Artists dedicate books & movies & paintings to people all the time. The "audience of one” (Still Writing, @danishapiro) or "writing a present” philosophy (Bird by Bird @annelammot) lets us know that an artist’s work is born out of a soul desire to connect deeply to one another ---not hide in the isolation we often make our art in.
Opening that first page of a book and seeing the little words "dedicated to" followed by a name, feels as though I'm reaching behind the cupped hands of a whispered secret between dear lovers. The act of dedication proves the threads of our art are woven between us, not within ourselves.
The first time I read the words "I dedicated the past hour to you." was in a text stream from Justine Volkman, a member of our girl gang. I was a bit confused by what that totally meant, but as she explained further, she was giving me a piece of her day, her day being her art. She was reading lines of a book and thinking of the peace they might give my life, she was dancing to a song I'd love while making breakfast, she was painting a water color thinking of how I may push the brush across the page. This, was her dedication to a muse, and she'd dedicate many more hours of many more days to many more muses. She'd need people right there with her in the each step of her creative process.
When I tilted my head J's way, I felt a few things:
- In my creative process, I feel safe by knowing that when I dive in to find those surprising pearls of truth, I'll come back up to the surface seeing the faces of those I dove for.
- I've never truly been alone in my art as I'd like to think I've been. Dedications are as important as an editor, a co-author, or maybe even more. They're our reasons to push. There our clapping crowd in the quiet room.
- If the finished masterpiece of the art I'm making has my dedications engraved on the inside walls, then don't I need to loudly let my rough drafts have them too. Don't every step of my days need them? The days I'm drawing the lines of?
Dedicate your art, dedicate your days, dedicate anything inside the creative process with the energy that empowers you. The tension between ones individuality & sharing ones art will never go away, but a "dedication" may just be the empty space that needs you to write in a name and feel at peace.
Ask, "Who was today's hour(s) of creativity for? Who were you writing too? Who were you meeting deep in the pits of your soul? Who saw your pain with you? While you dove seemingly alone down to the depths? Who cried with you while you carved out the sentences that made you feel a little more whole in this crazy world?"
This ain't dark baby. This is just the messy, messy process, made a little more bearable. All the artists before us, have said it. They've wrapped it in a bouquet of different ways, but they've said it loud. They've said we needed each other, even in our individual expression. Open the doors. Open the heart. We are all here. With you. Seeking your creative process like an intimate best friend.
Written with love on a rainy day. Find the vibes here.