… In fact, the things keeping you back — these embarrassing, boring, stupid obstacles — are the heart of what it is to be human. They’re the whole reason for making and needing art.
This is from Miranda July”s chapter in Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life (2015):
My plan was to write ten pieces of advice for you, ten helpful hints that would be universally useful. The first one was easy, but after that I stalled. It just seemed so unlikely that this would be a good way to teach anything. I’ve always learned best by watching how other people live, the parents of friends, the woman with the giant handbag in line ahead of me. Everyone has some trick you can steal, or mistake you can avoid. I’ll tell you my origin story.
[line break added] Take what’s useful — never mind the rest. Mostly, the job of making things comes down to why — a very personal why that will never be completely understood, but surges through you, making you itchy and curious and nervous and wildly overconfident. You can feel it right now as you read this, humming in your chest, curling in your thighs. You might even want to skip this and just get to it.
[skipping over July’s life story to the end of the piece]
… It isn’t obvious how to become a person. There isn’t one way, and the path isn’t straight or logical. It worked out in the end. After the peep-shows I worked for a company called Pop-A-Lock, unlocking car doors with special tools when people accidentally locked their keys in. After that I decided I didn’t need a job. Not that I could live off my art quite yet, but I thought that if I stayed in perpetual motion I wouldn’t fall. Like a cartoon character jumping between roofs that were a little too far apart, I just hovered there, in mid-air, legs frantically churning.
Best of luck,
P.S. Here’s my piece of advice, the only one I could come up with: your life right now is as real as it will ever be. It won’t be more real in the future, when you get into or out of college or into our out of a relationship or a job or a financial quagmire or a health problem. In fact, the things keeping you back — these embarrassing, boring, stupid obstacles — are the heart of what it is to be human. They’re the whole reason for making and needing art. So you might as well go ahead and begin in whatever way you can right now.
My most recent previous post from this book is here.