I have given myself over to starting work at my computer with a visit to Pinterest. It is automatic now and I find that the images clear my mind of the chatter and enable me to focus. I don’t get distracted there. I don’t click around. I absorb what I see and when I get to the place where I left off on my previous visit, I close the tab and start working.
Each day there’s a jumble of images and subject matter, though you won’t be surprised that not very many people whom I follow post recipes. There’s always a smattering of quotes and I like these as one never knows just what will strike one’s heart. Timing, with both hearts and inspiration, can be everything.
This week I ran across a quote by writer Neil Gaiman. In his wish for the new year he says, “Don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing as only you can.” I had never considered before that there are people who would need this kind of encouragement. I had never considered before that there are people who never create.
I hope their numbers are few. Their hearts, I fear, are heavy. Very likely their footsteps, too. Nearly everyone must, even occasionally, make something from almost nothing; a sketch of the swing that needs repair, an omelette, a row of peas, a lullaby.
But if you don’t, I wish that you would. In all fairness, those of us who push words or paint or chairs or musical notes around must do things that are outside our nature. We have no choice. I could put all these daunting tasks under the heading of “math.” We must manage bank accounts and gather paperwork for taxes. We must measure walls and furniture and time, even though we believe we are pretty good at eyeballing. We might not do any of these things easily or beautifully, but we manage. And when we do, we have a little rush of secret pride that we have tackled something so foreign and at the very least, not fucked it up.
So it seems only fair that those of you who say, “Oh, I can’t…” draw or write or sing (truly, I cannot sing – there are witnesses) should give it a go. Very few of us who would put ourselves in a creative category, do something just right the first time. Usually, after the first go, we stand with our heads cocked to the side and think, “No. Not quite.” Or worse, “Disaster.” Then we do it again. And again. Do not be discouraged if you don’t capture your lover’s smile in the first sketch, or the mood of the day in the first draft or a perfect “C” ever. If you have done it, as Gaiman says, “as only you can,” there will be no finer creation.
I used to do a round up of my favorite rooms published in the shelter magazines over the year. I have not, as I said I would not, kept much track of this sort of thing. But the room, top, has been on my bedside table, dustier than I care to admit, since summer. This room captures something to which I aspire. Groundedness, lift, light. Books, art, stuff. Threadbare and modern, with a little bit of red.
The home of Benoist Drut of Maison Gerard, photography by William Waldron; produced by Robert Rufino; Elle Decor, July/August 2014.