Making things is the easy part

Making things is the easy part.

Summoning the will to make one hundred and one tiny prints is an act of sustained creativity that has rewards and challenges, but one that is not difficult. Drawing, cutting, sticking, printing, gilding, mounting packing and cataloguing. A set of defined processes that can be repeated without much heartache or even thought. Sometimes it feels like drudgery, sometimes pure, creative joy. Ok, sometimes it’s not easy, but it is at least, simple.

Some months ago I started, set my intention and began to watch the progress unfold gently. The piles of finished pieces mounted up, the why gained clarity.  #1; to have something to get stuck into, to stop me from floundering, to define what I was getting up for. #2; to do encouraging (I need encouraging). #3; to have something to launch, an entry point into planet Erica, an invitation.

Making things is not a new venture. I've been quietly building up to this, to stepping up, stepping out and part of me is ready. I like my work. I think it's good enough. There comes a point however, where making things and making a living have to coincide. Having a story to tell and a product to sell is that culmination, that point of no return and so here I am, terrified, stalled, the only thing left standing in my way.

Telling people is the hard part. My natural inclination is not to tell anyone anything. I prefer to keep my hopes, dreams, fears, and achievements safely to myself in a bid to keep things quiet and manageable. Modesty could perhaps, help me avoid the failures, the successes, the being seen and that cocky over-confidence my family always warned me about. I end up not saying anything at all. All very reasonable, predictable, relatable - a common attribute of the artistic temperament. Forgivable.

So, for the last month I've been trying to work out what to do about it. I've been looking back to when my beliefs were made, where my privacy settings were installed. What was it that made me so? It feels critical to pin point reasons and meaning and explanations that will allow me to put this shit down and move on. I'm stuck on working it out. But it's not helping. I'm rolling around in a story in which I will never be brave enough and all this questioning, soul searching is keeping me there. Old story, old thoughts and I'm really feeling them right now.

Thoughts come, and when I leave them alone they go. Feelings come, and when I leave them alone, they go too. Just chatter. Outdated, unhelpful, filling my head, leaving no room for anything new. Pay them less attention and they take their proper place. I do not need to be fixed. Just not fixated. I do not know what will happen next, after I have told, launched. That's the story that hasn't been written yet and when I take a breath, I can be comfortable with not knowing. What will be will be. 

If my greatest fear in all of this is being seen and then being found lacking, then somewhere I've lost the plot and missed the point entirely. The point, as I see it is that we all show up, wholeheartedly, authentically. To do better, to be better. This is the challenge.

I would love to be invulnerable, implacable and untouched by the vicissitudes of public opinion, the haters and contrarians who are bound to show up. Equally, I would love to be invulnerable and untouched by the chatter in my head, the self talk that trips me up and promises to keep me 'safe'. Both could stop me, but I don't have to let them. I may well be wrong, I may well be less than brilliant, less than fully prepared. But that's the point - we all are at times and it's foolish to pretend otherwise. I think it's the pretending that got us into trouble in the first place.

So here I am, showing up, warts and all, ready and not ready to be seen. 


Don't Blink

This evening I went out in the rain which fell vertically, persistently. It hung ripe and heavy from the hawthorn flower buds and along the fence wire between fields.

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