I’m going to try and focus on deliberate practice as explained in Anderson’s Peak . I have been attempting to follow the audiobook of The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp but I’m not getting much value from it.
The winding road to reinvention
I don’t really have a problem being creative, and if I’m honest with myself I can sustain productivity ‘when it matters’ – what I need to get better at is ‘when it matters less’ and also in being creative in a growth way.
I continue to mess around at the foothills of creative skills development – having now amassed enough materials to run a small art shop, and enough instructional material to make my attempts at moderating my children’s consumption habits a total mockery. The challenge is not to constantly start again, but to push myself into new things.
I guess the analogy is with running. You can run for various reasons – mental health, it helps you work through problems, physical sensation, as part of a wider programme, towards a set goal…. (and stretching the analogy arguably once you have a sufficient base level you can do more ambitious things without injury to body or pride). I do most of my art because it makes me happy. Now I need to work on my ability for art to make me feel good about myself – different concepts.
I find the creative process soothing. Recently, while listening to one of my kids humming incessantly and the other singing while building LEGO (the ‘All I wanna do is poop’ song, an instant classic, highly recommended) – I recognised the trait in myself – when I’m happy I make ‘music’. Or more usually, I do something with one part of my brain – write, make – while listening to music. But sound is critical to my ‘process’.
I’ve reflected a few times how the feeling of being ‘enclosed’ in my studio is part of my enjoyment. I prefer (or maybe I simply associate more) with working in the dark, listening to (mostly) obscure music on BBC 6 Music. The joy of working in the studio outside conventional office hours is basically the playlist is eclectic.
Which is all a very long-winded way of saying that last night I made some endpapers for a couple of Bradel notebooks; cut enough millboard down to make a further five; and used the offcut from the Canson endpapers to begin making a modified Shrigley. And during the work I heard this, and was enchanted:
Although to think I am reinventing myself as a folkie is probably a step too far. But what a beautiful voice.