Is the Picture Big Enough?
Life poses many choices. I gotta pick something every now and again. Hopefully, the choice I make is the best one for the moment.
But, how am I ever to know? I cannot live in parallel universes or at least I do not think I can. Is multi-tasking a form of operating in parallel universes? Now, I am listening to music, writing this blog entry, drinking water, eating tamari-roasted almonds and trying to take care of my aching back.
A friend once impressed upon me that since I was alone and the world lay before me, I should take advantage of every second of every day. I don't know exactly how he saw me doing that. But he drinks a helluva lot of coffee and I don't, so maybe his perceptions are generally speedy.
Since the time my friend freely gave me that advice, my emotional, spiritual and expressive lives, which are integrated more closely now than ever before, have guided me through my choices. The sky may be the limit, but choosing within that limit is the challenge. Imagining the limit is the challenge. Adapting to readily identifiable givens seems to be the first step to establishing "the limit."
By "limit," I mean answering the question who am I? within my art. How clearly can I describe what I have chosen to describe. At some junctures, my writing and my art have been so baroque that determining what is going on has been extraordinarily difficult. The endless verbosity has flowed like a river; if spoken, the words translated as meaningless stream of consciousness. Oddly enough, in the art of creative writing, that is called "generative prose." Buried within that generative prose was the writer's voice. It is still taking shape. In the art, I started out over thirty years ago with a vision that is pure, but in order to secure that vision, the work had to become so impetuous and impulsive that it was a relief to find some inkling of the source for the purity. Buried within the mess of marks and uncharacteristic imagery was a clear, unadulterated visual statement. It took forever to re-establish it.
The art and the writing have strangely developed a voice that was always there. I just had to shape it, hone it, and keep manifesting the principles I always believed in. Aye, those principles were the crux. Sustaining them meant that I was building the skeleton. I simply had to make it stronger and the bones constituting it had to be as dense as possible.
Improvised music sometimes may sound like no musician knows where he or she is going. William Parker once said, and certainly his statement is shared by all improvisers, that an improviser has to have chops. Just like the athlete has to have muscles. It is only then that the musician can succeed in going where he knows he must go. Chops allow freedom. Expressiveness becomes a matter of course, something you can do and do well. Responsiveness to oneself or to someone else is automatic. No labor involved.
Art and writing can be as temporal as music given intentions of the artist. But the refinement and the editing, respectively, can take more time...before the picture is framed or the writing is copyrighted, published or simply finished as an example of one of those satisfying creative efforts.
So as the motion from one creative act to another may involve more than one state of consciousness to reach a destination, I am still traveling towards the original celestial limit. My mind is like a chemical multi-directional conveyor belt. The limit will never be reached, because I have no idea where it is. All I can do is relish the trip and not postpone the joy. Wherever that is, however that can be achieved. And joy is the impetus behind the choices. I have to remember to enrich the major choices with the details that can accompany them. I can wear a white shirt, a black jacket and jeans, but what do I wear underneath? Lace or cotton underwear? And how about jewelry? And mascara and lipstick? I mean how far do I go to accessorize? Will I still be recognized?
copyright 2010 Lyn Horton
photo: partial view of "Still Life with Curves" #13, copyright 1974-2010 Lyn Horton