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Posts Tagged ‘Art’

No Time to Write Makes Tiffany a GRUMPY Girl!

In The Daily Drool, Uncategorized on May 4, 2010 at 11:39 am

Well, just like the heading reads… Census training and a serious game of Catch the Eff Up has curtailed my blogging/writing time.  I plan to get back in the swing of things tonight, but in the meantime, check out this really cool article/slideshow about organic art – artists using biological matter to create art – beetles, moss, bones, etc.  Some cool pieces to stir the imagination!

TIME?!

In Photography, The Daily Drool on March 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Today is a busy, busy day… one where I don’t have a lot of time to play or to write, or to do anything, really, because my brother is in town and I want to go see him and be playful, instead of plotting and planning, and “Doing things I’m supposed to do”  Like pack…

So I’m giving in.

And I’m not going to spend a lot of time here as a result… but I will include a few fun pics I’ve turned out this week (by way of some awesome models and some fun props)  for your enjoyment!

CAPTION ME!!!

(Tap, tap, tap) Is this thing on?

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on March 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Alright kids, pull up your overalls and get ready for some soap-boxin’ – I have just come from one of those meetings that make you itchy all over with Verbage Coloriscus.  (Yes, I just made that up.  And I like how it sounds, so I ain’t deletin’.  I told you, I’m soap boxin’!)

… AHEM…(ready?)

Writers.

We love to read their words, we love to watch their plays/movies/t.v. shows.  We love to revel in the visual representation of their imaginations.  We know it’s slow-going, and difficult to succeed, but somehow, through all the impossibilities that impede a writer’s life, the cream (hopefully) rises to the top of our book-stacks, Blockbuster queues, and DVR schedules.

And we love them for it.

So it makes sense that, after a life spent rejoicing in the fruits of a writer’s labors, the occasional citizen (okay, many, many citizens) feel inspired to tackle the process themselves.  They think “I can do that!  I have a GREAT idea!” and, fighting plenty an obstacle to dissuade them, they set to work harvesting minutes from whatever it is they usually do, in order to indulge the passion that has swept over them.

And it is fun!  It’s exciting!  They have discovered a challenge of great personal reward!  They rejoice in the creation and birth of their idea-baby.  And I applaud mightily those that sweat their way to “The End” or “Fade out” because between having an idea, and seeing it to fruition, lies a trecherous path paved with self-doubt, the skepticism of family, friends, and bosses, irritating day-jobs, and various other personal challenges- some as revelatory as realizing “This isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be!”  And so, with that final, blessed period, the average citizen has just done something even seasoned writers can struggle with- they’ve created a First Draft.

And it is awesome.

All those words!  All those thoughts!  A pile of pages where before there were none.  A world of ideas painted by you!

You stand up from your desk and allow the internal dance of happiness and accomplishment to wash over you.

It is awesome.

It is also terrifying.

Because now you must actually hand this precious egg over to those who would evaluate it.  You must deliver it to the hands of (gasp) The Reader.  And The Reader, who may be your mother, your cousin, a teacher, or a professional acquaintance… They will look your baby over and deliver judgement.  They might be kind, scalding, indifferent… you have no way of knowing what an audience will think/see/feel/or even (God love ’em!) say.

Your dance of happiness and accomplishment tries to ignore the reality of this forthcoming “sharing”, and keeps dancing; you’ve come this far, surely the next part will be easier…

But your responding action to The Reader’s, well, response, is where a number of new writers stumble, throw in the towel and grumble.  The dance of joy becomes a tantrum of panic.  “You mean I’m not done?!  But… but… ARG!!! ”  It is yet another hurdle to hop.  It is the crossroads at which those who are content to have just done the thing go back to their day-jobs, and those truly believe (perhaps insanely so) in their work, in their idea, and in themselves, pick up the thing (now battered and bloody) roll up their (tired) sleeves, and set out to make it better.

And so the process goes; With each idea – new challenges and lessons.  With each lesson learned – new skills and stronger understanding of the craft.   With a stronger understanding of the craft – new and better work.

This is the life of the writer, it is one of constant evolution.

And anyone who tells you otherwise is full of shit.

Because we don’t live to be still and we certainly don’t write to be stagnant.  We create to revolutionize – to stir thought and consciousness -whether to laughter, to tears, or to change – it is all born of “I have something to say that will move you.”

Which is why, if you have an idea, you must yourself be ready to move – to take action – to evolve.

Some people don’t see this.  They fail to open themselves up to the transformation that must occur, the metamorphosis that becoming (or accepting your path as) a writer requires.  They stand still and unbending, their “idea” wrapped around them like a steel case, cast and forged of machine, and they are unable to grow – unable to see the sun when it shines, disputing the rain when its drops fall, and forever peering up at the mighty trees around them wondering “Why can I not see what they see?  If I were only as tall as them, why, I bet I could see for miles and miles!”

The Sapling, so eager to protect itself, grows not an inch.  The Idea, born of so much passion and enthusiasm, sees not the light of day from its steel case of Ego.

And to these people, I can only say “I am sorry.”

For it is not enough to look up at me as I grow and ask me why you do not; you must also be willing to listen when I  answer.

You must be willing to try the tools that I hand you.

You must be willing to part ways with old thoughts, if you are to have any hope of absorbing the new.

And I have neither the time, nor the inclination, to pass my hard-won lessons along to those with deaf ears, blind eyes, and few roots.  I cannot describe to you the view from where I stand if you insist on staring at (and complaining about) only your own rocky ground.

Because I am moving.

Because it has taken me my whole life to get Here.

And I will continue to evolve as Here becomes There.

And until you respect and understand that writing a thing and becoming a writer are two very different things, all the words in the world will not be enough to make sense of that to you.

Bringing it With You

In Essays, The Daily Drool on March 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm

It really is amazing to me, the power of transformation that can occur when attending a play, or a movie, a dance… any form of art really.  It’s amazing because you are bearing witness to the same event as all those in the audience with you, yet eveyrone’s take on it will be different – even if only slightly- because so much of experiencing art depends on what you brought into the art with you.

For instance, the movie UP IN THE AIR…  A lot of people have been enjoying the movie, and it’s won its fair share of statues along the awards path too, but I walked out of the theater completely captured by the film, and I knew it was because my life at present seems so very “Up in the air.”  This film spoke to me, moved me, and I felt like I totally “Got” it – in a way that I was hyper aware of… I even thought to myself “Wow, I don’t know if I would have liked this a year ago, it’s kind of a major bummer.”  But coming into the theater with myself and my own current bag of issues?  I thought it was brilliant.

And isn’t art always like that?

You walk in, and depending on your mood or present state of being, you pull different things from the experience than all the other bag-carriers around you.

Yesterday my dear friend Doc and I went to see this crazy Charles Mee play, BOBRAUSCHENBERGAMERICA.  Now, if you know a little more about the artist Bob Rauschenberg, and then you know a little more about the playwright Charles Mee, this pastiche of image and action might have meant… something… more.  To you.  Than it did to me.

I spent the majority of the time I was watching it thinking about my own work.

But, for that reason, I consider the play experience a success.  The imagery and oddness of the text of this play reminded me to break outside the boxed-in thinking that sometimes happens when I’m immersed in a particular work.  I came up with about four different veins of inspiration from those two hours, and that’s pretty exciting.  So my experience of this piece was one of inspiration, whereas some other people in the audience felt moved to cheer, and others still felt like they should get their money back.

This is what I love about art.  And there was a particularly nice riff in the aforementioned play about exactly this…

You know, that’s how it is to deal with art
because art is made in the freedom of the imagination
with no rules
it’s the only human activity like that
where it can do no one any harm
so it is possible to be completely free
and see what it may be that people think and feel
when they are completely free
in a way, what it is to be human when a human being is free
and so art lets us practice freedom
and helps us know what it is to be free
and so what it is to be human.

I think this speaks to the essence of this post – if Art is freedom, then we are all free to take from it what we see- individually.  Sometimes we want to take it all, and sometimes we don’t want anything to do with it.  But the point is, we’re bringing ourselves into the mix, this salient being… we’re donating it to the experiment, shaking it up and down with an eagerness to see what happens.  We can never view art, or the world for that matter, completely free of our own selves, and so we are inherently a part of things

Or, as Charles Mee would say-

But, still, it often seems to me almost miraculous
how we can put things here in the museum
and ordinary folks
my mom and dad and my own neighbors
and I myself
will come to see things
sometimes things that I myself find completely incomprehensible
and really offensive
people will come to our museum
and think: oh, that’s interesting
or, oh, that’s stupid
but they don’t really hold it against the show
they just move on and look at something else and think
oh that’s cool.
And I wonder:
how do we get away with that?
And I think well, we are a free people
that’s why
and we understand that
in a way maybe other people in the world don’t
we like an adventure
often we might think
well, that’s a piece of junk
but that’s how this fellow sees the world
and there’s a certain pleasure in seeing things from his point of view
we are a patient people
no matter what you hear people say
and a tolerant people
and a fearless, open people
that’s how it is for us

And the past makes up your (vivid) mind

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on December 4, 2009 at 1:57 pm

I used to read A LOT.  I don’t anymore because I haven’t as much time- which pains me – but as I spend much of my time writing, I find that my past obsessions come back to color my present imaginings.  Even now as I work on a writing assignment for someone else, I find the many books I loved – a lot of fantasy and awe- left an indelible impression on my palate.  There is such magic to be had, and I can’t help but be tickled at the familiarity- at the synchronicity involved in landing this particular project before me; a project steeped in mystery.

Much of what I write pulls on my fascination with the theatrical and extraordinary (at least in sense that I strive to tell unique stories, stories that take people to new and adventurous places)  I don’t see the point in rehashing something already too familiar… if it’s not going to stir my own excitement and enthusiasm, why would I want to devote days, months, years of my life to its telling?  Which is why ( I think ) my work keeps me so breathless with anticipation.  I LOVE telling these stories, I rejoice in their discovery.  It’s an incredible love affair, and it’s what keeps me coming back for more, even when the telling gets tough.

And perhaps it’s the same wonder I used to experience as I picked up a new book- the joy of discovery settling all around me as I set fingers to keys…

Whatever the making, I am so thrilled to be able to be a part of this world of words… painting pictures with my muse on my shoulder, the mystical conductor tapping out time as I color in the notes…

Can you hear it?

Tap, tap, tap…

Exploring the Depths

In The Daily Drool on August 22, 2009 at 11:08 am

There is a little thing that happens as you begin to rewrite… well, maybe it’s not so little.  See, what happens is that you begin to look into your story and see that it’s got depths you haven’t even begun to explore.  It’s exhilarating even as you groan with all the weight of the spelunking equipment you are now going to have to lug around looking for golden nuggets.

But it’s worth it, because now you are making the difference between something that makes you giggle or think, and something that moves others to the catharsis of emotion.  Because you don’t write a play or a screenplay for yourself- you are writing it to be seen, heard, felt.  And unless you can put away the ego enough to continue the adventure, you will miss out on all the theatrical wealth that exists just beyond “The Easy” surface of a first, second, or third draft.

Basically the first couple rounds with a play are all about getting the specifics down – you tell the story and then go back and try to make sure the pieces fit together as smoothly as possible.  Once you’ve got it in a cohesive and sensible state though, well, that’s when the real work begins.  That is when you start combing it for pebbles that need removing and paying attention to nuance with fervor.  Because that is what lifts a play to the top of the stack – it’s intricacies and unique flavor.  So many playwrights get the overall machine running, but they forget to detail the car – so you pass on by the car  lot with nary an interest in stopping for a test drive.

I guess this is the stage I’m at right now with my latest play – paying attention to the details and asking myself questions that require more work and heavy thinking than I’d like, but knowing that the doing is well worth the sweat.  (sigh)  And afterwards I’ll give myself a cookie 🙂

The great divide…

In The Daily Drool on August 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

It has struck me particularly hard this visit – the great difference between we aspiring artists and those my friend Charlotte likes to call “Civilians.”

Now, I know there are a great many things that could fall into that category – some good, some bad, some just plain ridiculous – but the thing that has so got my mind racing today, the thing that I want to devote a few paragraphs to, is the way in which artists and civilians portion out time.

It could be suggested that the average person divides their time between work, family/friends, and personal time.   Most activities/pastimes/etc. fall into one of these categories.  Exactly how the divide balances out depends on the individual – what they do for a living, who they care about, what they like to do for themeselves… and most people will probably tell you that they spend too much time at work, not enough with the family, and very rarely do they have any moments left over for themeselves.

Artists on the other hand (at least those not yet at the top of their field) spread themselves over four categories: The work that pays the bills, the work that they hope will begin to pay the bills (soon please), themselves, and family/friends.   Because when we get home from a day of slinging cocktails or answering phones, we click on the computer and begin to write, or we head to the theater for rehearsal, or we bring out the canvas that needs color… we have at least two jobs all the time, and sometimes more if that first gig isn’t paying all that well.

Then there is the trouble of how to divide up what little is left.  I feel like artists are better at distinguishing time for themselves – it’s the only place they can really recharge those overspent batteries – so we tend to put this a smidge above everyone else in our lives (for better or for worse.)  And then we get social.

Whew.

Now, occasionally the last two are tied – meaning sometimes being around my friends is the thing that refuels me – but there have been many times when I’ve looked around my empty nest and felt, quite literally, starved.  I just don’t get to spend that much time with people.  And I think that’s maybe a little wierd when you consider how important I find the people in my life to be.

I would love to sit on the porch and watch the sunset with loved ones more often… but I don’t have a porch, and I’ve got all of these projects to finish…

And I don’t know what the solution is except to soak up as much simple and family as I can while I’m home and just hope that my projects begin to earn their keep, because I feel an ache in these bones for more than the pursuit of self – perhaps it’s the evolution of one’s years – but I know I don’t want to be scrambling like this in another ten.

I’m ready to get my clock in better order and start enjoying the getting there a little more.

While we’re on the subject…

In Essays on July 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Okay, there were like, ten notebooks in my little “notebook-locker” – all bearing some sort of actable fruit, but what I was NOT expecting to find was a “Map” that I was asked to make of myself in a particularly challenging One Person Show class I took at UCLA 5 years ago.  As I unfolded the crayon directive, I was floored to see so many similarities – For instance, I still carry my anxieties in my belly, and the brain could still be called “Lightening Falls” for all the mayhem contained therein.

Additionally, the exercise included a free-writing assignment in which I bemoaned the difficulties of heading into the great unknown of graduation… familiar territory.  My reactions to the post BA world are eerily familiar to those I’ve been swooning with post-MFA.

And you thought people changed!

Here I am, quite a different version of myself and I’m still processing the challenges of facing “The World” with nerves running wild… more experienced perhaps, more confident (definitely), but still working with the same basic landscaping… and there is something fantastic in the knowing of this – In the familiarity of my “Map”.  For although I do hope to quiet some of the confusion, the task before me seems to make the most of this obstacle course, to learn the best ways to use my “Lightening” – to seize upon the riches native to this body, mind, and soul, even as I continue to cultivate new ones.

Riding the Ebb and Flow

In Essays, The Daily Drool on June 13, 2009 at 10:08 am

Endeavoring to become a professional artist of any sort is hard.  There may never be an end to the need for doctors, chemists, or bartenders, but there is a limit to the number of artists who actually make money at their craft.  Those who make enough at their craft alone are even fewer.

And so, one must be willing to admit that one thinks them-self special, in order to enter into this creative lottery… One must think that he/she is holding the winning ticket in order to enter those upper echelons of artistic success.  Elsewise, why play?

Because it is not merely a matter of work ethic, nor a game of total chance, that determines your artistic success.  It is rather a complicated combination of factors, mostly outside your control, that determine where you will fit.  And this sea of possibility maintains a somewhat confusing, ever unpredictable ebb and flow.

You must learn to relax into the waves as they come if you want to maintain any sense of sanity.

Because it’s a long road, and one that is ever fraught with challenges.  It is competitive, exciting, fantastically rewarding at its highs and devastatingly dark at it’s lows.  The struggling artist must always endeavor to maintain a healthy inner compass if they have any hope of arriving at the hoped for destination, for to allow the fickle waters to determine your worth would be devestating.

This life is full of ups and downs, and an ever present hunger for recognition and success.  We create art not just to satisfy our inner muse, but to change the world!  We desire to be heard, seen, or read… so we must be bold in our faith in ourselves.

For the sea of possibility is a fantastic place, as long as you have a well-stocked raft in which to weather it.

Mt. Everest…

In Essays, Playwriting, The Daily Drool on March 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm

It’s been a weird couple of months in my little world… graduating (finally) with an MFA in playwriting may have seemed an inspired path, but as I sit here pondering how to transition from  “Emerging” playwright to, well, someone who actually gets paid to write, the enormity of the mountain before me is starting to sink it.

Choosing the life of the artist is never going to be easy -many are plagued by personal demons, bill-collectors, dangerous addictions – Yet it’s this “living on the edge” that gives us our unusual perspectives.  A perspective that allows us to look towards humanity from our distant and unique corner, and comment on it.  Whether it be through song, word, paint, film… we artists live along the fringe.

And the fringe is well… not the easiest of places to dwell.

The lows can be dreadfully lonely, dark, and frightfully bumpy, but the highs are so damn high that moving inland rarely crosses our mind.  

I’m a goal-setter.  I like to see the hurdles before me so I can figure out when best to jump.  So far, that has worked well for me.  I’ve met a lot of deadlines in order to complete a series of degrees on my way to…  Well, where am I going?  “Success” is as fuzzy to me as the color of hydrogen… because I know that I want to write, to make my living writing, and I would love to get to teach along the way…  But it’s all residing at the top of this mist-drenched mountain, leaving me staring into the vast ye’ unknown thinking (Gulp) “How will I know when to leap, when to duck, and when the get the eff out of the way?”  

For the hurdles in front of me are not clearly marked “This way to success”.  This thing that I’ve elected to do is HUGE, and, to be honest, I was looking forward to a little ease and relaxation after all these years of battling my way to the grad-school finish line.  

Well, HA- HA!  

That was just the warm-up.

In a world that is rife with competition, I’m left to take stock, (take a deep breathe), make sure I’ve got my running shoes on, and hope to the powers that be that I have the strength, the wisdom, and the tenacity to get myself where I’m trying to go.

Because I love it.  I love this craft, this artform, and writing floods me with such a feeling of bliss (when it’s going well) that I feel I could survive on words alone…  It’s this love that fuels the ascent, and it’s this love that I must protect and carry.

(sigh)

But damn, a map sure would be nice!