Every once in awhile on Bhuz, a ticked-off member will post a final goodbye to the cruel internet world before leaving the forums for good. We refer to this dramatic online behavior as “flouncing.”
Rest assured, I have no plans to flounce from the belly dance world any time soon. I love it too much to stop for any length of time, even a couple of days! Every artist needs to ease their foot off the pedal once in awhile – and I’ve decided to make this my personal goal for September.
I’ve got a lot on my plate next month, including a week at Cape Cod for my sister’s wedding and a long weekend in Cocoa Beach, FL to do some house hunting. (Or, rather, checking out my boyfriend’s brother’s home that’s for sale and gauging my gut reaction to the possibility of leaving my native New England). Needless to say, I won’t be doing a whole lot of dancing – but I hope to take some time and reflect, re-evaluate my goals, and collect new inspiration. Autumn is the harvest season, after all.
This weekend, I just finished reading the mad genius copywriter and artist Hugh MacLeod’s manifesto, Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity. In addition to MacLeod’s sage advice on owning your creativity in a world that rewards the risk-averse, he also makes a stunning case for maximizing your downtime. Just as every conversation has its pauses and silence, the creative process has its lulls. If you write (or dance, or create anything) when you’re not feeling inspired, MacLeod cautions, you just might end up looking and sounding like the artistic equivalent of a desperate old barfly making small talk.
Indeed, it can be difficult to stay fresh and focused when you’re expected to constantly create. Even worse when the pressure is self-imposed. There is a danger in being both a perfectionist and a people pleaser. The people pleaser wants to be a Carvel ice cream cake or a plate of fudge brownies – all things to all people. The perfectionist might rather be something more sophisticated, labor-intensive and haute couture. Perhaps, creme brulee. Sometimes, it’s most beneficial to back off and let your gut do the talking. What are you hungry for? And who do you want to share dessert with?
That being said, I’ll still make myself available for gigs when I’m in town next month. But I also plan to spend more time practicing independently, enjoying the last of the summer, and doing what feels good; less time “shaking hands and kissing babies” on Bhuz, Facebook and the blog. So fear not! I’ll still be around. Just layin’ low for a bit!