From the Archives
(March 2005) Last night was one of those nights when I put up roadblocks ... just to thwart myself, I reckon. Don’t know if this is some dysfunctional form of what I must believe is self-protection, if it’s residual stuttering crap, introversion, or what, but I do know that it’s frustrating.
I’m a fairly articulate writer but this doesn’t mean that I’m always verbally articulate. Sometimes someone asks me a simple question and, instead of replying, I just freeze and feel like a deer caught in someone’s headlights and the only way I can manage to speak is to act as if I’m me performing as myself.
A kind-eyed beautiful art therapist whose was displaying her autistic students’ art in a downtown gallery, for example, asked me what kind of art I make. A simple question really. But I froze and felt trapped and finally managed to mumble only something along the lines of “I draw a lot and build things out of clay, but have mostly been attaching weird things to canvas with wire lately.”
Great conversation starter, eh?
I feel passionately about what I create and much of it is truly interesting stuff, so what is UP with this?
The things I create are so personal, so tied into my emotional explorations, into what’s going on inside me at an unconscious level until the creative process brings them to consciousnes, and talking about these intimate terrains politely with most people makes me feel so exposed. Vulnerable. Naked.
I’m going to have to learn how to step back and speak about them in a university voice though (which you’d think I would have figured out how to do by now!), learn how to perform as me on demand again (as I usually do when I teach or give a reading or meet strangers at social events). I did this in grad. school, do it in classes, and do know the expected phrases that can be tossed out about my work: “I use blues juxtaposed against reds and yellows to suggest A...” or “through this composition, I am able to comment on our cultural propensity to do B...” etc. etc. ad nauseum.