So Emily. She's just this amazing woman I know who makes beautiful things, does yoga with her whole spirit, and has read some of the same books I have read (and more) about being compassionate toward the self and toward others for the sake of a leading deeply good and right life.
I live with a high level of introspection, and increasingly with the notion that happiness requires some effort; both of those can feel like too much, like maybe a wrong way of doing life.
But Emily is one of those beacons signaling "This is a path you can take. It's safe and good!"
When it came to writing a letter for her, I picked up my pad of graph paper first and started sketching. Somehow I didn't feel self-conscious about making something "beautiful" for someone who makes her living creating beautiful things.
It wasn't entirely about that finished, "beautiful" thing. It was about the process of putting down tiny tick after tiny tick. It represented a passing of time, mistakes, owning and accepting the mistakes, moving forward, continuing to create.
And then when I was finished, I had collected so many ideas along the way that I had to write her a word-letter, too.
Mostly my ideas floated around a question: How do you live through that entire creative process, mistakes and all? How do you live with doubt and create despite it? Or with it? How do you trust that there's value in your work?
Maybe some of the answer is in fun. I had fun sketching my pattern. I got caught up in the repetition, symmetry, and the mistakes, too—the little things that disrupted the sea of sameness.
In making the letter for her and meditating on the question of value and doubt, a conviction bubbled up. I'm going to keep making these patterns, over and over, in different mediums. I'm going to stitch them, paint them, print them, sew them.
I don't know what they'll be a week from now—maybe even a year from now? Will they survive that long? Does that matter?
It feels smart to look directly in front of me for this creative process. No gazing off into the horizon, trying to make out what's there.
The horizon is too big, full of things that are unrelated to making something new. Those things shouldn't have bearing on how I draw little tick marks right now, and what those tick marks might become.