Monday, January 01, 2007

Creative procrastination

For the last two days, I've been holed up in my basement, painting with wax. It's called encaustic, smartass, and it's been used for centuries. The Egyptians used to use it to paint the faces of the dead on their mummies' caskets.

I gave myself the last half of December off from writing, because of lots of things but mostly because I was starting to force it, which results in nothing quite so much as a forced story. And there were the holidays, and gravy to make, etc etc. And when my husband asked me what my plans were for our last few days of freedom over the holiday break, I didn't even think about it. "I want to try encaustic," I said.

My friends Carrie and Dave tried it a couple years back and had terrific success with it. You need lots of ventilation and LOTS of wax, and you need to free yourself from your inner editor while you're working, because hot wax has a mind of its own. So that's what I did.

And after two days, I have some funky Rorschach-looking paintings and my soul feels like a stiff breeze has blown through it. And now I'm ready to write again, I think.

Sometimes that's all it takes: giving yourself the smallest of breaks, and then taking a deep breath and wading into the stream once more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree.

6:58 AM  

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