Discover more from Omnishambles
When the creative process looks like...
A half unloaded dishwasher and open cupboard doors
I am packing up a painting to send to an exhibition, and the voices that go with that are coming to visit in their finest Dickensian fashion. If you do practically anything, you know the voices I’m talking about: “they’re going to hate it”, “it’s not any good”, “they’re going to think it’s weird”. When those voices don’t put the kibosh on your progress they pull out the big guns: “you’re foolish for thinking you are an artist/writer/functioning human being”, “you are wasting your time”, “your work isn’t as good as__________, et al.. I haven't participated in an exhibition in a very long time, but kept feeling the nudge to submit to this particular show, and those voices had a field day.
This piece pointed out something in my nature as a maker, whether in my visual work or in writing. I am enamored with the ordinary. That, and when the muse strikes I have been known to walk out in the middle of whatever it is I am doing to grab onto an idea (If you walk into my kitchen and see cupboard doors left open, the dishwasher half emptied, and nothing ready for dinner, it's probably not the rapture…just look for me in my studio). Conceptually, the incorporation of ordinary elements, or perhaps banal themes, permeates my work. I've been doing this longer than I care to admit, but it was a lightbulb moment when I wrote out the medium description next to a poem I had written about this new painting.
Every year I do a variety of Advent readings. I am not regimented or rigid about staying on track, only dedicated to reading each day. Today I was reading from an advent series written by Kate Bowler, "The Season of Waiting (and waiting, and waiting) [you can download it now, it’s never too late]. I'm not sure I'm even on the right day, but it was the day I was meant to read these words...
"Here and now, at the intersection of all that has gone before, and all that is yet to come, I would like to say to you that there is something for which you were made. It is the thing that seems to make you forget yourself even as you become more and more alive in it. Something rises up in you and you get an inkling that maybe, just maybe, this is why you were born. It is the oxygen that makes it possible for you to keep going..." (Kate Bowler)
Something as simple as baking cookies to drop off somewhere could be a catalyst for discovery, or change for someone, or simply a moment of gifted joy just to smell that fragrance of delicious alchemy that happens when butter and sugar meld.
So, ordinary or not, each of us was born for something-you, me, the old lady next door (which may also be me)-there is a purpose we may never understand, but it is what we are here for. It doesn’t have do be fancy, or professional, or understandable-we may never know. We were put here for a purpose, or perhaps even a single moment. If we don’t stay awake, pay attention, and answer that little nudge it could pass us by. Something as simple as baking cookies to drop off somewhere could be a catalyst for discovery, or change for someone, or simply a moment of gifted joy just to smell that fragrance of delicious alchemy that happens when butter and sugar meld.
What is it you do? Me, I look for the under recognized, the plain, the common, the everyday and attempt to validate the ordinary experience of our every day lives.
I mentioned I wrote a poem to companion this small painting. It, like the painting, is titled Domestic Sacrality.
Looking up, I see, this ceiling, Painted generic, hardware store white, Less ornate than any chapel, More solemn, though, In its common purpose, Of Shelter, Of Safety, Of collecting maple syrup incense, and The fragrance of fresh washed sheets, Blending together with These things, Of common communion, Of coffee, Of wine, Of days old lilies, dry, and weak, useless, But for memories, Sweet spices, tea's fragrant, Drops in a chipped cup, Beloved of tiny hands, A sacred, porcelain chalice passed, Across generations Of lips, A continuity of quiet alleluias Sounding, A lot like children's voices, And an old man's reverie, Stories telling of People we never knew, with A hand, laying gently, Across a belly, To feel pelagic movements, Of one we've yet To know, Simple acts, Domestic, Sacred, this Ceiling, hallowed, Hovering over a cathedral, Of ordinary saints.
That’s all from my desk this morning. I’m looking forward to joining in on Substack’s new chat feature so look for today’s question over there!
Wishing you joy in the simplest moments,