The art of improvisation - mission 05

Elizabeth Albert on Flickr

Elizabeth Albert on Flickr

Over dinner last night a friend told me of an improvisation class she’d signed up for, the prospect was a little bit scary.

But come to think of it, are we ever doing anything other than improvising?

What is the opposite of improvising? Knowing what’s going to happen? Having everything planned out? Good luck with that!

As Patricia Ryan Madison says in her book, Improv Wisdom, “Life is something we make up as we go along.”

The book is 13 maxims gleaned from the world of improvisation, but because our lives are nothing but improv, you could say they are - 13 bang on lessons for living life with wisdom and humour.

For this dharma art mission I’m just going to tell you about maxims three and four, for the other eleven you have to buy the book.

Maxim no.3 – ‘Just show up’
Where do I need to be? Everything happens in a place. If I want something to happen, where is the place that is going to happen?

If I want to exercise I need to be in the gym. If I want to meditate I’ll sit on the cushions. If I want to write, then at my desk with coffee.

Just notice ‘where’ stuff happens.

Ah, when I go and look at art I feel inspired. When I go into nature, I get energy.

Work out the places you need to be and go there.

Maxim no.4 – 'Start anywhere'
If you know exactly what you want to make then you know for certain where to start. It is like following a recipe in order to make the pie in the picture.

But creativity is often about making something whilst not knowing what that something is going to be. Which, using the kitchen metaphor, means chopping an onion even though you don't know what's for dinner. 

We just start somewhere and maybe the first 3 ideas end up in the bin. But you know what, those ideas that are now in the bin, they were essential to get the thing made.

A very simple dharma art mission this week –

1.     Think of something you’ve been wanting to do or make. Here are some of mine –

  • Make some sourdough bread
  • Make a mobile out of some cats ribs (yes I have a box of very small cats ribs)
  • Make some cards out of photos
  • Draw my dream (from assignment 04)
  • Try taking some portraits

2.     Go to where you need to be to do or make that thing

3.     Start anywhere.

Let us know how you get on!