Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Where has all the blogging gone?

The lull of life has led to a dearth in writing. And, while there is always plenty to say, I haven’t found the lyrical magic to put it out there.

Perhaps stress is the best muse and mistress. That, with deadlines, comes the creative energy to put forth that which is new, interesting, exciting. Not because you wanted to, but because you had to. After all, legend has it that the design for Fallingwater occurred in one quick day, as Mr. Wright traveled to a client meeting.

I remember many a rut. And, damn, were they a pain to get out of. Sometimes, you’d crawl your way out, and find yourself with something so great, so satisfying, that you’d forget the hours wasted on nonsensical doodles. Sometimes, with time running out, you’d find yourself making do with the doodles themselves.

The design process is self-determined, at least in school. You find your way into your project though steps, missteps, and a few moments of inspiration. You may reference others, first as precedents, then perhaps as subliminal influences, as you develop your ideas. You may even blatantly pull and idea or two from something you've seen, just to get the juices flowing. All in the hopes of getting to something you can proudly call your own.

Design inspiration was lean during my first year; partly a consequence of being unfamiliar with the new world I had entered, I spent many a long day drafting variation after variation of the same thing. It was doing something while achieving nothing. But I felt productive, and that was important to me.

It was another studio meeting, another day with my professor where I showed some new sketches of the same thing and we had a quick, subdued discussion of the merits, which he had probably said several times before. Who knew at this point? And, afterwards, feeling defeated, I sat down to start again, pulling out a clean new sheet of trace, meticulously taping down its edges and cleaning off my mayline. And, as I sat before me, this blank sheet staring at me, I could do nothing more than stare blankly back.

My professor, having finished his final desk crit, walked by. He stopped, looked down at my table, then at my defeated daze, and took out a pencil. Without a word, he drew a line straight across the page, startling me.

“Never start with a blank page. Nothing is harder. If you’re stuck, better to be stuck looking at something you don’t like than nothing at all. At least it will give you somewhere to move forward from.”


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