Sunday, March 22, 2020

Collages and quarantines

In the part of your life that is about being alive, your one wild and precious life, what it’s like to be you, your sense of who you are and how you fit in with everything, all that, doing creative work hangs out near the center circle, along with love, beauty, laughter, and the other alltime greatest hits on the Super Awesome Mixtape of your soul.

I’m mostly talking about my own experience, but I guess I’m evangelizing, too.

Doesn’t matter what it is. Doesn’t matter if you’re doing pro quality work.

Years ago, in my thirties, hanging out with a friend who was into collaging, I started making collages on a once-in-a-while basis.

I found it really satisfying and therapeutic. I incorporated it into my parenting, too, making collages with the kids. It’s a great way to pass time, you fall into flow, and at the end there’s something interesting to look at and think about.

I get old magazines for free from the library, sort through them, various images or phrases catch my eye, and I cut and arrange and glue, and an hour passes. And I’ve made something! I keep a notebook that has color copies of the old ones. I enjoy flipping through it sometimes.

The decades-long project, collaging alone and with others, gives me a mental health boost. It also serves some of the same function of dreams, processing stuff that is hanging out right below the obvious surface of mind.

And it sharpens the saw in terms of something like lateral intelligence, combinatorial insight, meaning-making, the broadest sense of the word “play”  (like the immersive way kids play, or the play of light on water, or the cool brain riffs we call wordplay, or the way it feels to lose yourself in the moment when playing music or sports or games), you know, man: all the juice I need to be there for me when I’m making my For-Real art, writing my poems, stories, and songs. The collaging takes all that stuff out for a walk, gives it some air and light, knocks off some cobwebs. And it feels like being awake and alive. 

Anyhow, I recommend you find some kind of arroyo to channel the flow of your creative energy.  I’m gonna do some writing. Play some guitar.  Sing.

And, as you’ve likely deduced, I’ve made a couple of collages during these days of self-quarantine.






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