A recent email from a reader caused me to dig out this essay. I provide the links to each section in case you missed it the first time. Sometime in the future I would like to write more on this. I have learned that there are many people who might be in a similar situation to what I went through right now. Sometimes it helps to know that we are all more similar than we know.
(the previous links to the Penguin site are no longer working so I created a pdf for you)
still working on the new book. thank you (as always) for all your kind and thoughtful mail! I am grateful for every piece I get (even the hate mail). I am sorry that I cannot write back right now. We are headed back to our home in Troy New York next month and I have made the decision to hire someone to help me with my correspondence as it has become a bit too overwhelming on a daily basis. I am learning as I grow into my career as an author that it is important to delegate all of the things that you are not great at, (and I have always been one to try to “do it all” myself.) But this is no longer working for me.
On another note, I have been playing around with a mini Diana camera and am loving it. (I say that now before I have gotten the prints back). I have realized that using film goes along with everything I have been writing about for years. Jumping into the unknown, taking risks, letting go of outcome, relinquishing control, trying something new. It’s all in there. What a wonderful metaphor for life.
If this kind of method speaks to you, for further research I HIGHLY recommend a recorded talk given by Pema Chodron, called Unconditional Confidence. This is not new age hyperbol, but in your face buddhist teachings. I laughed when I listened to it because everything I have been working on as an artist in the last ten years was summed up in this presentation. The main point being you never really know what is going to happen in life and art, and this feeling of groundlessness is both terrifying and inspiring. But in it is the root of true experimentation, new ideas, and in the long term potential enlightenment (as a buddhist practitioner). I am giving a workshop in another month at AIGA’s Design Ranch on the banks of the Guadelupe River in Austin Texas, and this is the subject I will be talking about in more detail.
I thought it was wonderful to learn that Pema Chodron does not prepare for her talks at all, but instead lets it all happen in the moment. Ultimate trust in your own abilities and trust in the ability to deal with whatever happens in the moment. This is what is beautiful (and terrifying) about doing public speaking. Every audience is different, every space is different, every situation is different. And you cannot prepare for all of the variables. Sometimes you just have to let it all unfold as it wants. And breathe.