Thursday, January 11, 2007

Step Away From the Painting

Natalie Goldberg, in Writing Down the Bones, reminds me "I am not my words." They are but an expression of myself at a particular time and place, but if I’m always growing and changing, I can’t be my words. They are not me.

Yet so often it’s like I’m married to my words. Sometimes I spend so much time working on something that when it’s said and done – be it published on my blog or submitted to an editor for review or emailed back to a client - (not that #2 and #3 have happened much lately), it’s all I can do not to stand there gazing at it. Imagine an artist who hangs around the gallery all day, staring at his work and watching people looking at his work. He quits seeing what could be. He ceases to look for the next sunset. He misses the next antic of a precious child. By focusing on what was, captured in his art, he misses what could be.

I face the same temptation with writing. I tend to hang around the gallery, a little awestruck by my work, watching others’ reactions. I need to walk away, back to the very blank canvas that awaits me in the privacy of my own thoughts, and once again look for the next sunset or smiling child.

I need to do this whether or not the work was a flop. Disengage my soul from it. On to new business.

I’m trying to do this with life as well. Only in life, I tend to fixate on the flops. The mistakes at work and the glitches in relationships. And I walk away with visions of the mistake on the canvas of my mind, and not surprisingly, the next act is often tainted with error as well.

If we want to be growing and changing, we have to be willing to walk away. Christ didn’t stay on the cross. He’s about the business of transforming lives – yours and mine. He’s on to new business – I want to be too.


Kelly said...

I love the fresh perspective I gain from so many of your posts!

MacroMoments said...

Wow, Dianne. Good stuff.
I really appreciated this post.

Tami Boesiger said...

This was a great post. It's easy to linger over what I've already done and get distracted. This is a lesson I am slowly grasping. Thanks for reminding me to press forward.

Katrina said...

Great thoughts, Dianne. I tend to be a "dweller," too - usually on the bad stuff, the mistakes, the "I didn't do as well as I would have liked" stuff. I love your perspective of moving on to new business. that's what I want to do, too!

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

Really great stuff. What you said, how you said it, not that youre standing around waiting for me to say so. I'm sure you've already moved on, but still - just great.

Susanne said...

Very great perspective, Dianne. I can already think of a few areas where I tend to do this.

gail said...

I heard a pastor yesterday at my daughter's church say that sometimes we frame our lives and circumstances in a small frame and we can't see the big picture....he used a large painting and illustrated with small frames in small areas of the painting. When you step back away from it you can see more; God can see the big picture when we can't.
Good post Dianne.

petunia said...

You got me thinking about my art background and our perspective on things.
I may have to blog about it later but when I read "Step Away From The Painting" it made me think of some
writing I did about God and Art in College.

When painting impressionist paintings there is a lot that goes into the detail(believe it or not), It may look like a splash of paint clumsily put on here and there but each stroke helps to make the image clear....but from far away. You have to take a step back to evaluate the can't look too close unless you want to see what looks like flaws. The cool thing is - what looks like flaws close up make up the little things in the painting that makes it whole, cleverly created it turns the picture into a masterpiece.

There are many more things about art and God's hand---yes, i think I'll have to blog it later.