted flowers. I planted flowers. I expected flowers. Why didn’t I water them?!

Three years ago, I put a whole bunch of images up on a photography-based website that lets you sell directly to people. So convenient. The website is sidewalkface.com. It was a lot of effort, but I persevered because it gave me the ability to sell prints and present the sidewalk faces in thematic groupings. Right off the bat I made a bunch of sales. I was happy. I thought I would have so much fun keeping it updated.

Then…..

Nothing happened. Not with other people. With me! I stopped interacting creatively with the website. Why? I don’t know. I don’t like it? I don’t know why I don’t like. I don’t want to know what my hands are currently typing out faster than my brain can process. It took so much force of will and stamina to build. It was supposed to be the thing. I must be bad for neglecting it. I had all these big ideas and I did none of them. NONE OF THEM!

Instead of tending that website, I found myself blogging. Instead of adding my newest work to keep the website up to date and fresh, I would come over here and use my art to illustrate ideas I have about the creative process. Sidewalk Face as an entity was developing over here more than it was developing over there. That’s just the facts. The interpretation of the facts remains to be typed out. I am so curious what I am going to say but I am also afraid. I hope I don’t say something that makes me feel bad.

The surest way to get to the truth of something is to see what is being done and what is not being done. We tend to overvalue what we “think” about something but the evidence for our real priorities lies in our actions. The truth is I enjoy writing more than I enjoy organizing the faces into new galleries. I thought putting them into galleries was what I most wanted to do but I was wrong. The other truth is I want to sell them as limited edition prints on a better quality paper. I have been wrestling with this for over a year. The old website is like a boulder blocking me from the path I want to go down, its heaviness formed by the weight of my expectations. It feels like, if I remove it, all my hard work and imagination was for nothing. If I don’t remove it, my future hard work and imagination is imprisoned.

If you really want to do something and you suddenly have the chance, you are one hundred percent doing it. Like if you really want coffee and someone brings you one, you’ve already had a big sip before the end of this sentence.

What I have learned about art is that only the stuff you want to do gets made. Art is totally optional and it’s a lot of work. So, it’s very important to tell ourselves the truth about what we want. It’s very important to nurture the art we are actually capable of making and stop paying any attention at all to the amazing theoretical art we never make.

So, what is the truth about what I want? Hmmmmm… will I keep writing, or refresh my coffee and let this blog post sit for another month, or year or forever?

I want this to be my main website and I want to sell the work over here. I will be changing the name of this blog to sidewalkface.com soon. And I will have something very special to offer soon as well. I am excited!

Thank you to Mary, Joanne and Kerry for your encouragement. You dislodged my unmovable mental boulder by tilting my word view just enough that gravity lost its power. I appreciate that.

 

If Beggars Can’t Be Choosers…

If Beggars Can’t Be Choosers…

Someone was offering me a gift. It wasn’t quite to my liking and the phrase beggars can’t be choosers popped in my head. In this case, the gift was substantial, something I wouldn’t do for myself and was fortunate to be the beneficiary of. I wanted to want what was on offer, not crave something unavailable. Quoting this phrase to myself was supposed to help achieve that. But no sooner had I said the phrase then I started to dissect it. If beggars can’t be choosers, then choosers must what? Pay a fee? Instead of thinking about gratitude, I started to think about this new phrase.

The phrase implies that getting what you want means you need to have money. The better choices are usually more expensive. I get that with hotels and restaurants and carpets and homes. If choice is the most important thing, then money is the most important thing. The more money, the more choice.

But what if having the ability to choose without restriction excludes you from a different worthwhile experience? Is choice always the best option? Is it ever preferable to be the beggar?

Not everything in life is for sale and not every outcome is predicated on choosing. More often than not, fate is the chooser and makes beggars of us all. You don’t choose who you’re going to randomly meet and fall in love with. You don’t choose your child. You don’t choose to have an accident. You don’t choose the Fiestaware that came with your spouse. You don’t choose the things you find yourself obsessed with like a love of crystals or plants or Fiestaware or art. Many things just happen and often those things affect your life far more than what you do choose. No one’s gravestones talk about their great choice in carpets. So why do we think choosing is the ultimate in self-expression?

Also, while it’s wonderful to have what we want, it’s only wonderful if we know what we want. Our desires are a moving and morphing target. Sometimes you buy something you think you want and find out you don’t. That sucks. How do you learn what you love? You try new things. How do you try new things? An opportunity comes your way. Until you try it, you may not want to. Until you love it, you may be put off by it. There is always an unknown period of just experiencing something and learning from direct contact. We don’t get that with choice. You don’t know what the vegan tacos taste like when you choose the pork.

It’s important to develop both skills, both mindsets. If you are going to pay, you might as well get something good if you can. And for sure, it’s good to use your resources to support your affinities and open yourself to opportunity. But if you are going to be the recipient, it’s best to have the ability appreciate what you have been given, to orient towards the positive rather than ruminate on the negative. To see that maybe you have been given something very valuable and rare. Something you would never have otherwise. Don’t reject something before you really know what it is.

Sidewalk Face 814

Experience Makes You Confident

Experience Makes You Confident

There is no real confidence without experience. What we know without hesitation is the outcome of experience. Everything else is guessing.

To get experience you have to do the thing, the whole thing. You have to go from A to Z, from here to there, from beginning to end. And when you do, you know more, and you are secure in the knowledge of what you know.

Read about fire. Think about fire. Look at pictures of fire. Draw images of fire. Do you know fire?

Stick your hand in fire. You know fire.

Stick a raw potato in fire. Eat a cooked potato. You know fire.

If someone asks, Should I stick my hand in fire?, will you be insecure telling them no? If someone asks, Will fire cook food?, will you wonder if it does? Of course not.

That’s the confidence that comes from experience.