We started an artist community gathering here at Ecclesia that Cameron Hammon geniusly named Make Art Or Die. The goal really is two-fold. One, I believe that every creative has a voice in their head telling them to stop being irresponsible and get a real job…. so being together helps us speak against that voice. And second, in the midst of a large community in a large city, it’s nice to know other people going through similar journeys as you.
This time Cameron shared her journey as a writer and her and her friend Tina and her walked us through Adrienne Rich’s poem “Diving Into The Wreck”…. taking the slant of seeing it in light of artists in the church.
Then we moved into talking about it being the beginning of the year and what is the process of setting creative goals for yourself. In my opinion, setting goals as a creative person isn’t about just the tangible strategies you need to set to accomplish your future works, but I think it’s also being aware of the Voice that speaks to you in your soul about what you should be creating.
To give us a better understanding of what that looks like, we watched a video of Elizabeth Gilbert (author of EAT PRAY LOVE) speaking at the TED conference.
This is just my humble opinion but that Genius/Daemon/Voice/Spirit she is talking about I have come to find is the Spirit of God. Sometimes we don’t always infer that cause maybe we believe that God didn’t give us our artistic skills, or that these abilities are more of a curse than a blessing, or we don’t even know if we like God at all. Well, despite our own working out of our relationship with God, the ideas that God is not interested in your artist journey is not true. Yahweh has given this road to walk down as an honor. Anything that is great and awesome in the world comes with challenge, and since the artist road is unbelievably challenging then being called to walk down that road is an honorable calling. That’s what we are being invited into.
So in the midst of setting our goals for the year, how our we listening to the Voice as well?…. the Voice that sheds light on our inner most desires… the Voice that gives us courage to do the impossible…. the Voice that speaks to us in our deepest recesses of soul and self. This is the other half of figuring out the work before you.
As a group we did an exercise that you can do on your own to help you hear that Voice.
To start, go to a quiet place that you feel like is good for “listening”. Doesn’t necessarily need to be a silent place, just a place that makes your soul more accessible. For me a coffee shop where I can sit and be alone, even amongst noise, seems to be a good place that my soul opens up. So go to that place.
Get something to write on and something to write with.
Now to start off, I want you to think about the first time you realized you were an artist. What happened in that moment? Who was there? How did you know? Did someone tell you? Was it just an inner awareness? How did you feel about that understanding?
Write out however much of that you want….
Now think about the medium you create in mostly. Now I want you to choose an object from that medium and personify it – meaning make it a person you can talk to. Imagine talking with this object.
Ask it what it wants to say to you as the artist.
What does it want to tell you about what your are doing?
What does it want to tell you about your relationship together?
What does it want to tell you about the work you are to do?
Let those questions sit and see what your object has to say. Write that down….
Then finally, ask your object what it wants to tell you about your future. Where will you be 20, 30, 40 years from now.
Listen and write it down.
There is no right or wrong way to do this…. so do it however.
My encouragement to you is that the Voice/Genius/Daemon/Spirit has a lot to do with your endeavors and is speaking to you about the world you get to create. Take the time to listen as you also strategize throughout the year.
ps… if you want to post under the comment section about what is said to you during your listening time I’d love to see it.