Sound of Paper: Mending – why I need to SLOW DOWN

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Sound of Paper. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

Rubbed out graffiti

While the mending entry isn’t really a blog or journal prompt, it does prompt me. It comes at a synchronous time. It’s advice I’ve been given many times over, last and most aggressively in a job where expectations for me were too high and support was too low. The advice was good, even if I was given absolutely no room to apply it: slow down.

I don’t slow down. This year I’ve caught myself jumping the gun, going off half-cocked, not stopping to get more information, not checking information, forgetting to go back and read the whole conversation…and we all know my typos quite well, don’t we?

I get impatient. I skip steps. I forget things. I rush.

This never does me any good, and it’s really about the bridge of trust between myself and whatever may be. I am a religious person, so I call that divinity. Trusting things will work out. Trusting that whatever lays at the end of my actions, it’s still good.

When I slow down, things turn out fine. The problem is that I still equate better with faster. I think most Americans do. It used to show up in my music lessons – I would rush through each measure, flipping my fingers, blowing my horn, stepping on the refined details that make music music. I believed that the ability to play a piece as fast as possible was what demonstrated mastery.

It did not. Quite the opposite. It showed that while I could certainly play each note, I did not have the true artistry of a musician. I did not perform the music. I just played it. (That I never enjoyed playing an instrument was likely also a factor.)

I have been gifted two years to complete my manuscript.

Yesterday, I tried making paper again. It wasn’t quite the disaster of my first tries. This time I slowed down. I watched some videos (I admit I skipped through to the parts that covered where I was having trouble.) Paper making is an exercise in patience, messiness, and the perseverance to clean up. You have to squeeze the water out.

Today I have one mishappen piece of paper, one that has fused to a paper backing, and one still on the deckle frame. I said something to Mike about giving up, but I’m rethinking this morning. I just need to take my time, and I need to get a bigger sponge. If I slow down and stick with it in the moment, I can turn out some perfectly good paper, maybe a few more sheets per session. If I slow down at the beginning and lay down paper and plastic in the kitchen, I won’t have such an onerous mess to clean up later.

Also, I am trying my hand again at T-shirt surgery. Once again, it’s about the art of slowing down. There’s never a reason to sew faster when you do it for yourself – and in that slowness I can carefully, deliberately learn to measure, learn to decorate, learn to create. Maybe I’ll even teach myself how to sew button holes this year.




Filed under: Tasks, The Sound of Paper