What To Do When You're In A Rut!
"The daily routine of most adults is so heavy and artificial that we are closed off to much of the world. We have to do this in order to get our work done. I think one purpose of art is to get us out of those routines. When we hear music or poetry or stories, the world opens up again. We’re drawn in — or out — and the windows of our perception are cleansed, as William Blake said. The same thing can happen when we’re around young children or adults who have unlearned those habits of shutting the world out." -Talking on the Water: Conversations about Nature and Creativity with Ursula Le Guin and Jonathon White
Where do your routines serve you?
Where can you let some go?
How do they center you?
What routines feel a little wobbly, like clay spinning too quickly on a potters wheel?
How can they be molded into something new? Or leave as is?
Where and how can I connect with that which I find matter and meaning in?
I looked at clay and the clay looked back at me. In that moment, with little practice and entering into new territory, I was about to be one with the clay. This was going to be clay that my fingers would slowly turn into mugs + bowls and it's these mugs + bowls that will find their home on an open shelf in the tiny house, Swan Studio.
anchor. center. tap. secure. interlock. pressure. smooth. pull. let go.
I've never relied too heavily on routines. I think they certainly have a time and place, but I find that my creativity and inspiration are at there highest peak when breaking free from such routines. Some of the most magical moments I've had we're living outside the constructs of routine. So when I stumbled upon the above quote by dear expert in the field, Ursula K. Le Guin, I knew I wanted to read more.
I've compiled a few wise words of hers below. They stem from her book, "Words Are My Matter."
"A well-made clay pot — whether it’s a terra-cotta throwaway or a Grecian urn — is nothing more and nothing less than a clay pot. In the same way, to my mind, a well-made piece of writing is simply what it is, lines of words... "
"As I write my lines of words, I may try to express things I think are true and important. That’s what I’m doing right now in writing this essay. But expression is not revelation… Art reveals something beyond the message. A story or poem may reveal truths to me as I write it. I don’t put them there. I find them in the story as I work... "
"... And other readers may find other truths in it, different ones. They’re free to use the work in ways the author never intended.
What my reader gets out of my pot is what she needs, and she knows her needs better than I do. My only wisdom is knowing how to make pots. Who am I to preach?"
“The great Way is very simple; merely forgo opinion,” says the Taoist, and I know it’s true — but there’s a preacher in me who just longs to cram my lovely pot with my opinions, my beliefs, with Truths. And if my subject’s a morally loaded one, such as Man’s relationship to Nature — well, that Inner Preacher’s just itching to set people straight and tell them how to think and what to do, yes, Lord, amen!
I have more trust in my Inner Teacher. She is subtle and humble because she hopes to be understood. She contains contradictory opinions without getting indigestion. She can mediate between the arrogant artist self who mutters, “I don’t give a damn if you don’t understand me,” and the preacher self who shouts, “Now hear this!” She doesn’t declare truth, but offers it. She takes a Grecian urn and says, “Look closely at this, study it, for study will reward you; and I can tell you some of the things that other people have found in this pot, some of the goodies you too may find in it.”
"My job is to keep the meaning completely embodied in the work itself, and therefore alive and capable of change. I think that’s how an artist can best speak as a member of a moral community: clearly, yet leaving around her words that area of silence, that empty space, in which other and further truths and perceptions can form in other minds."