TIME PASSES

I’ve only seen Midnight in Paris twice, so far. I’m not a fan of Woody Allen or of the theater where the film is showing. But, I broke my self-imposed boycotts
and went the first time, then had to go again. You surely know the plot, the romances, the historical characters, the incredible photography and costumes
and outstanding performances. No need to go into them here.

What I most loved was the message of time passing and our romantic view of what has come before us as we avoid, reject, or dangle in the present.

Salvador Dali

I had a birthday recently, always the start of my New Year. It would also have been our 46th anniversary if Jim had survived the last three years. My granddaughter started kindergarden.  Such is the way I have of measuring the time that passes. Landmarks,. Days on the calendar. Periods of
playing hermit. Shuttering my mind. Avoiding events, the telephone, leaving the house. Or speed-dialing along on full steam, participating fully, actively and
enthusiastically in what life brings and what I seek out.

Have you visited elderly friends as their minds retreated into yesterdays and the future held little or no promise? One friend was so delighted with the teenagers we’d brought along that she went to the piano in the dayroom and put it to use. She pounded out segments of songs from the ‘30s and ‘40s while the staff and other residents looked on in amazement. She’d lived there quite a while and no one had ever heard her play. For Bessie, time was now and she made the most of it.

It is too soon for me to withdraw from all that I love: family, writing, traveling, being with friends. As I write, today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. A day of remembrance and judgment. And, I think, of hope. Time to take stock and look to the year ahead. What does it hold? What might I make of it?

I’ll start my new year with a road trip to Seattle for the Women Writing the West Conference. My traveling partner and writing friend, Anne, is coming along. We’re in the throes of planning the trip: what to see and do along the way, in Tacoma/Seattle and on to Victoria. There’s a stop in Battle Ground, Oregon for
tea with friends; the Richard Brautigan library in Vancouver, WA; the WA State Historical Museum in Tacoma; a great conference to attend; exploration of
Seattle’s underground and hills for nostalgia and research; and onto the ferry to Victoria in search of writer-artist Emily Carr, the totems and First
People’s culture.

Emily Carr: Kwakiutl House

Do you smell the adventure in the redwood and red cedar countryside, the grey skies and our sunny expectations? Do you feel the inspiration and joy about to settle on us? The opportunities to see old friends, make new ones and spin our dreams?  Without a doubt, it will be a time to store up remembrances, fill our senses with new energy.

I’ll journal and blog from the road.

How do you
celebrate your New Year?

What do you do
to mark your time and how it passes?

CREATIVITY AND COMMUNITY

I labored over a concept this past Labor Day when I turned to PBS and caught a repeat showing of Charlie Rose’s twelfth
episode regarding the Brain (10/28/2010.) It was a re-run that I’ve now played over a couple of times in my effort to grasp what the varied contributors had
to say.  Go to: www.CharlieRose.com

Rose did the series with Eric Kandel, a Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist. The Round Table included Amy Tempkin,
curator of painting and sculpture at NY’s MOMA,painter Chuck Close, sculptor Richard Serra and neurologist and writer
Oliver Sacks.

The Charlie Rose Show tv show

Serra & Kandel

Tempkin

Tempkin pointed out that Close and Serra were at Yale together along with several other emerging artists who
subsequently moved to NYC where Serra’s “day job” was a small trucking firm at which he hired other artists, musicians, creators. At Yale, imitation of
previous generations of artists was part of working their way toward finding their intuitive creative work. Tempkin described the founding of community in which togetherness, rivalry, the desire to support one another, seeing others’ work and “talking and talking” as freeing the originality of work. A common
language evolved.

Rose & Close

Many aspects of creativity were spoken of: the little that is understood of brain biology’s role; how dyslexia, face
blindness and other compromises act on it; imitation as a route to finding one’s own expression; the role of emotion/sublimation with Sacks giving an
enlightening story on Melville, Hawthorne and Moby Dick.

Sacks (cap to protect his eyes)

I was struck by the idea of community and creativity and thought back to my own experiences with other writers. I find that a sense of unity with diversion, common ground and strong energy tends to evolve whenever two writers or more convene. Just as creative writing programs press writers to work in the style of an established writer, even to he point of simple copy typing, we read voraciously to study style, offer critiques, share information and talk, talk, talk.

As the panel noted, the days of isolation in the attic garret are long gone, if they ever truly were. Think of the Impressionists gathering at cafes, Bohemians in North Beach, etc. drinking and talking at all hours. It is in community that originality is freed to generate itself.  Mysteries abound. What motivates or drives the creativity juice. What compels one to communicate, to share even while/if narcissistic and self-involved? What determines the Eureka or Aha response?

My friend Janet Reihl (www.riehlife.com) describes creativity “…as a life force that runs through all of us” and takes hard work. As Chuck Close said,

“…inspiration is just for amateurs, the rest of us just show up for work.”

What does it
take for you to show up for work?

 

Where do you
find community and does it help the creative juices to flow?