At a workshop early last fall, I asked the presenter, ceramic artist Wesley Anderegg, how his ideas for new work came to him. Did he have a backlog waiting to draw from? Was it a sudden inspiration? A visual image? A concept? After all, his work uses Concept as a long suit, often leaning on a quirky visual pun in support of it. To my surprise, he laconically replied that in truth the title of the piece came to him first, and the rest of the work followed along in embodiment of it.
Now that’s an odd bit of insight, which I recognized instantly as a ratification of own my creative Step One, not so much of my visual art process – that’s as visual as visual can be – but rather, that’s exactly my blog writing process.
The Title presents itself as a fulmination of Something I Have to Say. Those slippery snippets of insight, the wry and dulcet posits and synchronous happenstances that make up my world? They unite, distill themselves and wander into my frontal lobe in the form of words.
The Title must also be delicious and tantalizing enough to impel me away from whatever else I am taken up with. Ideally, it should plant me at the keyboard and keep me there to slog through the typing, the inserting, the looking up, the linking, the editing, the tagging, and the publishing. And the re-editing and re-publishing. Folks, it just doesn’t write itself.
If I miss getting to the writing apace, I capture the Title Headline Idea and the motley insights for it on whatever writable surface I’m near. For months now, that’s been the case, as I was way too busy cranking in the studio. The result of which – besides a ton of new work – is I have a sizable clutch of suggestive blog titles I know I’m not likely to turn into full blown posts. They were written on the ice and the ice melted.
You know where I’m headed with this, right? In order to release their energy and un-snag mine so as to be able to write afresh, I want to share them here. This amounts to a cyber-version of letting go of clutter, a la my new found holiday, Discardia. (Which you, too, should seriously go investigate and celebrate.)
So, let’s pull them out one by one and see what might have been some incalculably awesome reading. Yes, yes, I could have just recycled it all, but this will be more fun.
1. Under the Hood with String Theory and The Swerve; This comes from the book I was reading (The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt) and an email conversation with a friend. My cryptic subnotation reads, “proposing unifications and reasons, strings swerve.” On the same note: “Tuvan Throat Singing.” “Feynman.” Click on the links for a glimmer, cuz that’s all I have now.
2. The Mess-up; “1.One supervised experience with a hot stove. 2. How it goes terribly wrong. 3. The itch you can’t scratch. 4. What happens when it goes wrong and our reaction to what happens. What happens after that.” OK, I know this had to do with making mistakes as a learner and, as an instructor, guiding students through mistakes, or even letting them happen. And I recall I wanted to talk about expectations and perfectionism.
3. In Which I Attempt to Explain Myself; No further explanations available.
4. Flaccid Visors, Dead Elements and Other Tolerations; Meant to be a discussion of the needless annoyances we put up with, even adapt around, but how they still negatively invade our psyches. Yet, just like the Circus Trees, it can also become its own artform.
5. Singing Wrong Right; My notes say: “Brush abuser” (clearly a self-reference) “Skate Stupid” and “practice, practice, practice.” Not sure how all that quite fit together, but I think it was about bending the rules with confidence.
So, that’s five Phantom Blog Titles with Notes, gone, but now never to be forgotten. I kiss them fondly and wish them well, like old boyfriends, knowing they gave as good as they could at the time, and so did I. Yet, it’s now Now and new titles keep arriving in my mind. Think I will grab one of those and sit down at the keyboard soon.