I’ve always felt that what I create isn’t really much about me. In what I do, the writing, painting, gardening, photography, and music, I feel that I am often only a conduit for what comes out of the word processor, the paint brush, the guitar, the camera lens, and the garden trowel.
I don’t “own” my creations; I just put them into a form for others to experience. And I certainly don’t want the responsibility for what people might think about my art, or how to react to it and apply it, or not, to their lives.
Elizabeth Gilbert has a wonderful way of expressing this idea:
“…my deep and lifelong conviction (is) that the results of my work don’t have much to do with me. I can only be in charge of producing the work itself. That a hard enough job. I refuse to take on additional jobs, such as trying to police what anybody thinks about my work once it leaves my desk.” Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, (2015, p 123).
I’m just the curator, the presenter of an idea, a concept, perhaps a new way of looking and thinking about something. It passes through me, and goes on to others. They can do what they will with the idea, the experience. Or not. It is out of my hands.
Looking at my art this way takes a burden off of me. I’m really not responsible for what people do with my art, what they experience and where they go with it. My job is to respond to the creative spirit in and around me, and create.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Just keep doing your own thing.”
–Neal Lemery, August 23, 2018