Next week I will wake up in a new state, a new city, a new (temporary) home, and a new bed. My little introvert heart is a-pounding. I'm excited, I'm nervous. I can't wait to get there and I can't wait to get home and be with my husband and friends and dog again; going to our local spots together like we do so very often (thanks It's A Grind, I'll miss you).
I'll make new friends, find a new favorite spot to journal, and develop a new routine. I've done it before and I'll do it again. But to develop a new rhythm there, I have to (temporarily) let go of my old rhythm here. And that's never been my favorite part, the letting go, the starting over. It's no longer a foreign foe, but a familiar exercise that I've learned to trust because so many times it's where something beautiful emerges.
Yet, even the hope of something beautiful emerging can be come dangerous if it becomes my expectation. Even though I've spent a month's worth of something on film and art supplies, if they become my master--demanding perfection--I am no longer free. And freely exploring, learning, experimenting is a large part of what I hope this month gives space for.
"An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one." -Charles Horton Cooley
It seemed timely when I ran across this quote today. A simple reminder that to go is to succeed, even if I come back with poorly exposed film and indiscernible paintings. To move is progress. To attend is the reward.
Jesus, help me to stay in connection with you, attending to the moments, creating in the truth that I am your beloved. Help me to create out of my connection with you, keeping my hands open as tools, skills, and the words of others come and go.
Next week I'm beginning an adventure into art, photography, nature, snow, and a whole lot of holy mischief. Quietly for the past few months I've been sitting with the decision whether or not to pursue an opportunity that was opened to me: and just before Christmas, I decided to go for it.
(For those who don't know, an artist residency is a time and place where artists can go, outside of their daily life and work, and dedicate concentrated time to their craft. It's a great opportunity to work, and connect with other artists.)
Sometime last year (summer, maybe?) I had the idea of taking from the work of Arts Pastor W. David O. Taylor to create an artist residency program through the local church. As I began to flesh it out, I realized I needed to better understand the concept of an artist residency so I did what anyone born in the past few decades would do: I Googled it. As I read through a few pages I found a program called Elsewhere with an open application, with a deadline of midnight, the day I found it. So, after perusing the application form, at 10pm I started and submitted it thinking, "What the heck. It'll be good to experience the process of applying," never thinking I'd get accepted.
A few weeks later I got an email welcoming me and offering me at 1-month stay in their program. I told my husband, and he told me I had to go for it, when else would I get such an opportunity. Reluctantly I agreed. I seem to have difficulty believing I deserve good things, or that I'm qualified enough. But I'm working on that.
March came around much quicker than I expected, and now it's time to leave - next week! Matt and I are traveling together to Colorado, to spend some vacation time before I check in. Then I'm being left to my own artistic devices for 30-days.
Just today I went to my favorite camera store and bought all my film. I've never spent so much money on film at one time. And I'm thrilled. My new (to me) Leica M6 is going to get a workout!