I had not been in a car or out of our driveway in 6 days.
That means last week was a good week, creatively speaking. I got up early everyday and after a nice run and an excellent coffee, I worked on creative projects all day every day. My back hurt every night and those sculpture muscles were all a little sore from being neglected during the school year.
Near the end of the week the internets sent me this article: https://medium.com/thoughts-on-creativity/bad7c34842a2 titled "Creative People Say No" by Kevin Ashton. The way my week worked out, I didn't have to say no this time, but the article really hit close to home with me.
From the article...
"Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating. Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time. No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes."
"Creators do not ask how much time something takes but how much creation it costs. This interview, this letter, this trip to the movies, this dinner with friends, this party, this last day of summer. How much less will I create unless I say “no?” A sketch? A stanza? A paragraph? An experiment? Twenty lines of code? The answer is always the same: “yes” makes less. We do not have enough time as it is. There are groceries to buy, gas tanks to fill, families to love and day jobs to do."
There are probably many reasons why I am a hermit but this is certainly one of the big ones. When it comes to creative work, I work best when I'm alone. That's not to say that Dr. Tom Pitts and I haven't made some really awesome collaborative drawings during meetings for the last 3 years, but when it comes to my work...I need to be in my fortress of hermitude. It is when I can concentrate completely and wholly on the questions that I find the best solutions (or the best questions as answers to the questions).
Another idea the article alludes to lightly is the idea that creating things is what the artist was created to do. When we neglect our creative responsibilities we are not completely ourselves. We all function best when we are used for our intended purpose. Cars are terrible boats. Lions suck at being lap dogs. Artists are best when they are allowed the freedom to be artists. This whole creating thing is not just a hobby. It's not something we do just because we've learned how. It's not to help us pass the time. It is who we are. It is how we were designed to function.
When I left the house on Friday I was a better human because I had not left the house the previous 6 days.
Last week was a good week because I was able to work, work, work.