Nurture your sandbox
As much as I appreciate quiet, contemplative reflection for stoking the creative fires, there’s nothing like playing in the sandbox with a group of talented friends. This morning I read an article, that made me smile. The idea of free-range kids may be novel today, but it’s how this country girl was raised, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than romping in nature with my artsy pals.
In the above photo we are shooting a promo video for an upcoming, annual arts festival I’m hosting in June: Salon du Soleil. For a few hours some of the most creative people I know donned crazy costumes and ran around the park for a few hours. After such a fun experience I am reminded that I need to play more (I ain’t talking sports) and fret less. A quick google search reveals that “adult play” is a thing: oh Christ, some kind of hipster, colored plastic ball-pit embarrassment.
Self-Judgments be damned!
After our unstructured play (the mood dampened a bit by an errant tick attack), we all sat around my studio, having a beer or two (or three) and chillin. A little live music happened as it usually does. We were treated to a visit by two adorable toddlers who had no problem getting into the spirit. I suppose it’s a cliché, but there is a lot to learn from children. Just watching their joy at discovering new things lifts my spirit and reminds me to try to live in the moment more.
Being in a creative community has always been a dream, and I’ve spent a lot of time bitching about the shortcomings of my vision; but in all honesty my dream has been realized because I am part of a wonderful community of creative people: musicians, filmmakers, designers, actors, poets, and artists. It may not look exactly like how I imagined it. It may be more loosely structured than my Andre Gregory/Jerzey Grotowski fantasies of the Polish forest, or that strangely Doric art collective with strict rules of conduct requiring mandatory attendance and secret handshakes, but I’ve learned you can’t push these things. Everyone has busy lives: working, buying homes, raising kids, taking care of family members. The function art plays in life should not be one of pressure. This is something I’ve learned in the past few years. I’ve tried to do my part, but I’ve also learned about the levels of my own energy and patience. Facing that reality brought me into a new creative stage in my life which does not depend on the cooperation of the group, therefore the time I spend with other creative people is (generally) one of play and joy, and I’m grateful.
Here are some tips for nurturing your sandbox
Try to let go of expectations.
It helps to have excellent weather. Less to bitch about too.
Have some kind of loose goal for the day–an experimental film is ideal.
Costumes and props help you drop your mask and put on a new one.
Be open to making new friends from curious onlookers.
Like the first time you drop acid (so I’ve heard) casting is paramount. Mike Nicholas famously quipped that the key to making a good film is No assholes on the set.