Finding Time for the Muse

There was an old political cartoon, maybe it was about a past debt crisis, that showed a politician cutting off the end of a blanket and stitching it onto the other end to make it longer.   Many of my days feel like this, except instead of a blanket, I’m manipulating portions of time.  I collect strategies for time management like others might collect snow globes; except snow globes gather dust, while other people’s strategies evolve and yield insight.  Theoretically.

It’s hard to apply other people’s strategies to your own life.

A strategy might include “ruthlessness” in order to get more time for art.  Fact is, one artist’s concept of ruthlessness might involve renting an apartment and moving out, leaving the other spouse to raise the children; or leaving the family to go on a long road trip for the sake of having lots of time for art; and another artist’s concept of ruthlessness might involve serving leftovers or pizza more often and preparing fewer “from scratch” dinners, to yield more studio time.

About a decade ago, a writer friend told me about a writer friend of hers who took the first three hours of the day for her writing.  No matter what.  Company?  They fended for themselves.  I don’t know if this writer had children, but from my experience, they do not fend well for themselves in those early years.

All sorts of distractions offer themselves between the artist and the work to be done.  Many of these distractions come in the form of loved ones, and it can be hard to achieve just the right momentum, the right balance.  No growling as one turns toward the studio (although author Clarissa Pinkola Estes in “Women Who Run with the Wolves” advises women to show our incisors more often…); no tears as one turns to the kitchen (seems to me that in this world, in this economy, those of us who HAVE kitchens and who HAVE food to prepare are among the lucky ones).  How can we find a right balance between art work and the rest of life so that each dimension nurtures the other?  The Nike ad “Just Do It!” may offer part of the answer.   Einstein said that to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome is a form of insanity.   So we try different strategies.


Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment