Monday, February 26, 2007

Chipping wisdom

Lots of folk are digging out of snow and we are smack in the middle of basking season again. I refuse to feel guilty on this one. Believe me, it won't last long. Still, today we ate at the famous Sherman's Deli---outside---and I had half of an obscenely large Reuben sandwich. (The rest sits quietly in the studio refrigerator, snarling softly, waiting for midnight.)

The cool air and warm skies won out and I decided to try the canopy project after all. ( A wind storm several months ago destroyed our largest and I mused on replacing it with a huge papier mache...thing.) It's a fairly large undertaking and I can't really take days off to work on it, but I've decided to chip away at it in bits until it's done or I admit defeat. (Not likely, but it could happen.)

Let me say something about the wisdom of chipping away at something. I don't employ it often enough, though its logic is indisputable. It seems we wait too often. We wait and we lug our dreams around like wet baggage because we can't let go, but can't convince ourselves to find time for them. Short term goals gobble up the long term plans and the days go by and we arrive at the future blinking in surprise.

It's not like time travel.
It is time travel.

Thirty minutes. Maybe just once a week. Maybe the thirty minutes consists of cleaning a corner of a desk to work at. Possibly it consists of staring at a blank sheet of paper and thinking about the "it" we want to do.
Maybe it consists of finding a blank sheet of paper to stare at.

It is, after all, as they say, a process. Wise folk, who've written books, produced plays, learned the piano, shaped their bodies, and mastered difficult languages will say it works.

I would tend to believe them.



Dan Guy said...


(A journey of a thousand miles began with a single step.)

Unknown said...

As someone who has trained in classical ballet for 21 years but chose to sidestep a professional career in order to live a more balanced life, I have to put in my two cents for chipping away.

The bad days in the studio are the ones when I look around me at the people who have something I want for myself--better turnout, higher extension--and envy them. The good days are those in which I live in my body, in the process and the ritual, and feel myself jump a little higher, stretch a little farther, slip in an extra pierrouette when I wasn't sure I could. Coming back after several months off because of an injury a few years ago, I marveled at what my body still knew, and at the things it had managed to process on its own while I was forced to rest and recuperate. Sometimes the self continues to chip away at things even when we don't realize that is what it is doing.

Otherkin said...

I agree. In theory. Putting it into practise would appear to take more energy and hope than I am currently blessed with, but maybe if I just start anyway the inertia and caffeine will conspire to make something happen.

One can only hope.

Thanks for the inspiration! I'm damn well going to finish something today, even if it's only the laundry!

Rubius said...

Thank you as always Lisa. You are one of my happy thoughts.

You never fail to impress and inspire me.


lisa said...

I think the idea behind the 'chipping away' is to train your brain to get into a creative zone. It can be done. Even if nothing gets done the first few sessions, you teach yourself that this time is for _______. Eventually, your brain will catch on and the time will become productive. I didn't make this up. I learned it from Ray Bradbury. He says it worked for him. I talked with Gene Wolfe about it. He had periods in his life where time to write was hard to squeeze in. He agrees it works. Brains can be trained... oops...idea. Better go write this one down.

Thanks, dan guy, carolyn and rubius. you often inspire me.

Miss Bliss said...

Man did I need to read this today or what! I have a boatload a notes for a re-write that I need to do on a project and I have just let the last three weeks slide by telling myself "well I don't have time to get it all done so I'll just wait". I need to get back to my One Page A Day process. That is a totally manageable amount of work on almost any given day and things get done.