The other night, I had the pleasure of seeing the Calder exhibit at LACMA with a friend. It is a beautifully curated show. We enjoyed reading about Calder's process and seeing the final products - the mobiles dancing in the air and the stabiles proudly standing their ground. At first glance, the mobiles look like simplistic childlike designs, but upon closer inspection the artistry really stands out. Geometric, colorful shapes are attached with delicate wire structures, allowing for balance and movement. The pieces are thoughtful, vibrant and even funny
The exhibit made me think of my own writing, or rather, writing in general. There is an illusion of simplicity and ease when reading a page-turner, when really the author most likely struggled with the same sense of balance, only with words instead of shapes.
I teach a class called "In Their Own Words: Artists Speak About Living a Creative Life" and in that class we talk a lot about process - the part of art that isn't really shown in museums, isn't necessarily talked about. To me, the process is the art - the art of discipline, of showing up every day to navigate some mysterious inner-compass, the art of failing, or missing your target, your vision not in line with what's coming out on the page or the canvas.
As I aim to complete the upteenth draft of my fourth novel, years in the making, scenes written and then scrapped, characters born and then killed off, plot points determined and then eradicated, I'm counting on that ineffable feeling to let me know when it's 'done'. The final product - the mobile, the stabile, the book - well, that's just icing on the cake.