As I write this I am staring at a list that represents deadlines for five writing projects, six teaching projects, two reading projects, and the very forgettable exercise project that is not getting off the ground this month.
January is ending and very few of these projects have been completed. Instead they grow, evolve, multiply, go into another draft, ask for more, need more, want more, demand more.
Several years ago I decided I would approach my work in projects instead of jobs. So, in my teaching artist work I began to take on projects instead of classes and with writing I allowed each play to be its own project with its own workshop of sound, notebook, images and timeline.
I like this approach. I am more organized. My natural bent towards eclecticism and desire for letting things evolve organically is given the container of a project. I can schedule work so that even when there's not a lot of time for one thing, I can check in on it. Visit it.
I can imagine my desk is like my dad's workbench, tools and hardware at hand, shelves of power tools and raw materials. Imagine that hung up along the wall are images, in the little drawers lie characters dreaming away, in one area are a bunch of teaching ideas, and the power tools are actions, are big questions, are those books I carry with me through every move.
Now my workshop is looking like some shed from one of the families down the other street, where things accumulate but nothing is ever finished. It's looking like the yard with cars up on blocks and a fridge on the porch. A dog running back and forth till there's a patch of dirt that nothing will grow on ever again. There's half a pool dug, some kind of tree house that no kid would even want to play in and a flag pole leaning against the chimney. There are too many kittens and they are sleeping in a cracked aquarium.
So. It's time to clean up. Time to clear out. Time to call some things done and other things well - maybe the neighbors want them.
- Kristen Palmer