Art depends heavily on feeling, intuition, taste. . . . It’s feeling that makes the composer break surprisingly from his key, feeling that gives the writer the rhythm of his sentences, the pattern of rise and fall in his episodes, the proportions of alternating elements . . . The great writer has an instinct for these things. — John Gardner
Yesterday, as I took a little time to just wander through the back roads of the county, I glimpsed a Victorian farm house ahead of me. At first, I thought they might have roof damage since the slant of the shingles was a bright blue, like those multi-purpose tarps I use for camping. As I got closer, I saw the house itself was painted a color somewhere between pink and orange, and the roof was actually blue on purpose. The trim stood out in goldenrod, and throughout the yard, pieces of whimsical art – tiles and mirrors and sculptures painted bright – dance in the green of a too-warm January’s yard. When I passed the house in full, I glanced right to see a sign. I didn’t catch anything but the word “Studio” and I started to grin. An artist lives there, I thought. She (or maybe it was a he) has let her feeling spill out into all of her space. I want that.
I have not been staring blankly enough lately, so this feeling, this intuition, this taste that Gardner speaks of is clouded out by too much thinking. Instead of just letting my mind travel, I am trying to set forth its path. My mind, my body, my spirit is rebelling against this.
I need some hours to just sit and look out this window where a chickadee has just landed for the splittest of seconds before grabbing a sunflower seed and launching back into the air. I need to sit and stare at the tops of the black walnuts swaying like the most soft of dancers as the wind spins around them. I need to slow down.
If Gardner is right, and I think he is, then as a writer, I need to come back to that place where my mind isn’t in charge. Breath needs to come slower and without the constraints of to do lists and calendars. Days are open, not blocked off in chunks. Words are let to dance and color allowed to spill out over roofs and yards, flowing with abandon.
What happens to your art when you get too busy? What happens to you when you get too busy? Where does your feeling go?