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  • Writer's pictureJan Avellana

To Begin Again

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So get on your way!”

— Dr. Seuss

I decided that I get to clean my studio desk today. My creative space is all of 3 feet x 3 feet, and today I decided to make the most of it, instead of listening to the voices telling me what's the use of such a small space? So I cleaned, which means I'm really getting down to business, ha.

It's tender in here. I gently went through a muslin sack filled with old, dried up tubes of paint, the dog-eared books, now covered with a fine layer of dust finally get a dusting. I carefully wipe everything down and remember how good it felt to do this. How comforting time in the studio used to be, even when I didn't know what the heck I was doing, which was often.

I guess nothing much has changed. I still feel like I'm wandering around, figuring out my life. Maybe it will always be this way, this feeling of lostness and not knowing, or maybe I just like exploring and pushing the boundaries of my life so that I'm always coming up to the edges of what I know--I do love to learn. But it's a vulnerable feeling, this feeling of not being sure. Dancer and writer Agnes De Mille says, "Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next, or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark." Her words comfort me greatly as they resonate--all I can do is nod and moan at being known and understood so deeply.

In this creative space--do I dare call it a studio?--old dreams are still well and alive as the day I let them rest. I tread carefully, not wishing to startle them or wake them too quickly. But that they are all still here, still alive and playful--takes me by surprise and my spirit is within me, relieved and grateful. I sigh, more of an exhale than a sigh really, and begin again.


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