Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday Thoughts...

Writing begins with ideas, but we forget ideas are whispers in our minds. They’re always there. The trouble is we overpower the whispers with the loud voice of what we think we want our ideas to be. It takes quiet patience to listen carefully and that’s what creativity often means: simple quiet courage.

“How to write 1000 words” by Scott Berkun

Scott Berkun is a writer and a promotional/motivational speaker and as an aside, I came across this wonderful video on his blog.

Whilst his focus is on the art and practice of writing; I thought these words rang true about much of the creating of art. The idea that it takes simple, quiet courage for each of us to listen carefully to the whispers or hints that art pieces or ideas are speaking to us; and not to try and drown them out with our own interpretations, demands or expectations.

How often does that happen - that we ignore the quiet muse or whispering intuition that is leading and guiding us and instead, turn up the volume on the left-brand analytical noise that starts directing and telling, questioning and over-riding?

When I reflect, I think my best work appears when I quietly let the work take the lead; when I allow the ideas to form and emerge and take shape and change direction and evolve into something; rather than sitting down and saying I am going to do this or that; or I think people would like this.

I am facing the challenge of preparing works for an exhibition in October and am feeling a bit directionless and uncertain. I have thought  "I will do this" or "this is how I will interpret the title of exhibition". And yet nothing is truly forming or taking shape in a way that feels right, just yet.

This thought is timely for me and I think if I can go sit in my studio over the weekend and listen to the quiet whispers, I will be taking a step in the right direction...

©2011 Fiona Dempster - grasses Umbakumba


  1. Fiona,
    There is such truth in this post! I am so often guilty of allowing the other "noise" to overpower the quiet whispers... or worse yet, to even silence them. Thank you for sharing these insights! Can't wait for a glimpse of the wonderful pieces you put together for that October exhibit.

    ~ Helen

  2. Fiona, what wise words, from the quote and from you! I know them to be true, and yet I still often find myself stuck on a project the second I impose outside considerations upon it, be it deadlines or required themes or trying to anticipate or elicit audience response. Then the second I walk away from all that nonsense the work simply blossoms on its own and becomes exactly what it needs to be and in fact was all along before I interfered! I do like the notion that this is all an act of courage in a way!

  3. Such a beautifully worded and timely post Fiona!!! You know that I know exactly what you're talking about. But why do we continue to turn up the volume when we know the result will be frustration?! I think you just go in the studio and play, forget about making for an exhibition and in the end, you will have made the work for the exhibition, as long as you can trick yourself into thinking you're doing something else! Relax and let works every time and we're never at a loss for ideas arising to the surface. Enjoy the process!

  4. Sounds like a good way to spend some time! I'm at such a point with a big and exciting piece I'm working on at the moment and it's very hard to just leave things to settle into their own way, but I'm sure it will happen.

  5. Absolutely perfect pondering today Fiona. If only.....

  6. Hi Helen - thank you for stopping by! It is SUCH a hard lesson isn't it? Those quiet whispers send magic our way; if only we could let them...

    G/TT - I kind of slap my forehead sometimes; I know this to be true yet I still feel the need to impose things on the process when I really should just let it be. Not all the time, but often enough! I too think it's good to think about it as courage, and trust.

    Ah Patti - I knew you'd know! I can't explain why I still turn up the volume on the noise, but hopefully if we keep reminding each other we might reduce the frequency with which we do it. I also think a degree of trickery is needed! Go well.

    Annie - it is hard to know when to leave it and let it tell you; rather than try to take it somewhere. I hope it all comes together beautifully.

    Hi Jo - yes, I know I need the reminder and I do love a good ponder! Go well.

  7. Good luck with your quiet time in the studio this weekend. Invariably that is exactly what one needs to get the ideas flowing...... and yes a little trickery too :-)

  8. And a beautiful photo - I love the colours!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.