If you don’t like your art, you haven’t made enough

If you don’t like your art, you haven’t made enough

If I’ve made three duds in a row, I get irritated and start to doubt myself. A terrible cycle is likely to start. Space opens up to make art, but I’m not so sure I want to spend my time creating more proof of my mediocre-ness. I do something else instead and then I feel bad I’ve wasted the opportunity. Can you relate to this? Does this ever happen to you?

If you look at your art and feel discouraged, don’t give up!

Giving up will stop the production of disappointing art but it will not stop the disappointment. The only way to get satisfying art is to do more.

If you make one hundred of something, and then look closely at them, you will notice a number of things:

You can see quite clearly what you gravitate to. That’s good. You need gravitational pull. Nobody can stand to work hard on something that isn’t interesting.

You will like something more than something else. Become very consciences of that and try and do it more. Go as hard into that as you can. See what it is about. Not just once but loads of times. So many times that a dud barely even registers. Let yourself experiment, let yourself play. It’s not precious because you are about to make forty more!

Give yourself permission to go so hard and get so weird that you are almost positive it’s going to be crap. Safe choices will always be disappointing in the end. You may not hate it, but you will also not love it. You are going to love it when you look at it and know you escaped danger, you were on a knife’s edge. You almost fell but, no you actually stuck the landing. The little wobble you can still see in the work, that’s the magic, the thing that makes it yours and no one else’s.

Here’s one of my tricks to get myself to get weird. I listen to my favorite music as loud as I can. I get super pumped up noticing how cool the music is, the lyrics, the melody, the production, the whole vibe. It took so much creativity on the part of several artists to make something this delicious. There is no way that any of the music I like was made by people not being brave. Music is deeply weird, deeply personal, very risky. When I am grooving hard on music, I say to myself, I want to do this in my art, I want take chances, I want to be vulnerable, I want to be bold, I want to send a message.

Sometimes what I end up with is a total mess, but at least it is a mess and not a blank piece of paper or a duplicate of something I have done before. I am here to make the art that only I can make. That’s my personal goal. For me. To please myself. To leave this lifetime, with a lifetime of art made. I am unhappy with a lot of it. And I am also very happy with a lot of it. Because I make a lot of it.

Sidewalk Face 168

PS – The sentence, if you don’t like your art, you haven’t made enough, was booted from another post but so obviously good I made it a title. Kind of like when one of the contestants on the Bachelor is rejected by the suitor but becomes the next Bachelorette. It sat in my drafts folder waiting for me to write all this text and I finally did it.

I Just Invented This Round Thing. I’m Gonna Call It a Wheel.

I Just Invented This Round Thing. I’m Gonna Call It a Wheel.

What I am about to tell you is something you already know. Everybody knew it but me. Actually even I knew it but I forget. Ready?

If you listen to workout music while working out, you will work out harder. I worked out so hard yesterday, I was sore all day. And I only worked out for seven minutes.

Here’s the story. The pandemic gutted my old exercise routines. No more in person yoga class. I don’t have a laptop to move around the house for doing online classes. I did one in front of my office computer and frankly, I am in front of that thing enough as it is. My friend Mary told me about the YouTube channel Fitness Blender. We can play that on the tv in the living room so all three of us started together last fall. The group energy was great and overcame decades of home workout inertia. Alas, husband and kid injured themselves, back and ankle, so it was just me. As a group we were watching a variety of videos but for the last two months I’ve been doing only one, the same one every day.

The Scientific 7 Minute Workout Video – Bodyweight Only Total Body Workout

It’s only Seven minutes! Even I can manage seven minutes a day. I have no idea why I prefer the repetition to novelty but I do. For the first 6 weeks of this routine I listened to podcasts while exercising to trick myself into the desired behavior like giving a small child a lollypop after a shot. It worked, I kept showing up. But I was aware that I was not very aware. I knew I wasn’t fully in my body.

This week I was finally ready for music. I hit play on my evening playlist. The first song was happily upbeat and quite pleasant but then a morose slow jam came on. Ugh!!! No! Stop high stepping and swipe next. It went on like this as a new item was added to the running mental to do list, make workout playlist. Yesterday I start it and get one song added. But at 8 am I can’t recall ten move your ass songs. Let’s see what Spotify has put together. That’s when this song came on:

From the second it started I already couldn’t wait to hear it again. Best life coach ever in the form of music. I was immediately dancing my way through the workout. I was doing every set at four times my usual speed and intensity. And I was loving it! I can hardly type out this post because I am so psyched to get back to it! It’s not just the music, he is talking straight to you. If you are alive I know you ain’t reached your best yet. He is laying it down! You got more! You can do more! You can see more! You can be more! Yes! Yes! I am feeling you Disclosure! Thank you!

So, here’s the wheel – if you want to push yourself while exercising and love every minute of it, listen to this song! I’m just gonna add a little Rage Against the Machine to balance out the sweetness and we should be a whole lot stronger in a few weeks! Pushups, get ready to finally go into the double digits!

True vs. Aspirational, aka Has Been True in the Past vs. Could Be True in the Future

I was preparing my daily smoothie and this happened.  The song lyrics “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” started going through my head.  I haven’t heard this song in ages.  I don’t own it or seek it out.  No idea why this was happening.  But as I frequently do, I had to analyze the lyrics for truthfulness.  My mind says to me, is that true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?  Doesn’t seem true.  Sometimes it leaves you permanently disfigured.  But, I countered, what if believing that phrase helps you buck up in the face of adversity.  If that’s the case, believing the phrase might make it come true.

I am often at mental war between my rational side and my intuitive side.  In this case, I think the lyrics are helpful for personal aid but crap when it comes to social policy.

Banana smootie_small

Ah!!! I just understood why I was thinking of those lyrics.  I had used my little finger to wipe off the rim of the yogurt container after I poured some yogurt into the blender and I was wondering if I had washed my hands after I had come in from walking the dog. If by chance I hadn’t, I was trying to remember what I might have touched outside and if it was likely to be infected with the flu or measles. To comfort myself in case I had touched something AND not washed my hands, I was telling myself that maybe getting more germs would make me stronger.  Then the song lyrics flooded in.

This is what happens when I don’t distract myself with podcasts.