on art and love
My friend, Eve Miller, a fantastic cellist (who keeps her cello in the fiercest, sexiest pink case) -->
I just tried to find a picture of it online and failed, but I did come across this rather scary, Pepto-hued violin
--> recently wrote about creative acts sometimes producing a feeling of falling in love.
I've linked to it because it's an interesting discussion and I'm intrigued by her declaration that "it feels like love, but it isn't love"...and why that may or may not be the case.
I wonder how much of that statement has to do with the notion that love is somehow boundless...that the only love is "unconditional love". Someone recently told me, in a serious, look-into-my-eyes, you'd-better-believe it way, that she loved me. I was moved, perplexed, giddy, surprised, and all sorts of things (I was also, it must be said, not entirely sober)...Now, this declaration of love is the result of our work together as artists and our work together as artists is the result of (among other things) our generosity of spirit and sense of kinship and so cyclically on and on. I believe that she does love me. Does she wish she could see me every day or at least on a very frequent basis? I don't think so. Does she want to fuck me? Nah. Does she want to support me emotionally in all areas of my life? No and I suspect she's not equipped to do so. Does she want to support me in my work as an artist? Absolutely and she has in countless ways. Is the love between us limited in scope? Sure; but it's pretty palpable and there's "real" feeling involved. I love my family, but, thankfully, the love we all share is also limited in scope. Is the connection we share deeply physical? In many ways, yes, because the work we do together is physically strenuous, exhilarating, inescapably bodily, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual all at the same time.
I have another thing to say about sensuality and sexual arousal and a feeling of physical intimacy in moments of creation (see Eve's blog). Steve Wangh, former student of J Grotowski and amazing teacher in his own right, taught me a lot about possibility ... in particular about the possibility for intimacy in the warmup. You know, that period where people usually stand around wiggling their foot now and then, doing a jumping jack, humming, stomping in solitude, or engaging in some other sort of ritualistic and/or half hearted maneuver designed to warm up parts of yourself in isolation (alternately, the warmup may consist of some kind of mandatory, structured, group activity)... Well, when Steve worked with foolsFURY for a glorious week back in 2005 before we did Twelfth Night, he blew my mind. There I was, doing anything and everything I needed to warm up my body, voice, relationship to the space, and relationship to my mates/collaborators all at the same time; and I'd never felt such an intensely intimate (and somewhat scary) connection with a teacher. He was so open, so generous, so receptive...I found myself attracted to him on every level. Suddenly, I wanted to be naked with him, to touch him, to smell him...this profound sense of attraction was not inspired by lust in any commonplace, visual, pheromonic way...but it was how my mind turned on and tuned in to the gifts he gave me - the gifts of possibility, the openness, the creativity...it was an element of my gratitude and excitement and it was an effect, I think, of working with a teacher who in no way separated his own work - what he was exploring artistically - from what he was asking his students to explore. He trained with us, he leapt with us, he moved with us...not to show us how it should be done, but rather to allow us to participate in his doing and to participate in ours. "Never settle for anything less" he told me. And, by that, he meant: make your warmup what you need it to be, do what you need to do, be who you need to be.
And now, I have to quote another artist whom I don't know personally, but who has certainly changed my life: Chuck Mee.
From HOTEL CASSIOPEIA:
if I were to say anything to you
it would be:
do what you love
not what you think you should do
or what you think is all you can do
what you think is possible for you
do what you love
and let the rest follow along behind it
even if it doesn't follow along behind
you will have done what you've loved
and you know what that is
you know better than anyone what you love
and a life centered around your love
cannot be wrong
cannot finally be disappointing
Easy for you to say.
No. No, it isn't.