Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Pain - And Art - of Perseverance

Painting and running and reading and writing are all about the same. Start with a blank canvas before you. The artist. Take a breathe and take the plunge. At first, it's dark. It may take some time to adjust to the lighting, the air, the crispness of a jacket unbent, the brittle brushes, the uneven sidewalk or the very idea of plunging ahead when it makes so much more sense to stop and take a nap in front of the tv.

But keep going. And stay with me here.

The first mile or so, the first chapter or so, the first layer of acrylic...it's all the same to me. Painful.

But something in us tells us that it'll get better if we make it past this period of frustration. And more often than not, we keep going until we realize that moment of ugliness is behind us.

With running, it's about 1.5 to 2 miles. Rarely do I stop running before 4 miles and if I do, I force myself to endure another type of conditioning...mental conditioning...as in, I find it difficult to live with myself when I do not regularly run. So I make myself do it and feel great about it when I'm done. If I do endure pain - and I do - it falls on deaf ears.

With painting, it's when I make the transition from acrylic base coat to oil. Ahhhhh...oil...how I adore thee. Now that doesn't mean I have only one acrylic base coat. No. No. No. I could have dozens. You'll never know. Just know that I have both ears. And they are really nice ears, too.


With reading, I learned a long time ago that it's a duty and privilege to make it to the first 100 pages. If the book doesn't capture my attention by then, I am free to let go and maybe someday try again. (This happened to me the first time I read Anna Karenina. I cried for days to get through the book. Then when I did I hated it. Since that first time, I have reread it twice and have loved it each time. I cried still, but tears of things in addition to, and other than, pain.)