As a writer and artist I am always ready to share my work…sometimes too soon. By nature, many others who share my love for words and images, work within our own worlds, secretly hoping that what we create will delight or move others besides ourselves. That is the way we choose to connect to the rest of the world, to find ourselves in others-to connect. And that is what makes us human.
I am a people person and for me, the desire to connect urges me to share too quickly. I was laughing the other day at how often I pass out tastes of my work before I even know what I want to do with it. I’m looking for approval, for compliments, for the energy to keep going. But, in the end, sometimes sharing too soon can lead to reactions that are discouraging, a little like a cook who asks us to taste the raw meat going into the soup, hoping we tell him how delicious the soup will be.
A good cook may go over the recipe or thought with someone, but waits until the soup is pleasing to his or her taste before sharing, or asking if something is missing. I think that is what we, as artists need to do. While we are waiting for the pot to boil, wondering if we should have stuck to a familiar recipe that has received compliments before, we need to believe in the value of what we are doing until we see it through to completion. For me, this skill is taking a lifetime to develop. It takes a daily reminder that art is not a selfish act; it is a calling that we have an obligation to pursue, just like any other calling.
As the holidays call us to stop and do some reflecting, I often think of the loon, who also spends much of its time alone or with one other loon on a lake or pond close to saltwater. They only gather briefly where the feed is good. They don’t spend their time telling each other about all the fish they caught or the nests they built. They seem to the viewer to be satisfied with the company of one another and an abundance of food before going their separate ways.
I hope you find many of these moments of gathering during your holiday.
If you would like to read earlier installments of Painting The Sky, you can find them here.