The Sea of Everything

from by Abstraction



Here it is again: the empty canvas. It is one of the many nemeses of creativity, maybe the most powerful. Some poor souls have sat for days, or weeks, or even their entire lives, expecting happenstance or divine intervention to grant them direction or inspiration. Irrecoverable minutes slip by spent drowning in a sea of everything that is possible. The sharks begin circling. However, there is an escape.

One note, a lone stroke of the brush, a solitary word triumphant on a page, is the only thing needed to start the crystallization process of an idea. With a single, simple act, the continuum of infinite possibilities collapses in on itself. Options considered mere moments ago now seem absurd and frivolous, foolish to waste time on. The first footprint on your canvas is paramount, as it defines where all the other steps lead. Now, the impossible question of “What can be made” has been distilled to a far more reasonable “So, where should this go next”.

The path illuminates like the foggy glint from a lighthouse, offering guidance for your project in an otherwise gray purgatory. However, it is known that a lighthouse offers both direction and warning: salvation is this way, but the course is churning with danger. Unseen horrors lurk under the black water. Tentacles writhing, waiting to pull a hapless or vulnerable idea into the cold, dark womb of the sea, never to escape, or be saw or heard by anyone but its creator.

This course has no map and rarely a guide, only personal experience from other, similar trials can light the way. Those past adventures were often failures, even though they started strong with vision and reliable bearing. Too quickly, these ideas are ran up against rocks and washed away or, worse, were slowly picked apart until nothing original or inspiring remained. Crawling home bruised, hobbled, beaten; anguished over losing another creative child so lovingly nurtured. Time spent nursing a shattered ego back to health is dark with fear and self-loathing. Sitting broken, the mind an empty husk, wondering if anything is still worth making and questioning the meaning behind this madness called creativity. The spirit may be temporarily broken, but never defeated.

Never defeated while that empty canvas sits, waiting, taunting. It is a silent and ubiquitous reminder of unfinished business and the beating taken during the last bout. Its siren’s call is the constant challenge of creative potential, of unexplored territory, of the inner strength involved in getting up dusting yourself off, and trying again.

So here it is: the empty canvas. What mark will be made on it today?


from Do This Justice, released November 30, 2013




Abstraction Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hi. My name is Ben. I make things, sometimes for other people.

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