Monday, March 1, 2010

The "F" Word

Despite the fact that I'm in the middle of reading two books about artist's block, resistance, whatever you want to call it, I'm allowing all that to continue right about now.  The only positive thing is that I can identify it for what it is.  And what it isn't is the big "L" word: lazy.  Lazy is not an acceptable term in the Artist's Way and War of Art vocabulary.  Not acceptable.  The acceptable term is the "F" word: fear.  Why fear, you might ask?  Fear takes many forms, some of which seem like lazy, bored, tired, distracted.  All of this stems from fear.  Fear is the really big "F" word.

What's fear got to do with resistance to create?  The obvious fear is of failure.  The talking in one's brain that says "Why'd you put that color there? What's up with the composition?  How come you didn't think before you messed up that painting? It was coming out so well and you went and ruined it. Dang!" 

On the same track is the fear of success.  Now that's a heavy one!  Feeling good about a work and having others agree brings the fear of being out there, the fear of the next piece not being as good, the fear that now the artist is the focus. And that scratchy voice starts saying, "What's your big problem, you idiot?  Get your stuff out there!"  Big thing, that fear.

I can't wait until the morning so I can write the Morning Pages journal to tell the voice to shut up. 

Then the blocking comes in and all work is at a standstill.  The play stops too.  The excuses not to continue begin and that annoying voice starts yapping anew: "The light in the studio stopped working altogether.  Until I call that guy to fix it I can't  work on the painting.  I have to pay a guy to come and fix the light and money is tight right now.  I'm tired of all the snow, I may as well have another cup of coffee and watch the flakes fall.  I feel blah.  I'm annoyed at so and so.  Maybe that work is not as good as they, or I, think it is, what do they know?" Get the picture?

Oh yeah. I've become well aware of Resistance alright.  I know it, I can feel it, I've identified it, and I still can't move through it, even by the process. The War of Art, as kick butt as that book is, is not kicking my butt hard enough!  Do I need to have someone put a garbage can on my head and bang it while kicking my butt one foot after the other?

Something clicked on in my head while painting my son and his bagpipe, and I know that fear took over.  I was too happy with the way it was coming along.  Anytime I feel really happy and good, something happens to squash all the good vibes.  He began to have an issue that came to light since I started the work and I think I'm feeling resistance to continue because somehow, in my mind, I feel, I don't know if this is the right word  but, responsible for it in some way.  It's a long, stupid story, but what he's working on, and having a problem with egos, involves him playing that bagpipe.  So the primitive side of my brain says it was my fault he had to confront someone by standing up for himself and his art.

Is it realistic?  Nah, probably not, but my brain may be using that as the block of the moment,(that and my other to-do's.)  Sure, why not?  Looks like Resistance is hanging around longer than I'd like. He's outstayed my generous welcome and the time seems to have come for me to kick his butt out the door.  (Notice I've given it a male gender.)

Anger is powerful, too.  Anger is action.  And enough is enough.


  1. I battle resistance most days. Sometimes he wins; sometimes I do. I paint thru it though.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment, Cookie. It's been a tough winter, but I must say I came away with more work this year than in the past. Just hitting a speedbump I guess..


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