I was asked this on a couple of occasions during the Eclection Art Show on Saturday. “So which is it you love the most? Drawing? or Knitting?” That has not been an easy thing to answer for many years. My own agony over which takes precedence over the other has been excruciating at times. Recently though, I’m finding some peace in a new way of thinking about it.
Late yesterday afternoon the door bell rang. I was in the throws of the final pages of Sarah Addison Allen’s book, The Sugar Queen. I got up and opened the door to no one. An Amazon package was sitting there on my front stoop. I picked it up, saw that it had my name on it. But knowing that I had not ordered anything, I took it to my husband and said it must be for him.
It turned out it was indeed for me, a gift from my dear dad. I knew this book was special since I had been reading about one of the main characters in Allen’s book for whom books just show up at just the right time. Chloe finds specific books on her kitchen counter, her bedroom floor, they follow her to work, etc. They are meant for her, to help her, encourage her right where she needs it. The book my dad sent to me is Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.
Let’s back up a bit, to the book I had just finished reading the day before devouring Allen’s book. I had been savoring Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You ‘re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are . Of the many, many wonderful things in this book, there was a section where she talked of another author (how many books will there be?) Marci Alboher, an author/speaker/coach who wrote: One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success. Brown writes, “Alboher interviewed hundreds of people pursuing multiple careers simultaneously and discovered how slash careers–researcher/storyteller, artist/real estate agent–integrate and fully express the multiple passions, talents, and interests that a single career cannot accommodate. Marci’s book is full of stories about people who have created meaningful work by refusing to be defined by a single career. “
So which is it?
All of it.
I like that. I could actually add a couple more slashes there. “Writer” comes to mind, though I am hesitant to call myself one. Seems too lofty. But I do a lot of it. And even more lately as I’ve been ruminating and mulling over many creative connections that are banging around in my head. It’s really the only way I can deal with all the thoughts in there…write them down. That way they reside somewhere other than in my head. Writing them down helps to sort them out and to make sense of the varying, sometimes disparate parts, integrating them and in-so-doing, giving me a sense of wholeness too.
Which now brings me to the book that landed on my doorstep yesterday. I’ve been writing in my journal a lot lately about creative practices. A practice is something in one’s life he or she does on a regular basis that is not necessarily tied to a job, but is integral to one’s life and vocation. Many people have a practice of doing yoga or jogging, a practice of meditation or prayer. This is exactly what Twyla Tharp’s book is about…developing A Creative Habit, or ritual(s) in one’s life that nurtures and sustains. I am reading with relish this book that has so obviously come into my life at just the right time. Thanks Dad!
I am not blogging these days as often as I have in the past. There are many reasons for this, but the main one being that life is so very full right now. With life being full and my head being full (of thoughts), I need my creative habits all the more. I sketch and draw to drop into my busy life and really feel it, experience it, instead of just letting it pass me by. I knit to slow down, to find creative moments in the in-betweens of life–at soccer practices and on road-trips to Wingate, etc. I walk each day in and around my neighborhood, a life-long practice (habit) that is crucial to my health and well-being as a human being AND as a creative person. And, of course, I told you about writing… a rich, daily habit I’ve had for decades.
And you? Which is it for you? What slash title would you give yourself? What habits do you have that sustain you? I’m planning on delving more into this whole topic in the future. Slowly. Bit by bit. As I have time, energy, and ability. In the meantime, I will keep drawing/knitting/writing/walking/praying/meditating/reading as “practices” or “habits” to sustain me. I hope you will too!
Notes on some of the photos and drawings above:
The first drawing is of my oldest daughter when she visited and came with me to draw at Eclection. It is perhaps one of my favorite drawings of late as it combines several of my slash titles…mother/artist/knitter.
A pair of socks I finished knitting recently and a couple of washcloths. These are my go-to projects of late…perfect for taking with me everywhere.
Last week I followed an inner prompting to “go to the Gardens” even though I had a to-do list a mile long. I was delighted to discover a brand new section that has been opened at our Ciener Botanical Gardens!!
The completed drawing/painting of this new Garden section.
Our cat Lucy is often near me when I knit. If she isn’t in my lap, she is behind my head stretched out on the top of the chair, purring as I knit.:)
The latest pair of socks on the needles…delighting in every stitch, every color, every pattern. <Sigh>