This Felted Life

Many years ago, (while procrastinating about something, I am sure) I read a book about procrastination that was based on a lot of research.  A prime reason why folks procrastinate, the research suggested, was that we are not good at estimating how long it’ll take us to get something done.  We procrastinators have a poor sense of time.  I’m not sure this is true.  I think many of us who “procrastinate” have a less linear sense of our “to-do” lists than others.  If we see a really great spider web illuminated in the sunshine, we want to see where the spider is and what else is going on in the web.  I bet many of us, when we were little children and found that a baby bird had fallen out of its nest, spent much of the day fussing over that baby bird.  And if it died, we held elaborate funerals and decorated the tiny graves, and our hearts were aching.

Then we grow up, and see that the whole world is filled with baby birds that have fallen from their nests, and we don’t know which way to turn.  So we find some direction and incline in that direction.   Are we who we set out to be?  We are less sure than others, perhaps.

As artists, we listen to our inclinations, and to our muses.  And if our muse wants to go to Paris and we have to go to Cleveland, there is a continual whining from the back seat of “Are we THERE YET?!”  Many felters decline commissions, and I think this listening to our muses is a reason.  It’s hard enough to discern a direction in artmaking that represents a true synthesis of ability and spirit.   Once we accept commissions we are often obligated to set aside our own sensibilities, our own evolving “groove”  — it’s difficult enough to get IN the groove in the first place.  Not to mention those baby birds out of their nests.  We see them.

So many around me are overwhelmed at this moment: busy with the new academic year, concerned about the economy, our minds on getting our children settled in school; concerned for those who are suffering right in our own neighborhoods and around the world; and for some artists, focused on the busyness of the holiday season.

We want to do right: by our art, by our loved ones, by the world.  What does “right” look like and what does it feel like?  The media, and advertisers would have us believe that “right” looks very clean and bright and new.  It is painted in the new colors and it has the right type of heels on its shoes.  Its lawn is lush, its hair does not show roots growing in, its breath is clean and its nails are done and its car is shiny.  There is no hair in the bath tub and there’s always somethin’ bakin’ in the oven.   It gets seven hours of sleep and it gets up really early to fix breakfast/run/meditate/write/pray.  Right looks great and has a clear path.

All around us are messages that we should be and do all things and look great while being and doing it all.  This is impossible.  How do we give ourselves permission to slow down enough to whittle down these incoming messages and discern our own essential self — and be true to this self?   How do we slow down enough — and quietly say “enough” — when our to-do list is impossibly long?

No wonder we procrastinate… now I need to get back to vacuuming.

Published in: on September 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love this post Ann! I know as I get older I tend to focus on what is new and interests me most — and it is unfortunately never vacuuming!!!

    • For some odd reason I do some of my most creative thinking while vacuuming — I’m continually stopping to write something down or do a sketch or assemble some combination of fibers/fabrics, or research something. So the amount of time actually vacuuming can be negligible!

  2. What a beautiful post! Thank you so much!

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