Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Week 45 and thoughts on art & identity

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the daily cards are not so much a part of my public identity as they are a personal practice. (Even if I am sharing them with the Internet.) There is a lot of emphasis in blog world on having a well-integrated personal brand. But the thing is, I don't know that I do -- or even that I want to. I love working in international development and democratic politics by day and I love dabbling in this stuff by night. But it is not really something you could consider a "side hustle." It is not going to make me money or give me skills I can use in my job or inspire an entirely new online career. It doesn't feel "essential" in the Essentialism sense -- it is probably not furthering my ability to make my highest possible contribution to the planet.

All of these thoughts had been rolling around in the back of my mind when I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert's Magic Lessons podcast. In one, talking to a burned-out art teacher who wants to recommit to making her own art, Liz tells her to have an affair with her creativity. To pursue something that is just for her, that is even a bit furtive and secret, that doesn't depend on having an audience and in fact does better without one. And I loved that idea. It made things click for me. It was immensely reassuring to be reminded that my creative life, if you can call it that, needs to serve no further end than my own enjoyment.

As a creative challenge, I am decorating a playing card every day in 2015. More context on this project is here and you can see all past card posts here.

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