I’ve taken to reading Maria Popova‘s Brainpickings, “a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.” And while on spec this seems an ambitious objective, it is exactly what results from reading Popova’s daily posts.
What I read from Brainpickings populates my bookshelves – Austin Kleon’s ‘Steal Like an Artist’ and ‘Share Your Work’; Alain de Botton’ ‘Art as Therapy’; and Alan Watts ‘The Wisdom of Insecurity’. And, as Kleon’s books so effectively illustrate, what I read becomes the art I make.
In fact, after reading Kleon’s books over a couple of days last week I was convinced to enter my work in CBC’s Searchlight , an opportunity for Canadians to discover and support Canada’s “next great musical act.” In particular, I was convinced by Kleon and others that the making so routine to my art required sharing.
As a creative writing instructor the act of sharing is the most difficult trust to build with students. And yet, in my own work I routinely put off sharing for a litany of reasons that, at the root, add up to insecurity. The work is not finished. The recording is not perfect. Or ready. Or… If this is the one time a listener shares their time, the song must be… The difficulty is, as Watts so eloquently points out, the act of not sharing means that the audience hears nothing of my new work. So in saving that experience for another time, the listener hears silence and the result is the same as having not liked what they hear. If the work is out there, it lays waiting for someone to listen to. If the work is not out there, it is not out there.
With this thinking in mind, I have decided to release new work over the course of Searchlight’s initial two weeks. One new song ever day or so. The record is called fasciculus , a Latin word for which two elements that resonate: the first, A discrete section of a literary serial issued or published separately; the second
Fasciculus Chemicus: a 17th-century anthology of alchemical writings.
The record will materialize as a serial publication of sorts. So in a literal way the title works. As for alchemy, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist explores experience as the only true means to turning everything we touch to gold. In this way, fasciculus is part of this journey for me. Steps in the process of making and sharing my art. Of treating my work with the respect it deserves from its creator.
Further to the songs and the record, I’m going to publish the story behind the song, the recording, and share my process as an artist. If Kleon is right, and I think that he is, that the work has a way of getting discovered when it’s available for discovery, then I think I have something to share. And I think these stories behind the songs are part of the work. They ought to be part of the sharing then.
In the Gallery you will find this work. As with any Gallery, as art accumulates let your eyes draw you in; let your ears determine the length of your stay. And, if you like, take some time to say hello. Afterall, my work is part of a conversation I haven’t had yet.