Going Through My Closet

This may come as a surprise to many of you who visit my blog regularly:

I struggle greatly with what might be termed Creative ADD, to put it lightheartedly.

On second thought, many of you may actually have diagnosed me with that malady on numerous occasions as I flit back and forth from drawing to knitting, painting to crochet, ukulele playing to sewing, and even a bit of poetry.  So, whether this surprises you or not, I LOVE LOVE LOVE having so many creative outlets…yet I STRUGGLE STRUGGLE STRUGGLE to find a path, a focus, a sense of direction and purpose in my artistic endeavors. I also crave a focus/”career”/”job” (whathaveyou) that encompasses my WHOLE LIFE and is not sectioned off to certain small segments of my life.

I’ve been blessed with a friend whom I’ve known since I was a little girl and who is also a creative with many interests, a mom, a hard-working gal, and whose insight and experience I both admire and feel drawn to learn from.  She is a mosaics artist who is equally at home with clay and other arts & crafts.  She is the former owner/operator/teacher of Everyday Art Gallery in Reidsville, NC.  We were able to carve out of our busy lives some time to catch up with each other and for me to ply her with the questions that badger me.

Of the many things I came away with that day, one of her questions to me has been most illuminating.  Here’s a paraphrase of how she put it:

Imagine your creative life like your closet…you know, how you sort through your closet from time to time, weeding out and sorting through all the accumulated stuff.  You have your staples, the mainstays, the clothes you wear all the time, feel good all the time, say “you” all the time.  Then you have the clothes that you bring out once in a while…maybe the outfit or two when you’re feeling flamboyant, or when you want to be super comfy.  There are the exercise clothes, the Sunday clothes, the party clothes.  Then there are things you haven’t worn in years and years that really should be given away.  It always does a person good to go through ones’ closet.  So…what is the ONE THING creatively that you couldn’t do without.  What is the mainstay, the staple?  What creative endeavors are seasonal?  Which ones do you think-“well, I want to keep it, but I’m ok with not wearing it today or even this week/month.  I can get to that later.”  And are there any that can be given away that are just weighing you down?

I had an immediate answer to this.  It surprised me that I did, although once said, I felt as if I had spoken it before on numerous occasions. Had I forgotten?  Has the water muddied by just the sheer overwhelm of creative ADD?  Was this further clarity and affirmation that what I actually find myself doing most often is really THE THING I want to do, want to be my focus/job/career?  Yes and YES!!

It has been incredibly liberating to name it.  To actually name and pen the ONE THING that jazzes me most, that makes me giddy, that I’m actually already at work doing in so many ways, but which has opportunities for so many more things I’d love to explore.

So…can you guess??  Teresa, you can’t answer this, since you already know :).  But for any of you who would like to guess at how I answered my friend on Tuesday…is it knitting? crocheting? drawing? painting? poetry? sewing? ukulele playing? other? Which endeavor do you think I named as the linchpin to all the others?  The overarching theme?  The centering purpose?

Leave your thought in the comments and in a day or two, I’ll tell you.  I doubt it will be much of a surprise…but oh, how delightful it has been to be re-surprised by it!! Just naming it and hanging it front and center in my closet has brought a renewed sense of focus and desire and purpose.

Thank you Teresa!

0 thoughts on “Going Through My Closet

  1. Dr Cornelius Snorter says:

    Hello Jennifer,
    I know just what you mean. I try to work on too many things at once or flitting from oil to graphite to digital to landscape to portrait….and I would love to sculpt to write to…to…
    Well I need to focus but to focus is hard.
    I love your blog Jennifer.

  2. Leslie in Alabama says:

    Those lovely line drawings you do with every post- whether it’s about sewing or your wonderful poetry, it’s always accompanied by a drawing with splashes of delicious color added. 🙂

  3. ziggyshortcrust says:

    I’m right with you! And I love your illustration…as always.
    I imagine the one thing you could never give up is being creative, because if one day you are creatively doodling and the next knitting….so what? Oh no, I think I’m talking about me.

    • jenpedwards says:

      It is a comfort to know that others deal with this dilemma too. I have been thinking in the “just be creative” camp for a long time now, and it is helpful. But, for myself lately, I’ve been in need of some focus even within the creative realm…thee’s just so much to do and explore creatively that it is dizzying. But I’m re-discovering that, for me, there’s just one of them that is central AND all-encompassing… Stay tuned. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  4. Mimi in N.S. says:

    I’m similar, and the one thing that really excites and nourishes me is CREATING!
    Recently,in order to help me focus more, i made up a grid. On top of the grid (i made it on paper) are the dates of one month. On the left hand side are things that i would like to do everyday (such as meditate (10 m. at least), organize and or clean (1 hour), do an art journal entry, walk 1 hour, etc. I check them off as i go along my day, not necessarily in any order….and i don’t have to check off everything every day. But, i find that i do want to check off as many as possible, so it gives my day some structure, and i can see some of the things that i have accomplished at the end of the day. Anyway, it seems to be working for me.

    • jenpedwards says:

      This is awesome MImi! I’m glad your finding a “structure” to hold it all and allow you some freedom within it. I think my “structure” is looking like a pyramid, with its widest base being one particular thing that upholds, informs, and gives meaning to all the other creative endeavors. Or maybe more like the axle in a wheel around which all the spokes radiate and are held securely. Like you, this is helping me have some focus for EVERYTHING in my life…all the other creative stuff, family, work, etc. Stay tuned… and thank you for taking the time to comment!

  5. chris says:

    great post-I have the same dilemma -all over the place, random to the extreme. I’m going to guess you want to focus on sketching? Because I love your sketches!

  6. pockettrikeed says:

    Yes, Teresa is a saint you know. Who else but God’s appointed chosen ones to walk alongside the Artist who is trying to understand what they are saying. Just do it they say and let the perceivers tell you what is most important.

  7. ann says:

    At times I have so many different creative ideas that I am too overwhelmed to do anything at all. I really like Mimi’s grid idea, and may try that. As for your one thing, I would say that drawing seems to be central to everything else. Plus I love your sketches! 🙂

  8. tholliday says:

    I can’t really guess because this is the first time visiting your blog, but I can say that it is good to know that I am not the only one suffering from this Creativity ADD. It seems to get worse for me as I get older. I want to learn about and do everything. Love the closet analogy and the way you write. Don’t give that one up. 🙂

  9. raena says:

    Love this post! Great insights! I think you’ll choose the drawing/watercolor because it does seem to be the tool you use to show us about the many other interests you have.

    (I finally requested a new password for wordpress…so maybe I can finally comment!?)

  10. Alex Tan says:

    I think you already knew that whatever you post at your site, I am going to either like or love anyway.
    I have to juggle with so many things that I love, and don’t love too… day job…technical stuff, pays the bills and rent supporting my wife and the cat…. the job? absolutely not liking it as much as I do with drawing. I love guitar, no time or money for that… I love playing video games…spending too much time on that actually. >_< But yeah I still love drawing because I know it's like 'Home' to me… I'll always come back after playing or working elsewhere… it's my warm and comfort zone. I might be away a lot of times for a long time… but I'll always come home.

  11. Cathy Holtom says:

    Just at the moment (your post is very timely) I have so many things and ideas want to do that I risk not doing any of them or doing some not very well. It’s good to hear that other people have similar problems and the grid idea is worth a try.
    I hope whatever you do you don’t give up your drawing and painting, your colours and style always inspires me to pick up my paintbrush!

    • jenpedwards says:

      Thank you Cathy! I hope ou receive some focus for your creative loves as well…and that you continue drawing and painting as well!

  12. Jill cooper says:

    I have a book titled something like… What to do when you have so many things you want to do. Guess what I haven’t had time to read it, I guess we are all much the same flitting from one thing to another. I love your post and am going to try to sort out my ‘closet’, I also like the grid idea.
    I also think drawing and painting are your thing

  13. freebirdsings says:

    I am thinking its drawing and splashing on some color. You seem to enjoy drawing your family most or things that are near and dear, at least for this blog. You don’t seem to be sharing landscapes or animal drawings but I sure see your kids and home here.

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