Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thought Bubbles

When I was in high school our dance teacher asked us each to write a short essay on why we dance. As a young student suspended between passion and obsession, mine was filled with inflamed statements such as, "Dance is life! Dance is the only moment in which I can truly be myself. I can't imagine a life without dance!" I don't have a copy of the essay, but in my memory it has a lot of exclamation points in it.

Even now, I'm not certain if dance draws the obsessive types or inspires obsession. A
little of both?

If you ask me the same question now, I'd give you a grown up answer. Something about discipline, having a creative outlet, achieving goals. Why? By the time we get to this age, we are shy about admitting our grand passions. We love in quieter ways. We don't always share. We've learned that obsession isn't enough to get us what we want. Obsession alone doesn't make artists. There are other factors at play.

I feel fortunate to have done the same thing for so long. I've gotten to study the fluctuations, the shifts that occur with each new step in my life. The moments when it wasn't actually about me, but about helping someone else succeed. The quiet joy that comes with that. What a strange thing it is to create art.

What about you? Do you feel like you can freely admit your passions? How has your relationship with your work evolved?

Reader's log:
43. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater


  1. I am both a painter and author. Unfortunately, I felt like I couldn't do both full time, so for a few years now, I put my painting on hold. I am doing some illustration, but for me, it was a matter of focusing in. Hopefully I can get back to painting. Sometimes I see a grand work in my dreams.

  2. I'm not a dancer, but I love dancers, and I can only imagine how passionate you really need to be to dance well.

    I used to be pretty consumed with my writing. If I had a bad writing day, then I had a bad day. I'm slowly learning that I need to compartmentalize, because as much as I love writing, it's not all of me, and my happiness simply cannot depend on something that's so subjective.

  3. Catherine - I completely understand how difficult it is to juggle two passions, always feeling like you have to choose between them.

    Jennifer - I'm reading Stephen King's book On Writing right now. He said something similar, that life shouldn't feed art, but art should feed life.

  4. I am not a dancer... of course you know that Sarah. But I love to sew and create that way and the passion for my creations has come and gone over the years. But giving to girls in need through the Dress A Girl Around the World campaign has feed my passion so much!!! You are so right about helping others and the true joy that opens up within your passion...