Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alone Yet Connected

Together But Separate, mixed media collage, 4" x 5"

Tonight I was working on some logo ideas for my friend's new website. As I was collaging away upstairs, I had this strong feeling of connection to my partner who was one (or two) floors down involved in his own creative activities.

And then I began to realize how often he and I make room for creative energy in our home--and how, together, we go about our writing and arting and reading separately. Together but separate. We may meet on the middle floor to share or ask questions (mine is always, what does my art piece actually mean?) or check in, but we feel connected in our separate activities.

[For those of you who might appreciate some technological geekiness, we sometimes even use iChat to check with one another, so we talk to each other on the computer screen and set a time to "meet up" live.]

I feel content but inspired. Alone yet connected. Free and yet always somehow tethered to my partner's heart, knowing he is accepting of my artistic messes and creative bursts at 10:00 at night and my seeming inability to end one project before starting the next. And he knows that I forgive him for being able to fall asleep in two seconds after a night of creating when I am wide awake with swirls of ideas.

My artistic process requires a great deal of aloneness, yet I love to feel that I can connect or collaborate if I wish. Having a three-floor townhouse helps cultivate separateness for sure, but I also think that we've created permeable boundaries--boundaries that we constantly shift as we change the way we wish to create.

Tonight I am appreciative. And I thank you, W, for your understanding--no, championing--my creative process every day.

Try this:

Think about how you create. Alone? With others around? With distraction? What do you like about your creative environment and about those who may share space with you? What might you like to change about your creative circumstances, if anything? What do you appreciate about the way you create and how do you acknowledge this appreciation to yourself and to those who share space with you?


  1. This is a gorgeous piece, Courtney, and I enjoyed reading your reflections on connectiveness. I think the freedom and security you have with in your relationship feeds your artistic soul allows the flow of cretivity. It's funny, but my house/marriage is much the same: art studio on top floor, living space in the middle, accounting office in basement. He's a nightowl; I'm a morning person. He's an intorvert; I'm an extrovert. We meet in between!

  2. Courtney, there is nothing like being alone when creating. Although I love music, I like the sound of silence very much when I am writing or doing other creative work. Loved your post.

  3. Interesting questions...

    Whatever I create is done in my own head. I almost never collaborate with anyone. I haven't had much practice at it, it might be fun, but I doubt it.

    What I like about my creative environment is how there are no people here. I would like to change the thickness of the walls. If they were 4' thick concrete I'd be a pig singing in a mud puddle. :)

    I like the pace at which I create. It's pretty rapid and constant until it's done. Most of all I enjoy envisioning Point Z and working backwards to figure out how to get there. Lots of artists meander and figure out what they're doing while they're doing it. I typically sense the destination immediately and then maneuver unmercifully toward it.

  4. I find it so fascinating how different we all are in terms of our creative process, yet I love to see details where we overlap.

    Steve, I'm so interested in your process of starting with point Z and working backwards. I also am intrigued how you tend to know your destination. Do you think the art form of music makes the process you describe a bit easier than say a painter? I have no idea, I am just curious...

    May we all create alone, together, in silence, with noise, with fluffy bunny slippers, or naked. Whatever works is what works. Regardless, go forth and create!