The Art of the Intermission

The Art of the Intermission

Some creative acts bubble up in the most convivial, bustling, even chaotic environments. Spontaneous and free, they spring forth with little to no midwifing or labour.

Then there are the more epic tasks: writing a book or a dissertation; painting a large canvas; delving into research. For these, we go deep, withdraw from the bulk of our external commitments, and give ourselves space to focus.

The bigger the project, the more of a retreat we tend to require.

Well, I’m not embarking on a new book (yet), but I’m about to take a brief creative retreat. My project: bringing my second child into the world.

He’s due to arrive in a couple of weeks – though goodness knows, that means he could arrive at any moment between now and a month from now – and I’m feeling my energy turning increasingly inward. I’m ready to focus on home and family for a little while – and on the sheer physical undertaking of birthing, feeding and caring for this baby.

I plan to return to work – coaching, writing, and teaching – in early May. And I’m looking forward to that, too.

But first, to savour this intermission.

In the spirit of my weekly curiosity experiments, here’s my question for you:

Where in your life do you need a creative intermission?

This could be a pause between projects, or a chunk of time to focus deeply on one thing. One thing’s for sure: it entails hitting the pause button on at least one significant commitment, to make room for another.

Is there something you long to give more time to? And if so, what would make it possible for you to dial up your commitment to it? Can you play hooky for a day, rearrange your schedule to carve out a few hours a week, buy yourself some convenience (think take-out dinners, paid childcare, etc.) to gain some creative space?

I’d love to hear your thoughts – and for some of you to join me in exploring the art of the intermission.

And I look forward to reconnecting with you soon.

Photo: Intermission film, by Don Harder (Flickr)