Start Close In

Friday, October 24, 2014

Start Close In

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.

–excerpted from David Whyte’s poem, Start Close In

Art-making seems to require a paradoxical combination of vulnerability and insularity. Artists need to be open to and touched by life, but also need an intimacy with self, a kind of “close in” listening. This listening allows us to hear whatever it is that sources our creative work, whatever tells us, in a world of so many other people’s questions and creations, to go ahead and make ours, anyway.

Like all transformation, the creative process begins close in, closer than we think, right in front of us, right inside. This responsibility makes it difficult to begin, yet is also what makes beginning–and continuing–possible.

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