I met up with singer songwriter Francesca de Valence this morning so I could record her for the Walking With Writers podcast. Before with green tea and coffee, during our walk along the Brisbane River, and after over an early lunch we discussed the artistic life and how we both have pushed ourselves to work too hard and how eliminating the things we need — exercise, relaxation, time with friends — is harmful to our selves and our creativity.
Francesca has a much better understanding of her creative life than I. She has thought about things where I have had a tendency to plow through. But I don’t want to just bumble through my creativity any more. I want change. And I want to change myself. So when Francesca mentioned the idea of curating her life, her artistic life and her wholistic life so that everything she does is in line with her core values, I grabbed this idea. Or maybe this idea grabbed me because when we talked about it, I felt a lightness, a tremor of transition.
How often do we actually step off the treadmill and think about our artistic lives? How much time do we spend complaining about the lack of money, or how society undervalues writers and musicians and other artists, or comparing where we are in our artistic development with others who have just won a prize or been published? I know I go from day to day often on auto-pilot. It’s hard being a mother, a wife, a person and trying to maintain my inner creativity.
But curating our artistic lives and attitudes is about choice and empowerment. I choose to write, I choose this life of words and paper and pushing boundaries. I could do something else, many somethings even, but I choose writing. So how can I curate my attitude to reflect the joy in that choice?
If you’re here with me, you know we’re moving countries in four weeks. Things are stressful, anxiety ridden even. I have weathered Open Home Hell and sold the house. Now as I wait for settlement, and trust someone else will come through with the money, I’m knotting off our time in Australia and opening new threads in Toronto. Bank accounts need to be closed, huge amounts of money need to be transferred to Canada to buy our house, insurance must be stopped here and organized there, items sold, relocation organized, curtains cleaned, a dog set up on his first international trip.
I wake almost every night at 2am, wander to the kitchen, and start a new list. I tick things off the lists, but they just keep coming, like baby bunnies.
There will always be times of uncertainty and anxiety in our lives. That’s why I love the idea of curating our attitudes, our creative lives and, even, our days. Curating is more than just organizing or ticking off jobs. It implies a considered process with a specific aim, no matter how broad. I see it as a wholistic approach to this artistic life that we so often cut into little pieces: money, time, guilt, produce.
I don’t want my artistic life cut into negative bits, nor do I want to continue along an unconsidered creative path. I may not have much time for thinking right now, but I’m important and so are you. I’m going to think about how I will curate my creative attitude.
Would anyone like to join me?
For more inspiration from Francesca de Valence check our her songwriting club
I Heart Songwriting Club.