This summer I was helping my parents make a significant change in their life. It was a very challenging time. To cope, I showed up at my journal nightly, wrote an entry and a poem. Not all were works of art, but as I briefly speak about on my website, I showed up. And, it was good for me.
In a bold move, here is one:
They’re supposed to
A murky tear.
My Dad once said, “Don’t take no for an answer.” My Mom was equally bold in her advice. It was good.
When I decided to audition for “Le Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique”, one of my French teachers rolled her eyes, and exclaimed (en Francais) that she knew French people who had tried to get in and didn’t make it. Certainly an “anglophone” had NO chance. I decided to not go near her during my preparation time, avoiding her black cloud energy. It was tough enough without her input!
So… you can imagine the delight I had when I announced to her that this “anglophone” had made it through two auditions and 2 days of observation, and was accepted. She was as they say in Quebec “bouche bée”… mouth agape!
The following post by Geoff Talbot reminds us of famous people and their (wrong) naysayers. A reminder to take opinions with a grain of salt.
Do you have a similar situation to share?
…Famous Wrong Predictions…
In the world of art & entrepreneurship be encouraged… when it comes to innovation no one really knows anything…
“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” Opponents to Edwin L Drakes plan to drill for oil in 1849.
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles in 1962.
Yes… I’m being brave because I’m, for the first time, (I think), putting up a blog post that is simply some creative writing. I found this piece I had written a couple of years ago. In fact, long before boldly diving into blogging.
It shows my fear surrounding my writing, and also shows me that I’ve stopped listening to that voice, otherwise, I wouldn’t have a blog or two!
The cursor blinked on the empty page.
The voice was speaking. The voice was taunting, teasing, provoking, driving, tormenting, intensifying, and succeeding. It always succeeded. It always won. It wore a badge of honour. It had the best sabres, the best ploys, the best reasons; it even wore designer clothes- of course. It’s home? Her head. And, she was prisoner.
Each time she planted her fingers on the keyboard, a list of her shortcomings unfurled and the voice gladly announced each and every one of them.
She slammed her computer closed, grabbed her keys and sped with urgency out of the city.
In the woods, she stopped in front of a massive cedar tree and wondered at its thick bark protecting it from the wills of the world. She stared up at the resilient spire feeling dizzy. She found the voice’s argument to be strong and valid. Why on earth would her thoughts matter? What made her think she had anything significant to share or express?
The voice snickered with conceit, keeping up the momentum: “Not only are you a pathetic writer, you are unfocused, you have no hope, you are wishy washy, uncommitted, lazy, and…. “
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!” Her real voice suddenly competed. Her real voice spewed forth. Her body dizzyingly spun and she collapsed to the ground.
At last, silence.
A robin in the distance chirped – clear, unencumbered. The trees whispered with the wind nodding in approval. Finally, now, maybe she could write her piece.
Today, I chose to walk to a meeting in my neighbourhood. Well.. the meeting didn’t happen but it gave me another chance to admire spring, observe new plants, buds, and blossoms poking up everywhere.
I recalled my first winter (early spring) in Vancouver when we wandered around in awe at the cherry blossoms in FEBRUARY!! Our move had been delayed as we had been completely buried in a huge snowstorm. Cherry blossoms seemed so unreal… but heavenly.
They still are 19 years later.
However, Mother Nature can be mysterious and I love checking her out, seeing what signs, and guidance she can give me. As I was passing a tree today (I have had this thought prior) I marveled at the blossoms exploding from it…without leaves. The blossoms weren’t waiting for any slowpoke leaves to get their spring springing! They were going for it, and nothing was going to stop them.
Hmm… I thought that was a really good example of not waiting for everything to be perfect. That’s it… that’s all I want to say.
Last week I attended the gallery opening, “New Culture” the works of Nicholas Galanin. Having spoken to Craig Sibley, Trench Gallery owner, prior, I knew something unique was awaiting.
My purpose here is not to critique the work but to give you a taste so you will want to explore the work yourself. There are surprises. Some are disturbing, others, whimsical and impressive.
This exhibition is emerging Trench Gallery’s fourth, and builds on its mission to “present challenging, meaningful, tactile work created with a deep understanding of contemporary art practice”. My hope is that you might get curious enough to meander down to Gastown, where the gallery resides, and witness a creative mix of the traditional and the contemporary.
The Artist Statement
“I work with concepts, the medium follows. In the business of this “Indian Art World” I have become impatient with the institutional prescription and it’s monolithic attempt to define culture as it unfolds. Native American Art will not be commonly defined as our work moves freely through time. The viewer, collector, or curator’s definition often conveys more about themselves than that of the “Native Artist”.”
“In the past I have struggled with this title, though, now I embrace my position as a contemporary indigenous artist with belief that some forms of resistance often carry equal amounts of persistence. My current collection of work presents visual experiences in hope of inspiring creative dialogue with the viewer. I work with an intention to contribute towards contemporary cultural development. Through education and creative risk taking I hope to progress cultural awareness.”
This is Trench Gallery’s fourth exhibition, and if they are all as exciting as this, I will be in full attendance!
Visit Craig Sibley at 102-148 Alexander Street, Gastown, Vancouver. Exhibit goes to April 9, 2011.
I come from an artistic family. I grew up surrounded by pottery and paintings by my father, and fibre artistic works (weaving, knitting, needlework, quilting & more) by my mother. They were always making things. Our cupboards were filled with pottery. Our floors covered with woven and hooked rugs. I wore handmade sweaters, hats, and scarves, and funky leg warmers (still have them).
Eventually we moved from Banff to Prince Edward Island where my family purchased land, built a house, and made our own shop, which resulted in me learning the world of sales early in life.
I also puttered, dabbled in my parent’s art. I would draw, make pinch pots, slab boxes, pendants, and I would help put on Mom’s warps and sand the bottoms of Dad’s pottery so it was smooth to touch. I tried knitting, but was abysmal. When it came to craft fair time, I would help load & unload the van, and watch my mother skillfully display their work. These observations served me well later in years!
My Dad taught as well. When he taught his drawing and painting classes I would sometimes sit in and partake. I would overhear some of his instruction and try to apply it. I liked it. I would get frustrated, but mostly I liked it. But I preferred drawing so I would do that more frequently by myself.
But… it’s funny.
My parents were always the artists in my mind. I wasn’t an artist. I didn’t feel I could own that title. They were very good at what they did, and I admired their singled passions.
Finally, years later, I thought I had discovered a similar passion in acting. And, yes… it most certainly is a passion but I still felt I also wanted something where I didn’t need an audience or a team. Writing, yes… a definite possibility, as I used to love doing that when I was a kid, too… And, when I show up to my blog, I am happy.
You know what?
Just last week, I dove back into the world of paint, encouraged by my painter friend, Melanie Kobayashi, and experienced a ripple of surprising excitement. Mel guided me into her studio, offered me paints, a massive piece of heavy paper, and ordered me to “load up your brush and don’t be scared!” I did what I was told, and soon was having a cathartic dance with the paint and canvas.
My inner critic showed up several times just to keep me humble and sweating. “Anyone can do that” “You’re cheating” “That’s doesn’t take talent” “Who do you think you are painting?” “Wow.. bad taste in colour”…I chased away it away many times.
I replaced my inner expulsions to “I’m just having fun”…. And some obscene chasing off remarks, similar to “buzz off”.
I succeeded in keeping going, and not succumbing to a perfectionist attitude. It was hard work in some ways, and on the other side it was deeply satisfying. And, because of the size of the work… oh, boy.. did my thighs ache the following days. But in the best way possible!
Would you like to see it? I hesitated to post my first attempt, my first abstract purge, but, what the heck!
It’s a wild one… I decided to call it “Mel Made Me Do It”….
Funny how one seemingly unrelated creative activity can open the doors to others. Some old plans for something have re-emerged since painting but… that’s for another time.
Where do you allow yourself to play, create, and open the channels?
I have just spent three amazing days auditing, witnessing, observing, absorbing, laughing, crying, taking notes, processing, confirming, squirming, cheer-leading, supporting, holding my breath, thinking and agreeing at the Larry Moss Workshop by Vancouver Acting School.
No, Larry Moss, well known American acting coach, does not need to find his inner bouffon. He has it well intact as he was brutally, and winkingly (a made up Trilby word) truthful, like a bouffon loves to be, with each and every actor who was brave enough to perform a scene for him to critique.
And, he did.
Mr. Moss did not let one person off the hook. And, it wasn’t because he prances around with an ego to show off his expertise and tremendous experience. No… he does it because he cares deeply, very deeply about actors and their unseen potential.
He pushed, prodded, swore, bullied, encouraged, inspired, threatened, and did whatever it took to break through an actor’s carefully placed mask to get to their raw truth.
“It’s all about the story!” “Fall in love with the writing!” “If the writer wrote it, we want to hear it!” “Grow up to the writer.” “It’s about telling the story, all about the story.” “Script analysis… good actors are good detectives!”
Held at the spacious Rio Theatre in Vancouver, actors were forced to find their theatre voice – a challenge for many since a minimalist style of film acting, “faux naturalism”, has become a sad epidemic, according to Larry Moss. “Narcissism is killing our work as artists.” “You’re all being geared for TV and it will eat you alive.” “Be brilliant in the theatre and the films will find you.”
Actors were made to do push ups, stamp the stage, scream, and shout, dance, and hold their hands to their ribs while doing their lines in order to find a grounded voice. Over and over again we witnessed breakthroughs, after breakthroughs, and wonderful gems proving this type of work is necessary. (it also affirmed the work I do with my buffoonery acting students)
On the last day, I recognized a part of myself in a certain actor, and took his work he did with Larry to my heart. Very quickly I found myself in tears, tugging down my hat, relating to his difficulty of letting go of control and trusting the idea, the text, and not being afraid of vulnerability.
Yet, if I look back at some recent work, I have let go. I have gone into the deep end, but I know I could go even deeper.
Other actors shed tears, as well, after their work with Larry was over. “How do you feel?” “I’m lost.” “No, you’re not lost, you’re getting found.” He leans forward, “All tears are because you now know what you didn’t know.” “… a nervous breakTHROUGH…”
He looks out at us. “Isn’t it funny, acting helps us rip down our defenses and be more human.”
The three-day session equaled a roller coaster of emotions, confirmations, and inspiration. I have to thank Kirsten Clarkson from the Vancouver Acting School for giving the gift of Larry Moss to our acting community.
We needed it.
“Choose something beyond your wildest dreams… dare to be great.” Larry Moss.
(Subsequent posts will contain more about the workshop as there is much to discuss… stay tuned..)
That’s my excuse for my lack of blogging. But I am not going to waste time apologizing, but rather just jump in and start with a musical interlude by the Steve Miller Band.
I used to search for this appropriate for the moment song as a little girl in bed, under the covers with my transistor radio and earplug. I searched the night airwaves until I had heard it a few times before drifting off into sleep. What did I know so instinctively as a twelve year old?
Do you ever have so much to do that you become a deer in the headlights and can’t seem to accomplish anything?
You stare at your computer, the piling up papers, the dying plants on the balcony, the list of phone calls to make, the books unread, the gathering dust, the tantalizing projects demanding your creativity, the workshops to book, the website to re-vamp, the tweets to tweet, the photos to get printed, the food shopping to do (we can go one more day without granola?), the other pile of tax stuff waiting, the nagging laundry, the birthday card & gift to send…. need I go on?
Western problems. Our world on “overwhelm”. Kind of makes you feel silly. Nothing on that list is life threatening, or dramatic. But, in my little bubble, the tornado of those tasks whirling around affects my entrepreneurial work habits, and my quiet time.
So, it’s time to hone in, make some choices, and simplify.
Maybe that means attending less “meetings”, cleaning up the desk, once and for all, checking emails less frequently, choosing a website format that makes it easier for my clients to also have clarity.
Maybe it means setting aside some of those “how to” books, and just diving in and doing. (My parents didn’t have pod casts to watch, seminars to take, social media skills to learn, and they still managed to have a business!)
Maybe it means just turning off all electronic devices for a period of time!
Maybe it means not feeling guilty when having a long winded, enjoyable coffee with a friend.