Category Archives: Darryl Anka

Suspended in a Leap of Creative Faith… Part 1.

What is it, then, that I’ll know is worth writing about?

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October 12th, 2013, roughly 1 month into the past, I was sitting in the nook of my attic’s north facing window alcove with notebook, pen and beer. Suspended in a   leap of creative faith…

I could not commit to a word without reason…

The wind, through the window, was easier than I expect October winds to be.

Always,” I thought, “all ways, the same – October bolsters the worst of me.

My dog barking downstairs, the skeleton of the tree next store was showing, fall is here, the ouroboros was swallowing its tail and it felt like, in a stallion fear of creativity, it finally realized it will have to shit itself back into his own mouth.

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I was met with the same, cliché, crisis of creative faith as all artists have, presumably met or will meet, at some crosshair of their life.

Why should I write? Is this just some form of approval seeking behavior? Is it just for, “that slap on the back? And the gold watch? Look at the clever boy with the badge, polishing his trophy? Shine on you crazy diamond?” And will anything I write be of any value? What is the worth of a poem?

I couldn’t have answered these questions alone and I knew that others have had to have met this same situation.

I was gifted a grand reliquary of ideas from a variety of places and each of which illuminated a path worth drawing a map for here.

Perhaps I am posting this so that I may have a reference I, myself, may have access to when needed but since this seems to be a common insecurity among artists, in this post I am going to share the collection of answers I came across and, naturally, ask for your answers in the comments…

In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more about this as it has helped me begin writing again and from a place within that matters to me.

I polled the Twitterariat

(Joe Navarro is an ex-FBI agent who specializes in the area of nonverbal communication and is the author of 6 books on the subject… Most importantly though – he is patient and kind enough to answer my endless inquiries on  the subject.)

(Jessica Fenlon is an ex-Pittsburgh film artist and fellow poet)

Polling the Vox Facebook Populi I found a varied set of answers as well –

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Doing a simple Google search for why artists create gave me access to this fantastic article from which the quote most memorable…

“So back to the question why I make art. In my case, the projects that I do allow me to meet people I wouldn’t ordinarily meet, travel to places I wouldn’t normally go to, learn about subjects that I didn’t know I would be interested in, and sometimes even help people out in small ways that make me feel good. I like to say that what I’m after is to have an interesting life, and doing the work that I do as an artist helps me achieve that.” – Harrell Fletcher

Naturally I discussed this with my mentor John who gave a more precise explanation to why we create and share –

Because in creating resides joy.  We mimic god-work, unite with our next rung on the ladder toward source, which propagates health in us.  It’s the ne plus ultra of meditation when you document a new experience in something you’ve made. […] Also, it keeps you young.  Trust my anecdotal certainty on this. You need something to communicate to create, meaning one has to be feeling something, some- thing you’re willing to look at–and have seen. If you don’t like the content of your heart, you will not create. why confess what you can not address to a resolution? The advice of those I read is to acknowledge the ‘life’s lessons’, the ‘contracts’ we’ve accepted, the facts about ourselves and the lives we may have. Then drop them and walk on instead. we can choose at any time to release our contracts–we have to want to release the pain to which we cling, that feeds us like a mother. you must believe pain, like any old thing, can be thrown in the river, and you can walk away knowing right where it is, and will stay.

My greatest understanding of creating was when film maker Rachael Deacon collared me by asking, “why can’t it just be magic?” 

What she was labeling as magic was something I’ve long since understood as, and seemingly have forgotten about, the psychology of Flow as put forward by Mihaly Csikszentmiha –

Of course! It was precisely as Pirsig said when he was asked why he wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. He responded by saying that, “writing it just seemed to have higher quality than not writing it – that was all.”

What every one of us strive to achieve is our highest-excitement and the way in which we do this lands us, whether consciously or not, in what Csikszentmiha labeled as Flow. When the challenge before us meets our skills for this challenge in very precise ways – we find ourselves within this diagram –

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That magic that Rachael reminded me of is the Flow Channel – and it appears as though when we do create from those lessons learned and then share with others – we are met with the feeling of magic and excitement that is so ingrained as a need in us as humans.

All of this together… All of these opinions and insights… I am left in a loop of trying to paraphrase and condense this information for myself and for others.

What is it that you are finding through all of this? Why do you create? What and where is your flow channel? What is your highest-excitement when it comes to your art?

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