Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This artist intrigued me tonight. (Thanks Dad Corbin). Obviously, his art doesn't last long. And it makes you want to scream....knowing that such intricately carved images will just disappear, smear, blow away, be wiped clean, wasted. But he knows this as he makes every mark. And he still creates.

I think my consumerist, product focused brain can hardly comprehend such generous work being created to be wasted.

kind of art, musical performance, was always that kind of art before recorded music became a possibility. It was something to be savored only in the moment. Created, played, a process to be a participant of... and then gone (gone except for the written score...but really that is only part of the MUSIC....right?).

This concept of waste seems alright to me when the 'product' is only mediocre, if the performance was average to good. But if I hear or play or see something flawless, precise, moving, and sublime... I am distracted from the pleasure of the moment....preoccupied by my worry... that it wasn't saved. Or at least...that maybe someone else heard it too.

Whenever I am assured that something truly great has been captured, recorded, saved...I feel such relief:
Photographs of moments, occasions, people, places. A long paper, essay, letter, blog post. Video recordings of stories, performances, life.
I treasure these things.
And I really cling to the actual objects. Desperately, sometimes. (This is why my basement is so full.)

But there is something so tragically beautiful in the process of creating something that won't last forever (like a meal for people you love). And in being wasted beauty, it is also a little more authentic and...generous somehow. It seems to be a little more like life. Most things of real beauty are cyclical and fleeting (and I don't just mean seasons, sunsets, and flowers, and youth...though I suppose they're good enough examples).

One of the most agonizing feelings for me these days is the realization that once the dishes are all clean and put away, and the laundry is folded, and the toys are organized, and the cheerios are swept (which, by the way...none of these things actually are done.) will all start over again. Maybe this daily struggle against futility is what made me cling to these thoughts today.
I think I need to start finding more joy in the process of life...every day.

I'm not quite ready to give up the hope that something I've created will last forever...or at least for a really long time.

I do find great pleasure in recording music. And I also delight in listening to recorded music. Both of these things make my world exceedingly more serene, exciting, intoxicating, mysterious, inspiring, complex, satisfying.... I still like the 'products' of creativity.

I'm just saying that as an artist, a teacher, a mother, a wife, a student, a follower of Jesus...I tend to forget (even though I know) that the process of creating, of fixing, of learning, of mending, of finding and making beauty....the process is sometimes the point.


Liz Thomson said...

I like to think of God in a quote that I heard somewhere - that He is "extravagantly wasteful" - especially in things like sunsets. It is comforting to know that the creator of the universe can enjoy beauty like that - one day we will too.

I will call you soon! Thank you for being an artist who understands!!!

Steph said...

Somedays it truly does feel like and "exercise in futility" but remember that you are showing your girls how to be mothers.... something that they will then be able to show their children. That is definately something that will last.

Lindsey said...

incredible- your words and the art