As I relaxed on the beach, listening to waves lapping, I mused further on the benefits and need for “play” in our lives. Just as we need to play with our art materials, we need to have time to play in our work-a-day worlds. Even if we enjoy our “work”, we can become hunkered down trying to make it through the week if we don’t find ways to play a bit, let go of agendas and the incessant striving to “get better”.
Over the last 12 or so years of “being an artist”, I’ve seen how something that begins so playful and full of life, can lose its lustre when it becomes one’s job, a money-maker, a grasping for being professional…whatever that means! There is a delightfulness in being a newbie to something. I re-realized this as I plunked haltingly on my new ukelele. There’s something intrinsically wonderful to being a beginner, to being on the first steps of a new journey of discovery, to doing whatever-it-is poorly…but doing it with fervor and passion! It infects the rest of your life. The wonder of discovering chords and chord progressions, the delight in realizing that the complexities of music are sometimes quite simple, figuring out how to finger-pick a little…gives you a renewed zest for doing the dishes for 15 people after a lasagna meal, and for getting all sandy and gritty with your 8 year old to make, yet another, sand castle.
So for all of you newbies out there, whether you’re a newbie to drawing and painting, or photography, or quilting, knitting, crocheting, or a musical instrument, here’s my thought for you:
Enjoy being a newbie! Celebrate being a beginner! Rejoice at all the wonky drawings, splotched paintings, halting plunks on your uke, buzzing strings, lost stitches in your knitting, ripped out rows…they are all part of the play! Play on!