The unquestioning collapse
Creative ruts as invitations to listen
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CW : This issue of Monday Monday mentions suicidal ideation, and while most issues of Monday Monday discuss the miracle of staying alive this one touches on it more specifically- please read with care
Every morning I have been greeting the house. Greeting the kettle, greeting the fire, building back the logs I chopped the day before to bring the flames. I start the coffee, I feed June, I take a high dose of Vitamin D, stir my little Vitamin B drink, I turn on the same John Coltrane and Duke Ellington album, sit down with my morning pages, and face what is within me, which I have been calling The Creative Collapse
I am trying too hard to figure it out and what it is I couldn't really tell you. The more effort I put in to solving this collapse the less I come up with. But every morning I do the same things and sometimes it has also included making my bed. Right now I am washing my sheets in hot water in hopes the little black June hairs will come out but after three years they seem to be woven into the fabric.
The Creative Collapse has no new ideas, the timeline suggested to me to edit my book proposal has floated out the big windows of my living room. I know it is time to wrap up Quilt Class but what is next is no where near me. I thought for sure I would self publish a little book in time for the gifting season or get my online shop back up and running but tying my shoes has been hard enough.
Last week I felt a darkness I hadn’t touched in with for some time. A mix of PMDD and a few deaths by suicide in both the larger world and my inner world left me wondering about my own reasons for staying. (Dear reader, I am safe, I am resourced, I am happy to be here. And ideation is a real part of my mental lexicon especially during the days leading up to menstruating) I found that jokes about death and darkness weren't humoring me, and each day I was sort of tip toeing around my own inner dialogue. Everything felt so serious so suddenly, and while riding the waves is a great skill of mine they started to feel insurmountable.
This darkness always comes with the story that I am not moving fast enough and I have not done enough, which is heightened by social media, the height of capitalism in the darkest days, and my own stories of self worth being tied to my work.
Yes Yes listeners came together to share how they are sinking into slowness, self forgiveness, and more in the Friday Thread - for this I am grateful
I heard someone the other day say - it isn’t that we keep attracting the same kinds of people places and things, it’s that we stay the same. The good news within the collapse is I have never been more different in such a short span of time, and that is on the inside. It is this house and the yellow paint stuck under my fingernails. It is the swirl of new feelings in my heart that rest easy instead of spin me out. It is the way me and June walk out the door without hesitation, a romp in the woods of the land we steward together. I can sense the bears but we haven’t seen them.
How do we celebrate when there is nothing to show for? Where do we turn when “to show for” is our work and our work is our art but we have turned towards watering the plants and painting the kitchen and building the fire? How do we fasten ourselves toward proving nothing to no one and sinking into the privacy of life?
You don’t have to want to be here to stay, you don’t have to enjoy the darkest days, you don’t have to love the creative slump. But you do have to tell on yourself. That is how we stay, that is how we keep at the staying alive, if you so choose.
And if someday you can’t keep choosing that, thank you for beaming as bright as you did
It is a great hope that with ease I can begin to invite less questioning. That the creative collapse, rut, low point, blocks - are nothing more than a time for increased listening. That eating snow off the trees is just as important, if not more important than inventing the next best thing.
Perhaps the next best thing is which way I turn the log, which way the paint brush moves, which way the sun comes up over the hill.
I would like to present an experiment in anti-capitalism, in the slow pace of these days, and in supporting you in any way I can which is - The two hour class ORGANIZING A DAY is pay what you can all week
That means you can buy it for $1 or $1million and you get to keep it forever and ever : Closed Captions provided
The loss of light and cold days in the North can be so disorienting, perhaps wearing a tank top in LA is disorienting too, perhaps raising a family, selling your art, cooking, doing anything feels hard right now
Creative planning hour by hour, season by season, integrating tools and structures for pushing through avoidance and fear into service and spaciousness
PAY ANYTHING YOU WANT $1-$1MILLION
SUGGESTED PRICE $33
💡 Answer buried emails
📎 Open the mail
🚲 Explore hobbies
➡️ Vision what our work is
🎨 Take ten minutes to make art
🍂 Explore the seasons of a day
May the ordinary magic of organizing a day bring many blessings
New Sza - What a blessing :)
There are nine spots left in the Tuesday group of A Quilt is Something Human that starts January 10th - I’d love to have you and don’t plan to teach this class again - 2 and 3 part payment plans and 100% off scholarships for BIPOC students
Grateful to see Cyrah Power’s show at Cedar North this weekend - it is up for the next few months - go see it if you’re in the Northwoods
Johnny sent a new soundscape into the world today <3
I am so grateful to be a guest teacher in Shira Erlichman’s AMAZING class this January 2023 In Surreal Life : A PORTABLE CREATIVITY SCHOOLA post shared by In Surreal Life (@insurreallife)
Greeting the objects of my home comes from the class I am taking with Liz Migliorelli right now - find more of her classes here
Fred Holland, 1983A post shared by Ishmael Houston-Jones (@ishmaelhoustonjones)
PRE ORDER Group Works: Art, Politics, and Collective Ambivalence by Ethan PhilbrickA post shared by Ethan Philbrick (@ethanphilbrick)
- A post shared by Elsewhere Studios (@elsewherestudiospaonia)
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