Watch now (81 mins) | A chat about death, deadlines, and doing your art no matter what
“Artists are people who are profoundly compelled to make their creative work,” she writes, “and when they are distanced from their practice, their life quality suffers.”
Wish I had learned this 40 years ago, I’d be much happier along the way !
loved the zoom session, took notes too :) and i think i have said it before but it is good to repeat this, i create because it hurts too much not to - now to stitch that into some fabric and hang it where i can see it every day! thank you to you both
I didn’t remember signing up for convo but saw the link in my email and watched yesterday afternoon...so glad I did. Thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. So many good take aways. My favorite the same as yours...I’ve not long claimed myself an artist by any means...and have arrived at accepting I am by way of the back door...I felt her words deeply when she spoke about the self suffering without their practice. I’ve not always considered my creative pursuits/ponderings my practice but I know I don’t feel quite right, or myself when I’m not giving room to them. For so long I’ve thought my brain, my way of thinking and need for expression were faults...I’m only now learning/accepting it may just be I’m an artist. Anyhoo...great convo...enjoyed it so so much!
The "inside job" is what I'm focused on right now - managing my mindset, finding the rough places that need tending to, and getting myself into the writing chair consistently and with the confidence it takes to write enough words for a book. I find that my artistic and spiritual lineage are both so integral to my process these days (as opposed to my younger self), and am relying on that sense of continuity through grounded tradition as on of my leaning points in this never-ending unfolding. Thanks for sharing the audio/video from the chat the other day!
Two things really jumped out at me from the Zoom session:
1. "Ask. Don't say no on behalf of someone." I'm waaaay too guilty of this.
2. "Impress 2 people: your teenage self and you at the furthest reaches of life" This really resonated with me. I've been thinking a lot about me as a teen, even re-reading old diary entries from back then. In many ways, my creative life now is a continuation of my teenage years before life (college, marriage, kids, career) intervened. As a teenager I was so curious and experimental, just making weird stuff for the fun of it. I'm striving for more of that in my life.
Wow Austin (and Beth) - such an amazingly great interview/chat/session- Austin, you, your work, your words and your vibe are so refreshingly authentic - a treat and a joy- 🙏
If you are artistic or just love art, or if you have musical talents or just love music, if you love to write, or just love to read, pick up the autobiographies or biographies on those artists you love. The depths they go through to create their art, whether art, music, books....whichever, is usually mind blowing. Most start with nothing, but they are compelled to keep going, even if it means damaging some precious relationships and themselves along the way. Some books I have read lately are Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono (U2), Destined to Die Young on Elvis Presley (Sally A. Hoedel), On Writing by Stephen King and Eric Clapton’s book, Clapton. Another favorite is Pat Conroy, but I can’t remember the name of that book.
I love this interview! I'm going to have to listen to this twice. Between the idea of the second soul, the pain of not creating, staying small to be safe and not wanting to be a doctor to please my parents, this is amazingly helpful.
I loved watching your video chat with Beth Pickens, it was very inspiring. I reached out to a painter friend who also struggles to do their work sometimes, and we've decided to start a small support group which we hope will grow to up to 5 or 6, to encourage each other and take turns hosting events like figure drawing or plein air painting, or having exhibits. I love getting your newsletter every week, your energy is infectious. Thank you!
Haven't checked out the Zoom yet but the comments on the Sabbath resonate with me for a couple of reasons. One, I just reread FOUR THOUSAND WEEKS by Oliver Burkeman (who you've mentioned before) and he goes into the importance of *shared* rest time in two of his chapters. This quote hit home...
"Why should we have to justify *life* in terms of the economy" - John de Graaf, Take Back Your Time
Two, I've more or less left the workforce proper (I'm not retired, I'm "post-career") so I handle all of the domestic duties during the week and it's opened up our weekends to much more rest (and play!) I know we're fortunate to be in this position but it's improved our quality of life immeasurably. Our weekends aren't all about catching up with the chores we were too tired to jam in during the week.
Yes! I especially resonate with the card in the upper righthand corner. The conversations I’ve had recently have all stressed this in one way or another. Finding in person creative community has been hard for me lately. Conversations are where I get input and that’s been the dry spot. Chatting with folks in these comments has been helpful. And reading this newsletter.
Art or no art, I def need more of a death acceptance practice. haha.
I just watched this morning... wish I had seen it happening live. But, the replay allows me to back up the conversation to catch words I missed or thoughts I want to write down. I took about five pages, plus a little, of notes. I don't write small so it isn't as bad as it sounds. But I laughed when you talked about the quotes you save. I think I have mentioned in a comment before I have documents with quotes... even a shortcut link on my desktop I can click to immediately open a document and I can add something right at the top. So, those five pages are full of ideas for me and quotes. Thanks for the replay!
WOW! Thoughts are swirling in my head.
What are the things and practices you keep for yourself? What is holding you back that you need to release? Having hit the age of 60, I have gotten much better at letting things go. We don't have kids and I know that most of my stuff will land in a giant dumpster when I'm gone. I have become OK with that. It helps me let go of things that don't give me pleasure. I recently came across a TV show on Peacock called The Gentle Art of Death Cleaning. It's a Swedish practice of letting go of what no longer serves you and allows you to move forward and live your life in the present. I've only watched one episode, but it seemed to be a combination of We Will Die, Impress Two People, and It's all an inside job.
Over the last couple of years, I have been learning about Human Design (Sort of astrology on steroids.) I have learned a lot about myself in learning more about it and my own chart. It helped me give myself permission to embrace who I truly am and let go of the parts that I inherited or was trained to be. A big part of that has been doing the inside work and moving my body. It has been embracing my own cockpit of an office (Gemini here, too) and let go of worrying about what others think.
I practice Tai Chi as a form of slow movement and mediation. This year, I became certified as an instructor. I love it, and yet, teaching it is very different than practicing it. I need to keep both forms in my life. This is a practice that I have made public and need to keep for myself.
Thank you for the thought overload. IT dovetails nicely with where I am in my life and the things that I'm learning and trying out.
Great conversation. The idea that stood out most to me was the concept of creative "Tension" in the work. I think there's a fine balance between honesty-openness & mystery-honoring your inner life. As a contemplative christian, I tend to think of my (eternal) soul as a big space that my (temporary) small body gets to live in while I'm alive here on earth. My soul has rooms for others to come visit-- but not all the time. And not every room. I love that you keep your collage-making practice private, Austin. It's a "place" inside your creative soul where you can go sit down and make something to share-- in the *way* that feels *best* to you. You and Beth have given me some juicy inspiration to chew on-- thanks for the replay for people who couldn't attend the live Zoom.
I love the idea of a book called "Death and Deadlines." If you write it I will read it.
I once made a compilation CD I titled "Death and Taxes" and gave it to friends for Christmas. Some people found it disturbing, but I'm glad it's sort of normal for artists!