Sunday, June 11, 2017
I hope your first full week of June was fruitful. Mine has been full of change. Right now I'm still catching up to it. If you're wondering about the odd little character in the pictures above I was only responsible for his lower half. That glorious head was the contribution of another artist.
I took part in a surrealistic game this weekend called the exquisite corpse. Basically people were divided up into two groups, one group made bodies and the other made heads. Each of us had numbers that we were to keep secret while we worked. I was hoping for a head. I've sculpted heads before, I was fairly sure I could make one. I drew a body. I had no idea what to do. Well there just so happened to be a circle cutter in front of me in one of the tool baskets. So I rolled out a slab of clay and started cutting out circles. I thought maybe I could do a turtle shell or something. As I worked and made the piece to stand up, I realized it was no turtle. It was a bit wobbly so I added a tail to stabilize it. As I looked around the room I noticed that everyone was making quite large heads so I added the weird webbed feet for a little balance. So now I had a godzilla tail and platypus feet. I could tell it needed something for arms and I went with flipper-like appendages similar to a penguin. Now all through this exercise I was certain that my creation sucked, I was beginning to doubt the wisdom of joining this clay community. The growing surety that I would be exposed as a fraud with no talent was slowly rising. Time was called, and us bodybuilders got to meet the headshrinkers. When I saw the head I was amazed by it. I was sure the other artist was feeling gipped that his head got such a rotten body. I was wrong. He loved the body's quirkiness, and to top it off it fit perfectly in the opening I had left. When we put them together they just worked. Could my body have been a tad bit more streamlined, of course, but it did create quite a character.
I share this story because it is good to note that comparing our efforts to others' is a losing game. My persistent self doubt in my abilities could have completely tanked the evening. Instead I had a wonderful time. The critic in me didn't silence, but I put him in the corner while I worked, laughed, and visited with the other artists. My experience wasn't unique, there were other people who were doubting their efforts as well. Yet we kept working and when we came together we all created something that brought us great joy and surprise.
Life is the exquisite corpse game. We never have all the pieces we need ourselves to make the whole picture of life. We often don't even know what those pieces are until we meet the others who bring them. Just as they don't know about the piece of their lives that we've been building. We can worry about our little bit and cry and say it isn't worthy, but if we decide to just smile and nod to that inner critic while we carry on, miraculous things may happen. I've been away from clay for a while, and though it now shares the stage with my healing work it is just as necessary.
So what does this mean to you? Well I am sure you have disparate parts of your life that seem to be out of place, but somehow they fit together in just the right way to make you who you are. You may be working away on one half of a life thinking it is meant for one thing, meanwhile a wildcard creation will come along and fuse with that life in chimera-like fashion. So when that happens don't go looking for why it shouldn't work. If it works together just let it be, appreciate it's oddity and uniqueness, and stop doubting the value of your own contribution.
Peace and Blessings,