Posted by: Adam Roper | June 3, 2009

dry seasons and grace

On this lazy afternoon, the 4 or 5th of many this past month, I thought I should sit down and explain the reason for the infrequency of writings and articles here as of late (how was that for a run-on sentence! ah ha ha!).

The reason I haven’t been writing much is that I’ve been pretty dry, artistically speaking, for the past two months. My thinking on the nature of art has been pretty drained, and I’ve only managed to write about 2 decent/publishable/readable poems. I am not lazy, contrary to popular belief.

This, again, begs the question: How do we, as artists, manage with dry seasons?

Dry seasons can be completely unexplainable- sometimes we just feel a general numbness and inability to be moved by beautiful days, cool nights, fresh mornings, new realizations, great music, etc. Even when we are moved by them our ability to transpose the effect of these beautiful things into an artistic form (a song, a phrase, a picture, a painting, a color, a tone or sound) feels bothersome and difficult.

At the same time the root of dry seasons are not impossible to trace: perhaps we become dry because of unemployment, because of periods of disconnection from community or other forms of intimate connection, because of depression, because the place called home feels disappointing, because of doubts and issues that can’t be solved in 5 easy steps; the reasons are endless.

For whatever reason, I am in a dry season right now. What can I do besides ride it out with the hope that my senses will wake up again, things will effect me in unexplainable ways, the reminders grace of everyday life that God places here and there will come into focus, this will not last forever. Sometimes we need dry seasons to remind ourselves that we are not indestructible, that we are human, that every act of creativity comes from the depths of our desire for acceptance and validation.

As I always say, if everything was easy life would be boring. If all we ever felt was good we would never feel the need to question, explore, or revist our assumptions about what being human means. If anything in dry seasons we learn that artistic inspiration (something not limited to “artists” in the literal sense”) comes to us when feel good and when we feel bad. It is in these places that the places that grace is hidden become more clear: in places we can only see when we stop to notice. The nature of grace is that it comes to meet us when we need it the most.

Where am I? And where am I going? These are the questions I have to ask myself in all this. Why do we have dry seasons? The same reason why we have seasons of inspiration: So new things can grow and become born in us, so we learn new things that could not have been learned any other way.

The journey continues. Cheers.

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Responses

  1. “that every act of creativity comes from the depths of our desire for acceptance and validation.”

    Wow, Adam, you have a way with words and honestly and poetically portraying where you are at – thank you. I resonate greatly with what you wrote, in particular the above quote.
    cheers to you.

  2. I have short dry seasons all the time. Something always triggers new growth though. I can’t always control it, but sometime I almost will myself out of the dry season by choosing to try something. It might just be going for a solitary walk or listening to some different music or reading a book or watching an artsy film… sometimes it might even be a change of diet – eating more veggies or something like that.

    Sometime I can ride out the dry season, but I usually need to make some sort of change.

  3. Amen Jeff, we are the authors of our fate. Take control of your circumstances, don’t let them control you. Part of being a fruitful artist is knowing hope to be inspired. For me, it often means a change of scenery. Mostly though, it just means breaking out of the rut. I sometimes intentionally set out to do something I know I will fail at, or suck at just to get out of a rut. Then, even though I normally will fail or suck according to my standards, I will discover something new, exciting, and inspirational.


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