It's Not All Black & White: Process over Product

I once read the quote, "I am willing to experience my creative energy," and I loved it so much that I taped it to my computer. It speaks volumes to me. Creativity is energy just like anything else and when I can tolerate that energy-- make portals and tunnels and avenues for that energy-- then I think I'm doing my job as an artist. I'm entering into a tolerant, compassionate, forgiving relationship with my creativity and with my creative self. I'm aligned and I'm nurturing the process of artmaking. That's my goal--to keep making things regardless of anything else.

Why? Because I want to be tethered to the world in which I'm living while I'm simultaneously tethered to something external and complicated and other. Heady, lofty, weighty--I know. But ultimately I think the creative process is just like anything else. It's about awareness and acceptance. It's about compassion and forgiveness and tolerance and patience, and oftentimes this means with our feelings, experiences, communities, and with our own creative energy and our selves.

Anyway, forgive me, I've had a strange few days and I'm full of questions and reflections and this desire to curl up and hibernate. I read this quote this morning and it seemed to reach up off the page, take my face into its hands, and kiss me firmly on the cheek. (Thank you, dear poet Barbara, for that generous gift.) It's from Barbara Guest's novel Seeking Air, "Begin with telling her everything, she had said. This provoked me into wanting to say less and less. Yet there was such a marvelous, such an extraordinary circumference around what I might or might not tell."


  1. i love what you are writing about the energy of creativity--its like an aspect of the city of self. Didn't know Barbara Guest wrote fiction--love that late image of her, she looks so birdlike, wise and young! I always saw her poetry in American Poetry Review.

  2. beautiful post! it really resonates with my experience right at this very moment. i'm on the "i'm making things no matter what" trip right now, too.

  3. Shauna8/19/2008

    love this post!

  4. I miss you and your creative energy, Katrina! Your photos are beautiful and I hope you are loving your new job as much as one can love a job :)

  5. mansuetude: yes, the energy of creativity itself is maybe 1/2 the challenge. and yes, to barbara guest and her long legacy.

    kelly c: yes, yes, sometimes we just have to take the plunge and keep making things no matter what. i used to tell myself, "just stay in the river of art. just don't get out. just keep swimming."

    shauna: thank you, dear.

    maria luisa: what a delightful surprise! i miss you and your creative energy too. but now you have a blog so we can be virtually connected.


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.