11 July 2011

Art, Ideas, and the Approaching Flood

Most of the things which delineate between "art" and "craft" is a judgement of the results, rather than the creation of them. In the end, it boils down to this: Craft is useful and art has no function. Nevertheless, all acts of creation are essentially the same.

I've said before that I view writing, painting, sculpture, sewing and carpentry as different faces of the same mental process.  Somewhere in the great echoing catacombs of my brain is a largish room that is crowded with ideas, each shouting to be heard above the din. Each of them carries a notebook or a roll of plans that they are waving in the air, hoping to be noticed, hoping to be next, striving to be realized.  Because an idea unrealized is a wan., pathetic thing indeed. And to go unrealized until it is forgotten entirely is a fate worse than death.

I can write or sculpt or paint with equal amounts of training and love.  But just as writing a story is to execute a painting in the reader's mind, sewing a jacket or blocking a hat is to execute a sculpture in cloth. The only difference is the usefulness of the results.

In truth, they are all ideas realized, one voice in the din that falls silent because it has retired to make room for the next.

I was reflecting on this recently when a back injury laid me up for three months, forcing the conference of clamoring ideas to wait until  I could do something about them. Notebooks were filled, stories scribbled, and deadlines pushed back as I tottered around with my cane and wished I lived in the future we all dreamed about when I was a kid, the one where malfunctioning bits would be replaced with shiny titanium and whirring servos.

Last week, the back problems evaporated. All of a sudden, it was as if they had never happened.  Back injuries, their causes and cures, are some of the great mysteries of medical science. I don't know about you, but I'm personally keeping a list in case God ever asks my opinion when the human race comes up for a design overhaul. I have a great deal to say on the subject of spines, knees and shoulders.

And now all of the ideas are shouting again, demanding to be heard at once.

So get ready for the flood as I try to keep up with documenting all of these projects and try desperately not to screw them up just because more ideas are jostling in the queue behind it. That's is where my viewing these things as art comes in handy. If there's one thing art school taught me, it's how to ignore the next idea and focus on the one in front of me.

I hope...

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