Friday, September 2, 2011

The Artist's Way: Week One, Day Five

I completed most of the exercises listed for the week. But, I really struggled with some.

This was mostly due to the fact that I have a terrible memory and couldn’t remember anything prior to 2001. Was I even alive? (My mother assures me that I was.)

For example:

  • In Exercise Three, you list three “enemies” in your past that destroyed your creative self-worth by saying something critical, or just plain jerk-y. Now, I can’t remember anyone ever talking to me about anything from ages 5 to 25, let alone commenting that my picture stunk. (My mother assures me that people talked to me.) So, I could only list myself as my own enemy. (Which has made me think of that P!nk song, and now I have it stuck in my head.)

  • Exercise Four, you write down a horror story in regards to one of your “enemies” and I couldn’t remember a thing. (I'd ask my Mom, but who wants to remember a horror story they've already forgotten?)

  • Even for Exercise Six, where you’re supposed to list three “champions” of your creative self and the compliments they gave you, I could only remember one teacher who said something nice about a poem I wrote during some year in High School. (Thank you, Mrs. Little! (Incidentally, Mrs. Little is one of only two teachers I can remember from High School. The other was my math teacher whom I T.A.’d for, Mr. Wilson? Johnson? Erikson? Well, I know it had a “son” in it. Or, was it that HE had a son? Hmm…))

Needless to say, any of the Time Travel exercises bummed me out because it made me feel like a weirdo for not being able to remember anything about my entire life.

Tangent: Is there something wrong with my brain? Is this a sign that I’ll be getting Alzheimer’s later in life? (Don’t tell me if it is.) Do I have a mental deficiency due to a lack of vitamins? Potassium, maybe? Am I blocking out some sort of horrible trauma that will eventually come forth, (probably while I’m at the grocery store (a trauma in and of itself to me)), and I’ll leave my cart in the aisle (rudely) and fancy myself the store “crier” announcing to one and all the sales price of canned beans as tears roll down my cheeks because the prices were cheaper last week, and then get hauled off to the loony bin after I’ve disrobed? These are the questions I’ve been obsessing over… (Not that I’ve given this much thought…)
Anyway, one exercise I DID like was Exercise Eight!

You list five imaginary lives you would live if you could. You’re to list them really fast, without much thought. Here’s my list: a painter, an English professor, a writer, an archeologist, and a philosopher (like Aristotle—I’d just roam around, talking to people about life, making them think about the BIG questions, and asking them if they could spot me a twenty for travel costs and new sandals. Eventually, I’d get a large enough following to set up shop (probably on a hill with a veranda), with my own school of thought (Elizabethilian Theory) and people would flock to me for my wisdom (not that I’ve given this much thought…)).

The next part of this exercise is to pick one of those lives and live it for the week in any way you can. I chose “a painter” (because I wasn’t sure my family would volunteer to stand around me while I pontificated on Elizabethilian Theory) and made myself paint (despite hyperventilation) on one of the canvases I’d been saving for something “good” or “profound” or “revolutionary.” After a brief dialogue with myself, (and then concern that I had already gone crazy and should be sent to a loony bin), I talked myself into to just painting it with white gesso. It doesn't even look like I did anything. But I know I did something.

Baby steps, people.

Question for today: What imaginary lives would you live, and how could you incorporate one into the upcoming week?

TOMORROW: Weekly check-in questions and I’ll tell you about my Artist Date!


Rachel said...

I know you existed - I have many memories of speaking to you in junion high.

I wonder how I would live out my dream life of being an astronaut, or owning a diner in a small town, or being a back up singer for Wayne Newton, or being Jane Austen (minus the spinsterhood and early death).

Laura said...

I love this post, Liz! Know that I am an admierer of your works - from your writing, painting, music and all forms of art you do!

The imaginary life I've been thinking about lately is owning some sort of pastry/chocolate shop. I know, it's the whole fox guarding the hen house concept, but still. I also imagine being a novelist or a history professor...but I don't imagine those NEARLY as much as the first one!!