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– Photo of the Raven Girls’ “Epilogue” – Photo by Meghan Krauss. –

So I’ve been home a few days now, coming down from one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  There’s only been a handful of times in my life I’ve felt like that – I felt like I did graduating from ACAD. Or at my opening at the AGC.  Exhilarated, but then, the come-down.  It felt like we’d been together for so much longer than two weeks, getting to know each other, working together, having a hell of an adventure, hitting the wall and climbing over, and now, I feel a little lonely, missing all my new friends.

I don’t have a new placement at work yet, but it’s just as well- my achilles heel is acting up again.  I’ve been trying to take it easy and let it rest, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of work to do in the studio yet too. Instead of hobbling around too much, I’ve been tying up loose ends for projects ending and coming up, and working on some details of things, but I’ve got some ideas and really want to jump into making some more complicated things. I do need to take it easy, though, and be as ready as I can for when I’m needed back.

Not only did I learn a lot about the collaborative process, but I’ve learned a lot in the last few weeks about individual creative processes, by talking to people and by watching people work.  Sara Tilley has a particularly interesting writing process, at least for the book she is currently working on.  She uses masks to channel the essence of her characters, to catch their personalities and writing styles.  (See the Calgary Herald article about it.)  I went to her artist talk the other night, and it was mesmerizing.  Another artist’s intense concentration, dedication and sense of play astounded me.  I remember an interesting conversation about the definitions of “work” and “play” and how they can overlap, even in the same project.  There were a few artists who have been doing these things professionally for some time, and a few pretty new at it.  I was continually astonished by all the talent around me, and while it did make me doubt myself for a few minutes, I remembered that what I do is interesting and is valuable, and is different, and that we all feel that way sometimes. I decided that instead of feeling even the slightest bit intimidated, I would jump right in and learn as much as I could, anywhere I could.

The other particularly valuable thing for me is the start I made on getting my brain to be quiet.  Normally, my brain is constantly nattering away, talking, talking, talking.  It’s probably 90% of the reason I have troubles sleeping, because my brain just won’t shut up.  Slowly, through the morning yoga/warm up and Suzuki exercises, I was able to get my brain to be quieter, focusing on letting my body think/exist on it’s own.  I had varying degrees of success at this, of course, but I see some incredible value in it, and want to continue to work on this, as it is so powerful.  I think this was also why Suzuki was also my favourite part of the day (which is funny, I would have thought it would be Open Studio)- I was open to trying something completely new, which I had very little exposure to, and it really allowed me to connect to both myself and my group members through our bodies and chi energy.  That work (and all the singing) might also explain why we all felt so close by the end of the program.

I’m having a bit of a tough time letting this wonderful experience go, but it’s really time to take what I can from it and move forward.  Time to get back to work, remember the highlights, let go and move forward.  Easier said than done.

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