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.

 

A Habit Must Be Established Before It Can Be Improved

A Habit Must Be Established Before It Can Be Improved

This is my 100th blog post. It took one-month shy of seven years to get here.

Nobody knows what they’re doing when they start. I didn’t know when I started but I know more now. What might I know in ten years? I hope I find out.

The title quote is from James Clear. It helped me a lot. I was not doing things I “wanted” to do because I didn’t really want to do them. Or I “wanted” to do them at a high level, a level so high it was only possible to imagine doing it, not actually do it. I “wanted” to do yoga for an hour like I did at my yoga studio before the pandemic. But I never wanted to be in my living room with my yoga mat for an hour. Never. Never once did I want that in the past year. That’s why I went to a yoga studio in the first place. Because once you’re there, there is no escape. The social pressure is really important for me to overcome lethargy.

But in dwelling on the quote, I thought maybe I could start with something very very short. I could just do it for the length of one song. Just a few stretches. That’s it! One song Caren. You got this.

It worked! That was not too bad. I did not hate that.

Over time, I found that I was totally willing to do yoga for the length of a few songs. Sometimes I would do more than I intended. Isn’t that fun? That’s like a habit starting to form. Woah! I now exercise several mornings a week for ten minutes. Ten minutes is something I can manage. Ten minutes doesn’t freak me out. Ten minutes is happening. I don’t have to pressure myself into it. It’s something I actually like to do. I’ve built a habit.

Rather than make your hopes and goals bigger make them smaller. Make them so small you are doing them.


Are you by chance curious what little book I wrote this quote in? It’s last year’s pandemic little book. Here is a picture of the cover. I can’t get my fill of Danny Trejo in pink. His vegan donuts are off the hook. Try them if you are in Los Angeles.