Monday, September 28, 2020

Overthinking

 


In my continuing inquiry into the creative process, I have one idea for today. I will start with a piece of paper 4”x6”, a photo, a scissors, and a stapler. I will cut out a 4-sided shape about 3/4” on each side. I’ll cut it from the back of the photo after rotating it around so that I won’t know what I’m cutting out. There is no possibility (in my mind) of having “writer’s block” with this strategy because I know that I’ll be faced with a problem after stapling the scrap to the paper. It will either be finished or something will be missing. Working with the idea that the two elements in a picture are variety and repetition, I’ll choose one or the other or both and cut out a second shape. I’ll continue this process until I can’t think of doing anything more, or until it is 11pm and Mensa texts me that it is bedtime.

I heard yesterday that when the Zen teacher, Joko Beck, was asked what she did when she meditated she answered, “thinking.” I decided I would try that. I imagined the word, “think” written on my wall. I ordered myself to “think” rather that trying to do something else and ending up “thinking.” What would I think about if I told myself to think. I was completely paralyzed. I couldn’t think of anything. Trying to think wasn’t possible. How would one do that? Finally it became apparent that I had Joko Beck all wrong. She wasn’t orchestrating thoughts, nor was she drifting off with them. She was simple noticing them and (as she did), likely was labeling them. Art thought. Meditation thought. Time to start though.

P.S. So I started on the piece, and then realized there is a big spread between making a wood doll and making Pinocchio. The question is not how to make the thing look good… that’s design… but rather how to give it life. There seems to be a point when I realize that I need to take charge and make this piece into something. It is the point where the original idea goes away and the kid becomes their own person. It is the most difficult part of the creative process because it involves magic. I suppose it is the same with cooking. What is the difference between great chili, and chili that one would die for (as in, I died and went to heaven). How do you do that? Can that be taught?

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