Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mining the past

One of my fellow bloggers (I think Laura from Lone Crow Art) mentioned that she was reading a book by Twyla Tharp, called The Creative Habit.  I immediately ordered it from the library, and I think I might buy my own copy - it's that good.  She shares a lot about her own creative journey (if you don't know -- she's a world-reknowned dance choreographer.)  And her book contains creativity challenges that are unlike anything I've done before.  The one I did yesterday was called "Mining for Memory in a Photograph".  She shares a photograph of herself when she was 3 or 4 years old, and then tells all that she learned about herself just from studying the photo and letting things spring to mind.  I was very surprised to read all that she learned about herself from her picture, and even moreso when I did the exercise.  Here's my pic:

It was the first one I came across in the drawer, so I tried it.  The first thing I noticed is that you could probably crop me out of the photo and still have a fairly decent picture of my parents.  Yet, there is no mistaking that I belong there -- smack dab in the center.  I wasn't going to let anyone leave me out.  And that has been my M.O. for my whole life.  If there was something I wanted to be a part of, no matter how improbable, I pushed for it.  And usually succeeded. 

Another key thing in this picture is the way my mom is holding my hand.  See how her hand is in front of mine -- almost pulling me forward in order to let me know that I could succeed.  Yet I also sense her holding me back a bit, as if saying, "don't try to conquer the world all at once."  That represents an emotional dance that she and I participated in until her death in 2003.  And I still carry that on inside me with new things -- wanting to push forward, yet having to deal with that internal voice telling me not to rush to try to do it all at once.   

Try this exercise, and see if you mine some nuggets that teach you about your creative journey!

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