So, there are these rules floating around, much like some mythical oath (which, if uttered, guarantees you magic powers), that were developed by Sister Mary Corita Kent for the art department at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles.
The first rule? FIND A PLACE YOU TRUST AND THEN TRY TRUSTING IT FOR AWHILE.
Which is incredibly simple, useful, and — from my point of view — a very uplifting way of thinking about art. Because artists do find “places” within themselves that they must learn to trust, and believe in. Even if it’s for a little while. Because if you don’t, if you never give those places (those parts of you that are sparking with potential) a chance to become something more (maybe a fire), then you lose.
You have to open yourself up. It’s one thing to trust something for an hour, or a moment. But to trust for longer than that requires an investment. It means you have to open yourself up to it, become vulnerable, in ways you cannot if your contemplation is limited, finite, and without consequence.
This rule also applies to life: ideas, work, people. Because “place” is really just a stand-in for all those things (and more) and trust is another word for faith, love, belief (perhaps, even, dedication):
FIND A DREAM YOU TRUST AND THEN TRY TRUSTING IT FOR AWHILE.
FIND A FRIEND YOU TRUST AND THEN TRY TRUSTING HIM OR HER FOR AWHILE.
Or, for the writer: FIND A STORY YOU TRUST AND THEN TRY TRUSTING IT FOR AWHILE. Which is easier said than done. I have notebooks filled with ideas that I didn’t let myself trust for more than a day. But what if I had? What if I’d gone to them, and sat with them, with a little more faith? Maybe, even, love? What if I had reached deeper than I ever had, to find that vulnerable place within that would let me tell the story?
So, I ask all of you to try this, if you can. Find a place you trust. And then try trusting it for awhile. Really take the time. Really sit with it, in the right spirit of faith and contemplation.
See what happens.