Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Trying to be fueled by distraction

My son woke up today and narrated a very interesting dream. His first ever (as far as I can tell) stress dream. All the players in his eleven-year-old life were featured, and the first person character kept getting into trouble.

It got me thinking about how storytellers develop. How much is narration, how much is perspective, how much is will. My little guy is on the cusp of adolescence and pushing against everything he knows while clawing to keep safe and secure in his frame of reference. It's the hardest time to parent, because as a mother you're continually stretched between the whole roots-and-wings concept. Allow enough unstructured time for creativity and personality to bloom while staying very, very close to set the walls up just in the nick of time.

It's the main reason I moved my office back home, and I have to keep reminding myself of that.

This week I have Carson in "skateboard camp"--again, trying to straddle the line between structure and fun. Skateboard camp is a little more lax than, say, baseball camp, as noted when one of the "instructors" handed me the medical release form he should have given me yesterday. "We sort of, um, forgot."

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to keep from going upstairs for another plate of hummus and Ak Mak crackers every five minutes.

Years ago, my colleague Monica Drake and I hosted a workshop that she named "Fueled by Distraction." The idea was to harness the energy of distraction to pour into satisfying art rather than to be derailed by the myriad distractions we artists are so seduced by. (And that was before Facebook!)

Wherever I am, the tendency to jump ship on deep concentration is pulling at me--and working from home offers a whole new array of possibilities. This week though, my son is sequestered in a concrete bowl being supervised by stoned teenagers. I need to seize the opportunity and get to it. But first, another mug of microwaved coffee...

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