As Essential as Breathing

I found this article on creativity in Sunday’s Washington Post:

Art is to these locals like the air they breathe — an irrepressible part of their lives

an excerpt:

“The arts call them, which doesn’t always mean it pays them, merely that it takes them to another world. Or grants them communion in this one. ¶ “We can either be artists with a capital A, or we can make art with our lives,” says Patti Digh, author of the book “Creative Is a Verb.” “It’s so beautiful when you’re in the presence of someone who is letting go of outcome and making a strong offer to the world.” ¶ Some would-be artists had inner critics, or third-grade teachers, or father figures who told them to settle down, so they put their creativity away. ¶ The irrepressible ones, who make art like they breathe, never really can.”

I recognize the situation, for this describes me to a T. There have been several times in my life I tried to give up the foolish art and live a normal life.  I could dispense with mess, clutter, expenses, disappointment, and wasted time. After my divorce I moved to another state, and let go of all the trappings of artist’s life. I got an ordinary office job, and was determined to move ahead with a new life. Before long I met Myrna, who appointed herself my Jewish mother (“Because everybody needs one, honey!”) Myrna had a yard sale, and I went looking for a few things for my new apartment. I went home with a carload of supplies and furniture from her son’s former art studio. In a few weeks I was working on graphics for a friend, then working for a printer in pre-press.

Art came back to me. It was not going to be left behind! It’s like a positive version of “No matter where you go, there you are.”  I’ve had other tests of this theory. I worked long and hard on exhibiting in galleries and markets in the late 90s./early aughts, and quit after not seeing enough income for all that effort.

You know, it doesn’t matter. One of the most freeing things I’ve ever learned is that I can let my work be mediocre.  That way I can tolerate its existence long enough for it to grow into something I didn’t forsee. Something amazing. (or not!)

Follow your muse!

love, Patrise




2 thoughts on “As Essential as Breathing

  1. You remind us that there is a difference between ‘making room’ for something important, and doing it as if it is breathing. Success is in doing…and doing what is important to you…with joy.

  2. Great post, Patrice. After an artistic youth, for about 20 years I put my creative energy into my children, not art – but happily it came back to art. For me, too, it’s more about the process than what I end up with.

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