Going Deep

June 4, 2010

Our daughter drove to the mountains of North Carolina a few months ago to attend a session at Penland School of Crafts. Since she was a bit of a girl, she has always been a creator, a maker of lovely things.

We’ve never pushed our kids toward college, never hung that one expectation on them. But we’ve always encouraged them to “go deep” while they can, when they are young and unfettered. To dive into whatever they choose to do and see how many fathoms they can go.

Our daughter has found artists wherever she has gone. She has kept busy making things, but earning a living has necessitated the kind of divided life that so many artists live. Maintaining relationships, juggling jobs, scraping by, but never truly going deep.

I spoke to my daughter one night when she was at Penland. A conversation in which she bubbled with new discoveries, the joy of creation, and the desire for more. She told me that she had even turned down invitations to two dance parties because she was having so much fun making things. I told her, “This is what I’ve always wanted for you. This immersion experience. A moment in your life where you have permission to go as deep as you want.”

And it’s true. To my mind, that non-religious immersion is like a baptism into new life. In going deep and laying aside our responsibilities to create, we emerge as new creatures.

A nice thing… the evolutionary force of creative immersion.

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2 Responses to “Going Deep”

  1. mattpaw said

    You are a fine mother.

  2. Dale said

    Our parental mantra (and avuncular too, for that matter) was, following Joseph Campbell, “follow your bliss.” One thing we liked about that is its implicit recognition that bliss could change, giving the follower the right to switch activities. I like yours too, which I contains ours: going deep is only possible if the pursuit is blissful. Congrats to your daughter for getting in a position where she could do both. And to her parents, for planting the seed so she could do so.

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