After a leisurely yesterday at Miami beach we had a full thirteen hour day today, of almost non-stop creation.
We began with our collaboration projects. Teachers of different disciplines all designed a half-hour class for the rest of the teachers with the objective to create ---something.
And in those two hours we made songs, avant-garde performance pieces, a travelling theatre experience, a silent film, a short dialogue between an angry William Shakespeare dog and a blind motherless bird in the shape of Cindy Salgado, and a Rudyard Kipling poetry extravaganza. It was a good learning experience from the inside and out - it was an experiment in structure in the creative process, for me at least. When to intervene with the creativity and when to be "hands-off." How much structure is too much for the creative juices to flow, but how much must be in place to let the expression have a focus.
If I were to say to you, "Write a story about something interesting," it might be hard to come up with anything. Plus, that's a lot of pressure. If I were to say "write a story about a man who gets married to a woman and has kids and then lives on a farm in Montana, lives a happy life and tends to his cows daily," well then where do you go from there? Who wants to write a story about that guy anyway? Too much structure. The poem we got from the Rudyard Kipling group, it seems to me, was about finding the middle ground. Here it is: (come on, don't scroll down, read it. When's the next time you're going to read Rudyard Kipling? he's the guy who wrote the Jungle Book, give him a chance).
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!
Man, while I'm at it, I have to put in this amazing Neruda poem I just read. It's called Poetry. It's like the best poem ever.
And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
Yeah, that's what it's like.
Open house tomorrow - parents come with the students. - we stayed late working on our performance for them. Hopefully we get a good turn-out. There is that exciting/slightly nervous energy pervading the air of "This is really happening." That is a good energy. If there is any drug I am addicted to, it is that one. That pre-performance/pre-class/pre-creation bubbling sensation which comes before anything you are truly passionate about. At a most primal level, that is what keeps us coming back, I think.
So wish us many broken legs!
(quite un-literally, please).