Saturday, February 17, 2024

A Lion in Winter

 I am writing to you from my residency at The Vermont Studio Center. The last time I was here was in 2001 and I was forty-seven years old. Not young, exactly, but not old. Today, I am the oldest artist here. Okay, maybe not the very oldest. There may be a one or two of fellows here who are a couple of months older that me, but at seventy--I am old. I am still negotiating how to be this age, because that forty-seven year old from 2001 keeps whispering in my ear telling me to shut up and behave myself.

Let me explain.

I am now a lion in winter. And being a lion in winter feels powerful, more powerful than that forty-seven year old lion--lounging on the savanna. At this stage of life, I've learned how to husband my resources. I'm well rested so that--if need be--I can pounce. Perhaps even dazzle in the dining hall. But then, I must quickly retire to my cottage and get some rest. Oh, and a daily nap is de rigueur. (Otherwise, I start acting loopy.)

Ah, but as a lion in winter--I have this super power called experience. A whole lot of experience.

Creative Friends--herein lies the dangerous part of being the Lion in Winter--you must push back against the natural tendency toward being a know-it-all. Sure you could dish out a truck load of advice and save the youngins from making the mistakes you may have made. Plus, you can tell great stories. You can entertain! 

But please, hold back. A wise Lion in Winter listens.

Your creativity assignment for this week is to consider a difficult lesson you learned in your life--something you feel compelled to impart on a younger cohort. And then, don't impart it. Sit with this memory. Save it. The things in our lives that are not healed are the very things that push us to make art. It's the unresolved, the unhealed and the messy business of a life lived that drives us to create. 

Creative Friends--invite your ghosts to the table. Don't talk. Just listen.



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