Regardless of whom you voted for, it was a sight to behold today as we marked the second term of the presidency. I am a pageantry and ritual geek: give me a trumpet's fanfare, a young, beautiful family, and choirs performing America The Beautiful, and I am all goosebumpy and teary-eyed.
Pageantry and ceremony have an important place in our lives. Ceremony signifies and marks the important thresholds of life: birth, coming of age, graduations, weddings, more births, and ultimately, death.
Rituals also are important in our creative lives. I know artists that always start a work by lighting incense, or ringing a bell, or playing a much-loved mix tape from college years. Do you have any ritual you perform when you begin to work?
When I am overwhelmed with work of any kind, my first ritual is to clean. (Cleanest drawers and closets in the dorm when I was trying to finish my thesis.)
Having just finished the final touches on the class samples for Art Is You (Nashville & Stamford, yo - sign up!), my studio looked like an episode of Hoarders. So I dug out from under the art paper, scraps, stamps, ribbon, images, scissors, washi tape, ink pads, wet brushes, glue brushes, empty glue sticks, and rolls of double-sided tape.
This house is bursting at the seams right now with "stuff". We are settling The Empress's estate and there is much to and froing of linens, glasses, vases, dishes, and all the accoutrements of 87 years of living. Her items are in transition, waiting for a permanent placement.
While our country is in transition as our president enters his second term, while the weather is in transition as we have broken winter and it is now perpetual early spring, and my family is in transition as we have our elders passing on and our children going off to college and jobs, my art and writing is also at the thin edge of the wedge.
The Thin Edge of The Wedge.
I do love this expression. It is so elegant, descriptive, symbolic, and apt. It has, dare I say, aplomb?
I admit that I initially misconstrued the meaning of this metaphor. I thought it meant that the thin edge of the wedge was the poorer end, the lesser end, the narrow -left-for-crumbs end. I hated being ascribed to the thin end. I want the rich, fecund, fertile, blooming end of it. Is nothing new to come to me? I am here just to tread water until "retirement", when I will just tread water until death?
I realize now that I was looking at the narrow end of the wedge from head on, seeing only the sliver of it, the narrowness, the meaness, the paucity of it. I recognized only the tapering off, the scaling back, the wasting away.
It's what I do sometimes, a lot of times, most of the time.
With aplomb, I suggest you view the narrow end of the wedge from the other side. See it as the flying buttress it actually is.
Think about it: where is the power in a wedge? Is it on the blunt, full back that we whack away at? Does a knife cut with the thick edge, or the narrow? Do you place a log splitter the narrow side down or the wide?
The power, movement, strength, and raw energy is in the narrow edge.
Cleave it in two and you have twice as much.
Shatter it and you have fragments that you can rearrange into a much more interesting whole.
It is exciting to be living at the thin edge of the wedge. It is not comforting or comfortable, nor does it have the harmony of the semblance of a whole. It does not make for sleepful nights. It causes you to question everything from the life choices you made and your insistence that women over 40 have no business wearing leggings to work.
Revolution is always the thin edge of the wedge. It is messy, powerful, and sometimes fatal (in this case, fatal to your old way of sticking to things).
Why be safe and try to hang onto the thin edge until my fingertips cramp? Why am I waiting for the "right time" to make the work that I think about on every drive to work on every morning of my life?
Why do I think there is a "right time" for anything in life and not just a lot of messy, inconvenient times that must be torn from the grips of life's needs and wants.?
The thin edge of the wedge means you have to be prepared to plunge into the blank white wall in front of you with all the sharpness you can muster.
Be Ahab; take no prisoners.