Living a Creative Life

"I don't know where I'm going, but I know I'm on my way."  Carl Sagan

Something’s happening.  I think I’ve been trying to write this for months.

I’m feeling compelled to write. To write my story down, to share what I’ve learned over the years, and what I'm still learning every day, as an artist and as a human. I didn’t know I was afraid of doing this until I was confronted with the task.  I can't even say what or who it is that's doing the confronting. We all have different names for that call.

Trying to figure out where to start is like being adrift in the ocean. But to recognize and trust in the value of my words feels like finding my place in the world. I believe in story, I believe we learn by it and have from our beginnings. Every culture has had their versions of the same stories, and we never tire of hearing them.  We never need to hear them any less.

Maybe my voice is the one that breaks through to someone and they feel less alone.  Maybe it wakes them up to something they’ve been sleeping through. So I'll start here, by telling you what's inside of me even if I can't wrap it up into a neat package yet.

Keeping the mountains in my sights as always, at least my inner sights.

Keeping the mountains in my sights as always, at least my inner sights.

I'm also, as always, filled to the brim with eagerness to travel, and particularly to spend time in nature.  Somehow writing and travel and nature are braiding themselves into my career as an artist.  I can only see a few feet ahead on this path so far, but I'm finally allowing my heart to lead the way. 

I'm still afraid.  Afraid that complex humans can't survive in a world of commerce. That people have put me in one box and realizing that the box is carrying a life is too complicated to maintain interest.  But I'm letting go of the need to know what's around the bend in the name of trust.  Everything seems right.

My aim is to live a creative life. Not to create something, and then to live. I don’t want to compartmentalize everything anymore, because it’s not working. I want all the parts of me to be wrapped in the blanket of my body and to let the light that accumulates there shine through everything that I do.  

Where I live, how I love, the choices I make: these are all creative acts no matter what, so why not design my life rather than falling into one? I don't want to default into ready-made life choices. I know too well the rewards of deliberate, creative effort.

I want to read, make a painting inspired by that reading, write about the feeling I was having while painting, take a photo that captures the essence of what I was writing about, share that photo and my thoughts with my community and hear what they have to say, then go home and meditate on it all. I want to follow creative trails deep into the woods.

The greenbelt of Austin, TX, where I've lived for 7 years

The greenbelt of Austin, TX, where I've lived for 7 years

I’m talking, on some level, about freedom.  Some thing is opening, and for the first time in my life instead of just knowing that I’m free, I’m starting to feel free. It takes me a long time to integrate emotional knowledge into experience.  It’s really hard work. It’s the hardest work.

But the feather of true, life-wide creative freedom has touched down somewhere on the surface of my life and the energy is rippling outward. I can feel it, and these small waves washing over me between the noise make clear that everything I thought was reality has been a reflection.  Often a very beautiful reflection, but one nonetheless.  

I'm about to look up.

So, I’m going to write about it, and I'm going to try to make a serious habit of it. Honestly, I’m going to try to make a business out of it. I’m terrified because I don’t know what that means or where this is going. I’m terrified that I’m not good enough at writing or business or anything else vital that I’m going to need to see whatever this is through. I’m terrified that I’ll lose anyone who was interested in my art work as soon as writing starts competing with it. That's real.

But it’s time to bring it all together. I have no idea how. But here I am, starting to try.  And to anyone listening, thank you.

"I set forth, free and hopeful."  John Muir, The Mountains of California