Monday, 18 January 2010

Gift no 4. Tessa Souter: 'Give our LOVE to the audience!'

Tessa Souter is author of 'Anything I Can Do YOU Can Do Better', and is a writer and jazz singer from the UK but based in New York. Read the full interview with Tessa Souter on The Hip Girl's Guide to Being an Entrepreneur. Her gift to you on Creative Resistance is this valuable insight:

I think perseverance is gigantic. In my book I mention Vincent Van Gogh and say imagine meeting him at a party, mid career. 'You are sharing a studio with an accountant turned painter called Paul. Your BROTHER buys your work!?" Sadly for him he never 'made it' in his life. But luckily for US, it didn't stop him from trying. Don't ever do it for money or fame because you might not get that. You have to love it for itself. Use it to gain insight into yourself and/or others. And also to think of it as a gift you are GIVING to others. Your job is not to be a big old clever clogs and IMPRESS anybody. Your job is to entertain people/be cathartic/empathize/tell the story of the song/yourself/people in the audience whose stories you can sometimes feel by their reaction to certain songs or words. My old teacher Mark Murphy completely cured me of stage fright by pointing that out to me one day. He says, our job is to give our Love to the audience. When you think of it like that you can't be nervous. Also to have people believe in you so you don't give in (related to perseverance). And to be grateful to those people for that inspiration. I think to remember it's not about "you" is huge!

What motivates you to work? Is it money, fame or love? What gifts do you receive from others? What shift do you notice when you stop thinking about "you" and view your practice as a 'gift' for others?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Gift No. 3 Marta Pelrine-Bacon ''My mom had this dream, but she gave it up'' - That Gets Me Back To Work

Marta Pelrine-Bacon is a writer and artist working in Austin. Her unique art involves cutting up the rough drafts of her novels and making pictures with the slices. The pictures capture the mood of the novels though not the actual scenes. Anyone who buys a picture gets a chapter password and can take the password to the novel website ( use it to read the chapter the artwork is from.

'I have a short piece of wisdom...though maybe it is just wisdom to me. It is why I keep writing and making art even when it feels like I'm not getting anywhere. I imagine my son, 20 years from now, telling his friends, "My mom had this dream, but she gave it up." That gets me back to work. I'd much rather him say, "My mom has this crazy dream. She just keeps trying!" Maybe he will shake his head and roll his eyes. But that is okay.

I may not be remembered as an artist of great fine art. That's okay. But I refuse to be remembered as someone who let her dream go and watched more TV.

Is that a gift? Is this the best way to give?'

Monday, 11 January 2010

Gift No. 2 'Be Here Now', Jennifer Waescher, musician/artist/writer/actor

Jennifer Waescher is Canadian born, but lives in Seoul, Korea.

'I hope you enjoy my rough recordings, for what they're worth. I enjoyed making them. I have been calling myself an artist for so long, I sometimes forget what it means. But underneath it all, I feel it's my truth - the truth to live life blissfully, expressing the joy of creation in every act of actually doing the art. To play. I have been an actor, a writer and a musician. A traveler, a wanderer, a yogi. I live my life as best I can, in the moment, making art because the moment moves me, the song finds me, the poem writes me.'

Love is enough. Presence is enough. Presence is all we have and all that we are. So let’s just experience the presence and let ourselves have it.--- Bhagavan Das

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A Gift: No. 1 From Alan Hudleston, Painter

Alan Hudleston says: The life and people that are around me are my main inspiration. It means that my canvases are always a new adventure! This painting is titled, 'Self Portrait With Friends'.

What is your inspiration? Do the people around you feature heaviliy in your work, or not at all?!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Do writers and artists ever really ... stop?

I recently enjoyed an amazing break away in the South of France and in Paris, over the festive period. There was plenty to keep me inspired: from the drama of the mountains, valleys and rocks in the South, to the legendary bohemia of Montmartre, Paris. But it also was a family holiday - I was there visiting my mum's new home and celebrating Christmas with her and my stepdad, and spending quality time with my other half.

In 2009 I'd maintained a fairly robust daily writing practice, working to get the first draft of a new 'secret writing project' - of around 90,000 words - complete by the end of the year. During the final throes of the year, I'd been averaging around 10,000 words a week and got into a real habit of giving the necessary time to get the work done. It meant whole weekends spent writing - cocktails on one night of the weekend, not two; the odd friend's private view or artshow sacrificed to the cause. Ironically, less time spent in the studios and more time writing at home. And it was working ... very well!

When the holidays began, I suddenly realised that this writing time would now encroach on time that otherwise could be spent with family. When we arrived in France, I explained how important it was for me to keep up the momentum, write for a few hours each day while visiting. Happily, they were extremely tolerant of me hiding myself away; I set to work getting a good few thousand down on paper after three days off over Christmas. This did make the inevitable time spent gazing out of the window pondering over plot, or a particular line, feel more wasteful (I had abandoned a family walk to write, and had to bloody well write!) Which of course, it isn't - you need time to think! But overall, it worked well. My family respected my wishes not to disclose the nature of the project, too.

I ended the year having written around 80,000 words - and felt really happy with this. And while I could have spent the remaining break nudging it up towards 90,000 -Paris wouldn't let me. The language and contrasts of France, the art, the poetry and beauty of Montmartre, taking hundreds of photos. The food. An abundance of free champagne. And love, sweet love inspired a whole new little baby writing project, and some very beautiful poems. I began writing in French again, which I haven't done in years.

I could have fought the tidalwave of inspiration, and continued with my deadline. But as someone commented to me on my impending goal in the run-up to Christmas, 'the very word deadline sounds awful'. Even though this deadline had created the first draft of something special, knowing when to give up and go in a new direction was definitely the best decision to make. At the London School for Social Entrepreneurs Christmas party, someone said to me: 'So you're having a proper holiday? No laptop? No work!' I answered immediately - 'am a writer, am not going to stop writing!' Do writers really ever go 'on holiday' and stop writing? Do artists ever really stop working and fully switch off?