…blogtober day 20 :: do it for the process…
Tapping away on my iPad after dinner, Pencil in hand, I was making progress, working away on my animation, when Bear leaned over. “Whatcha doing?”. Pausing, I pulled up my work to date, explained the guidelines and the way I was creating the progression of each frame.
“EACH frame? You know there’s like tools that will do that for you in 10 minutes?”
He meant well. He was genuinely interested in my project, and was genuinely trying to help. In 16 year old boy thinking, why wouldn’t you get the latest and greatest and knock it out of the park asap? He had a point – once that would have been my thought too. What can I find that will make this process as easy as possible. He is creative in a very different way to myself – coding, and designing Minecraft texture packs, and performing arts, and creative writing. Many of his pursuits have a clear, distinct outcome that he is working towards. He is also very much a child of his era. Technology exists to make our lives easier, why would I not use it? In that moment, to answer “because I can’t be bothered learning new software” would have made me feel approximately 3000 years old listening to his youthful exuberance.
“These are the tools I have. This is the skill set I am working with. And aside from all that, the process of creating each frame is as important as the finished piece,” I explained. “It’s as much the process, as the end result.”
It may not be the most elegant solution – but it’s a comfortable one. It may not be the fastest process – but it’s a familiar one. It may not be the perfect tool for the job – but it’s the tools I had to hand.
Yesterday, I jumped on a call to record another episode of our podcast. We were discussing the development of our crafty lives, and how we’ve collected multiple tools over the years. Whilst I can’t speak to the extent of Car’s collection, my own is impressive enough to warrant it’s own insta tag (#lookAJmoretools). As a life long dabbler, if I don’t have what I need to hand, I can simply either call my mum and ask if she has one, or improvise with what I do have. Sometimes, the satisfaction of the improvisation working out successfully can be the best part of a project.
When I shared this project yesterday, I mentioned it had become much larger than expected, but that process had grown to take up much more emotional space, as well as time space. My movements are repetitive, almost meditative. Frame by frame, as I work towards my vision, I can see our land coming back to life after a deeply stressful period, capped off with a summer of drought & fire. Frame by frame by frame, I can watch my project RISE from the cloying, worrying, overwhelming days of the early pandemic. I can watch each photo shift and change, as I too learned to shift and change over that time. New habits formed, old mindsets left behind. Like everyone else, the last three years have marked me, and working on this project bit by bit, is allowing me the space to reflect on that.
This project has come to mean so much more to me, than a simple 4 second video to meet a prompt on a challenge, where it started. It’s a reflection of what we’ve been through over this time. It’s hope, of the days to come, when the news isn’t filled with plague and war and recession. It’s a reminder that every step has value and meaning as part of a larger, bigger, picture, that we don’t have to rush straight to the end. It’s a visual representation of putting one foot in front of the other. In the darkest days of the drought, as the air filled with dust and smoke and hopelessness, a saying gained traction across social media. One day closer. Each and every day that we woke, and felt the last of the grass crunch underfoot and the topsoil and tree cover of our neighbours burn our lungs, we could remind ourselves it was one day closer to rain.
For me, this slow, mindful process is reminiscent of that. It’s honouring all those days we woke up and got up and faced the day with every last scrap of strength we could muster to just keep doing the days, because the only way out of the tough times is through them. The making of this project has come to mean as much to me as whatever the end result will look like.
And so, my darling boy, I see your tech-support-as-love-language. I am deeply touched by it. But your old mama is going to do it the hard way. I’m going to do it for the process.