Is there just TMI when it comes to the creative process? Some think so, especially in the full tilt confessionalism of blogtown.
On Mind the Gap, one of my favorite art/culture blogs, Wendy Perron from Dance Magazine is quoted on this topic:
There’s an annoying new trend of blogging about the process of making a dance. I am talking about young choreographers, anxious to be in the public eye, who think that writing about what happened that day in the studio will somehow 1) bring them a wider audience and/or 2) make them a better choreographer. I realize a blog is a good way to keep your website alive and to involve your potential audience. But explaining how you make a dance, the problems you encounter and how you solve them, is not going to help either you as the choreographer or your potential audience.
In agreement. The current proclivity to language everything—from personal material to the creative process that belongs outside that “explain everything” domain—is increasingly problematic. There are costs, some of them unperceived.
Mind the Gap’s response brings up issues that I feel strongly about, like the “pre-verbal place” that needs to be protected:
Perron’s original post is worth reading in full, as in it she gets deeper into specifics on exactly why she worries about this reliance on words when it comes to creating fresh art. Her thoughts were really interesting to me, particularly because she’s cautioning young artists to pull in the reigns and that’s not a message I come across very often. Usually it’s about how to be more, do more, and say more, all in the hope of reaching more, teaching more, and selling more.
So, to blog or not to blog about process, that is an interesting question in the messy rule-breaking world of creative expression. Did Perron intend this as dance-specific advice, particularly needed due to its physical nature? How important is the “pre-verbal place” in other types of creative work? I personally thought Perron’s admonishment to knock the blogging off was a little harsh, but the seemingly always-distracted-by-blinking-technology side of me understands that she has a point.
Several people have asked me how blogging has affected my real work in the studio. It is a complex question for me and one for which I do not have a pat answer even after four years. Sometimes I say I use it as a linear counterpoint to the inchoate nature of my painting life. Or that it de-hermetizes me and makes it easier to embrace open-heartedness. Or that my love of poetry and of provocative ideas serves to clarify my intentionality. That the process of writing is palate-cleansing (palette-cleansing?!!)
All these responses feel true but none feels complete. Maybe it is just a case of e) all of the above. And while I have not used this blog to parse the creative process into logical, languaged form, I do enjoy observing that pre-verbal place from a safe distance. It is like watching something quite unexpected and at times mesmerizing, but doing so from behind the bushes.