What am I doing, here?

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I am back to blogging after an absence due to extreme workload on all fronts: costume design projects coming out my ears, an art residency that is ramping up for a group show, teaching a ton, and school work (I am finishing my degree with the LEAP Program). But now I am back, and if you haven’t sensed it yet, there is a quiet revolution going on here at Dd, of which there will be more details soon.  Which leads me to this question, “What am I doing, here?”

I first heard this question used in positive abundance when I was at NYU in 1999.  I went to a talk given by Philip Seymour Hoffman at the Stella Adler Acting Studio.  It was an intimate affair with about sixty excited students packed into a blackbox theatre to hear their favorite indie (at the time), character actor talk about his artistic process.  And while I am sure he must have said many profound things of which I have forgotten over the last decade, the thing that has stuck with me all this time is this moment of personal and character inquiry:

“What am I doing, here?”

This was question he asked himself over and over again in his chair, to demonstrate how he dealt with acting in a scene. In hindsight, what seems so important to me is the “here”.  Not just “what am I doing”, but “here”, in this moment, in this place.  The “here” is constantly changing for us all, we can’t stop time, and so this simple, repetitive line of questioning is interesting and clarifying to me.

I could bore you with the details of my busy past, but instead I would rather just appreciate my present:  I am blogging in Brooklyn, at my art studio at the Textile Arts Studio in Gowanus, which is filled with buttons I am making from my grandfather’s clothing and costume sketches I just finished for a flamenco company in Philadelphia, listening to the new Wilco album, The Whole Love, which will remind you, in case you need reminding, of why Jeff Tweedy is the best songwriter of his generation, planning my week, wondering about Occupy Wall Street, and feeling glad to have this moment to breathe and think.

 

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Showing 3 comments
  • Stephanie
    Reply

    First of all, I am going to take a moment to marvel in the brilliance of Jeff Tweedy with you. I saw Wilco YEARS ago in Duluth, MN. It was an outdoor concert, with Lake Superior as the backdrop. To this day, it is the best concert I have ever been to. He’s an artist through and through.

    Secondly, this post really resonates for me as well. I’m such a proactive, overly-ambitious individual that sometimes I get way ahead of myself and am not savoring in my present. Dancing gigs, prepping for the GRE, grad school, homework, blah blah blah . . . it’s all exciting, but it’s not happening right now . . . at this moment . . . as I sip on a delicious cup of green tea. I’ve been doing 20 minute yoga podcasts each day to help me find my present.

    Thanks Candice for this little reminder that “here” and “now” are just as important and the future.

    Now to take a moment to look to the future, . . . big things in store for Dd indeed! : )

  • Carrie smalley
    Reply

    Candace!!! It’s been a Long time!! But I just read your post on facebook was was brought to your blog! Just wanted to say hello and tell you that when I was living in NYC, I did art teaching residencies for LEAP! It is such a fantastic program. It profoundly affected the way I teach little kids to make art. It was the best job I had while in NYC as I was able to give art and love to children who so desperately needed it! I am not sure what degree you are earning with this stellar program but I am sure you are going to contribute so much love for dance, costume and design to those around you! I am happy I know about your blog and will check in frequently!
    Kindest regards,
    Carrie Smalley

  • candice
    Reply

    It has been way too long but it is so good to hear from you Carrie! (By the way, I have been looking at your wedding pics and they are gorgeous–congrats!)

    I have a feeling the LEAP I am talking about, which is a NYC based program for professional dancers finishing their degrees ( http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/leap ) , is different from the LEAP you are talking about, but I actually want to know more about your experience and what you did because I have a feeling it is of huge interest to artists I know! Was it it this program: http://leapnyc.org/

    How did you get started with it? What brought you to it?

    xoxo
    c

    And Steph–yes, keep staying present, it is an impossible but worthy task;-) for all of us insane, freelance multi-taskers.

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