It’s hard to believe that it’s been two weeks since I returned home from my residency at the Art Farm. When I first arrived, I held on to that fierce feeling of being alive that I had gained. I felt like I was listening better, enjoying people more, laughing more genuinely and seeing things more clearly than before. That lasted a couple of days — and then I felt weighted, heavy, lonely, puttering around the city and half-heartedly trying to catch up at work after a month away.
I didn’t paint at all — until yesterday. And I felt guilty about that. At the same time, I was missing the hours in the studio. I was both nostalgic for the long chunks of time I devoted to art on the farm and yet totally unmotivated to pick up a brush. Even my journal entries became boring and whiny.
Talking to the other residents has helped. Selina said she hasn’t had much time to be creative. Some of the girls reported feeling tired as well. And then I read Carmella’s entry about “Getting over Guilt” on her blog http://www.therestlesswriter.com. She wrote “. . . all along, I was giving myself an internal verbal beat down. You should be writing. Those pieces need editing. Why aren’t you sending work out? You’re never going to be a writer at this rate. I don’t want guilt to be a constant part of my psyche.”
And I agree. We artists are fragile in so many ways, despite our attempts to go out and conquer. We have to be gentle to ourselves — and that’s a big challenge for me.
Guilt and fear should be replaced by brighter things — love, passion, creativity, integrity, light.
Van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother ” . . . it certainly is true that it is better to be high-spirited, even though one makes more mistakes, then to be narrow-minded and over prudent. It is good to love many things, for therein lies true strength; whosoever loves much, performs and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”