So I’ve been thinking about what’s next: what project to do, something creative outside of work. Last year I put two books to bed, at least in so much as they are “done” if still partly works in progress while time goes by. “The Muse” sits here on the shelf, with me not having the time or motivation to seek out a publisher after the first try. And “Imagining Shakespeare” is in legal limbo awaiting some discussions with Actor’s Equity so we can get permission to move forward with it. Boring.
Work is unrelenting and we’re in one of those cycles where the work tends to the mechanical. The creative is temporarily on hold and most of the bold ideas get shot down before they even take flight.
Sometimes you do work because it is in you and just needs to come out, sometimes you do it because of the conversations you have with other people and the spark of inspiration that happens. My personal work has never been very collaborative. I usually don’t understand what I’m doing until I’m doing it, and with work being mostly collaborative, it’s a nice break to do your own thinking.
Inspiration comes in many forms. I’ve had it come to me in the classic form of a person, a muse, in the past. There’s a risk to any new relationship which invigorates and tunes the mind. A muse has to be generous: generous with time, and concentration. A muse is someone who invests in you as you invest in them. A rare kind of relationship.
As a child, I had my muses in nature. Just being outside in a field was enough. As an adult, it’s the people in my life. And it gets hard to find those people, and to be with them, and to take the time to know something about what is ticking in them and between you.
So what’s with the pomegranate in the image? I’ve always liked the poetic symbolism of the pomegranate, that ancient fruit so revered in classical times and mostly forgotten now except as an anti-oxidant. It’s a little bizarre, and strange to eat, but so very good. This photo I took a year ago working on the Muse book sticks with me because the fruit has gone over, and is drying out and slightly dessicated, and reminds me of the insides of an old clock. It’s a symbol for the state of mind I find myself in right now.
What’s next? I don’t know. Maybe it will come to me. In the meantime, read this nice post on the creative process from LA artist COOP.