My 5-year-old daughter announced in the doorway: "Mama, you aren't even really down here working. You're just standing there staring at the wall. And why are you whispering? Who are you talking to?" How do you explain to a child, who understands that good, solid work is done with hands and body, that this stillness is also a way to work, that work with the mind never stops?
And the whispering: "That was just me talking to me."
And the mystery of this: "Why do you want to talk to you?"
And we can travel to the farthest, darkest corners of our minds, and we can whisper-ask the same questions again and again and think we're coming up with answers, but this, itself, is also a form of circular containment ... of the wrong kind ... and one that we have to claw our way from because it will hold us back. It will keep us seductively safe from asking questions, from looking up and out. We will disappear inside ourselves instead. We may continue to create, but we won't risk.
My last employer and mentor from the clothing design industry, Manuel Mendoza, a couturier from Manila, used to say, "You can't design from inside a box." But more importantly, he said, "Damn it, stop standing there. If you don't just cut the pucking pabric you'll be paralyzed forever. You have to move. Just cut the pucking pabric! Unless it the last pabric in the world, you can always buy more." (I should mention here that this particular 'pucking pabric' was a $500/meter Versace silk print featuring enormous turquoise peacocks or flowers or something that had to overlap and match precisely up the center front for a certain busty client. And I cut it, but I tight cheeked it the whole time, and no I didn't have to buy more fabric. More deodorant, maybe.)
Then, of course, there's Diana Vreeland, who said:
"The eye has to travel."
And we do this
in order to discover that nature almost always provides an answer:
In order to compare maps and learn the landscapes others have already explored:
In order to process
and to go deeper and to connect to something dark and real and split:
In order to return
probably more than once
with the intent to collect:
In order to
contain the fear of loss and loss and loss,
and ponder the need to gather and to hold.
Itself, a mystery
that lies within us all.