When it comes to cultivating passion, only *you* can choose your best path forward.
In my practice, we often talk about the need for scaffolding to support readiness to try something. It doesn't matter how seemingly easy or simple or even logical the small step may be to others, and "should be" to you--if it doesn't feel safe, we add scaffolding. Having some time to play, to feel unrushed, and get messy sounds like the scaffolding that was needed.
It's hard to take new instruction when you're still getting situated. Also, just working with a lot of neurodivergent folks, we're dealing with a lot of hidden symptoms--social anxiety, auditory processing issues, sensory sensitivities, under/overstimulation etc. and I wish more instructors would give some space if someone happens to be going about things in their own way.
I have led quite a few different arts and crafts classes in my time and there are many interesting ways people cope with hitting the rough part of the learning curve. This is one of them! Spite is a wonderful motivator under the right circumstances.
Anyway this was honestly kind of infuriating to read but insightful and timely as I continue to ponder the various reasons some people refuse to study fundamental skills in their creative field of choice.
I've heard "it will stifle my emotional expression to learn [how to make anything but an ashtray]" in so many different spaces, but those tend to be the loudest voices only, and I wonder what else is going unsaid.
I love this so much. I just started archery, basically by ordering a basic archery kit and watching one video where an Olympian explains how to hold the bow, the arrows and how to aim. Since then I've just been shooting arrows, sometimes hitting the paper target, sometimes hitting the backdrop for the paper target. "Maybe I should watch more videos," I thought to myself recently. And maybe I will. But for now it's just play.
Love the reminder that we all know what good feels like.
Focussing too much on the outcomes can be counterproductive, because it kills the joy of learning. When you focus on the process itself instead and enjoy the progress, look at failures as stepping stones, it becomes self-propelling.
I’m so grateful that I’m in a place in my life where I understand and agree. A poet, acclaimed at the time, once told me that he didn’t revise much, and I told him I didn’t understand how to revise, though I got the sense that it was change it until you like it, and he said yeah, that’s what it is. Almost fifteen years later, I’m done with my messy, lyric, unpublishable essay collection, and I do think someone will publish it, the tiniest press ever maybe, and someone will love it. All the agents who’ve asked to read the whole thing write back and say, it’s too self-conscious and fragmented. But that’s how the book is. It’s my ashtray! I’m writing other things now, and I started that book nine years ago, and the person who started it wanted a deliciously angsty self-conscious autofiction, and I stand by them, and the person I am now also wants this mental illness anti-memoir that doesn’t arc toward healing, though I heal. I feel like it wasn’t until I understood this message that I understood (at 38, this year) what it means to be an artist: you make your work and make it and you offer it as it is, whether or not anyone takes it.
Seth Rogan mostly makes ashtrays & it seems to have worked out for him!!! https://www.houseplant.com/collections/by-seth
I love this. It reminds me of my process of learning how to watercolor. I didn't start with fundamentals or formal lessons—I got paints and tried fucking around with them myself. I ended up making things that were very special and brought me a lot of happiness. Growing up, I was never a "creative" person, I was the "smart" one, so even allowing myself to do something like that while knowing that I WOULD fuck up along the way and not be perfect was big for me. Now that I feel more comfortable in calling myself "creative," it's easier for me to invest time and energy into learning more traditional watercolor skills and getting better supplies to hone the work I do. But first, I just needed to show myself I could do something messy and expressive and be fulfilled doing it, otherwise all the fundamentals in the world would not have made me a soulful artist and would have just stifled me.
Love these comments. I can only dream of an Ask Polly meetup group someday.
100%. This is so so so important.