Faith

I've been working very, very hard for four months straight. The work is exactly the same, day after day: HTML, meetings, CSS, consulting, JavaScript, meetings, consulting, HTML, meetings, consulting, CSS, JavaScript. It's for a project with a $50mil plus budget, very little of which is mine. Even so, everything matters, and if I want them to continue to engage my company's services, it has to be good. Which means it takes incredible concentration, care and never-ending effort to do this work.

So what does that mean? That I have to pour heart and soul into it. Even though my best intentions are to leave it at work, to really be there with my family, to reserve some soul for my creative efforts, that work has sucked me dry.

Despite all my attempts to the contrary, I have put my faith -- by necessity, I feel -- into my work.

I'm sitting here right now knowing that it's going to take massive effort to find the narrative of what I'm writing again, to see the vision of what I'm painting again. In different words, I'm going to have to find my faith again.

But that's really the definition of faith, isn't it? Looking even when it doesn't feel like anything is there?

It's not like I'm the only one who runs into this. I just listened to Herbie Hancock interviewed by Kurt Andersen. He said that when he's creating, he tells himself not to stop, that if he stops, he's going to have to fight to find the inspiration all over again. And he inevitably stops and inevitably has to fight.

The difference? I really don't know anymore. I used to think that my work was different from the work of people like Herbie, that theirs was much more full of creativity than mine. But I've begun to doubt that.

The $50mil project I'm working on started out as a 5-week engagement which has turned into 4 months, and has every indication of continuing for several more months. When I know what I'm getting into, I can gear up for it. I know when it will end, so I can better judge the impact I will allow it to have during and after the engagement. But that changes when there's no end in sight. I gear up at the beginning and then when the initial timeframe is over, I continue in high gear and eventually wear out.

I'll bet that if I were to talk to Herbie about this very issue, he would relate to it. I'll bet there are engagements he has to be involved in that suck him dry, too.

My current hypothesis is that people like him have made clear choices about what they want, and most of the time, those choices are not obvious. I think that many times, they choose away from the obvious way to support themselves and toward that indefinable thing they really want.

And that's the faith I'd like to find.

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