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round and round she twirls

published: 2011-02-17

I learned a lot today. Maybe some days are supposed to be about learning while other are about execution. Perhaps learning days take months, even years.
I share work space with various artists who work in different disciplines. This morning, one of the women explained how she was unsure about a piece she had made. She had been thinking about it for a very long time, and actually making it had taken her only an hour or so. It was not what she had envisioned. She planned to throw it away and start again. But her husband looked at it and said it was one of the better pieces he’d seen.
Another artist at my work space then said “but sometimes you really know, don’t you? Deep down inside, you simply know it’s good while you’re making it. It’s a profound understanding. And then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Because you know it’s good.”
I wrote a piece the other day. I didn’t feel right while writing it. I felt clumsy. It was hard work. Pushing and pulling at themes and words. Trying too hard. When I looked at it the next day, I hated it and threw it away. Something else started to happen, more words, new words popped into my mind and I decided to follow them. I was writing without struggle, flying over the keyboard.
But someone who’s opinion I value said, “it simply isn’t good enough.”
So maybe not this second piece, but the first one was good after all. Then again, maybe not. What do you do when your instincts fail you? There’s only one way to overcome it (and the subsequent insecurity): determination. Picture the ballerina trying to make the perfect pirhouette. Round and round and round she twirls. And again. And again. And again.

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