resilience and rough drafts

All the creative folks and activists I know are working so hard to keep it together in this pandemic time, in this time of uprising and revolution, in this time of ominous and terror-inducing government action against citizens. We don’t know what the next few months will hold, or what will happen in November and beyond. We don’t know when we will be able to gather again in person safely, or how many of our cultural venues will have survived when we can. It’s hard to be motivated to make art and be creative when we don’t even know how people will engage with art in the coming years.

Among the many wise words I’ve come across, Christopher Paul Jordan’s essay, 2020: The Year of the Rough Draft on Medium really struck home and offered a way to think about creative work despite all the uncertainty in our lives. Similar to Anne Lamott’s idea of a shitty first draft in Bird by Bird, Christopher suggests thinking in terms of a demo tape:

“A demo is an idea that’s ready for life. It stores the creative energy and vision in a package that can live beyond your brain, even though it may not be ready for the general public. Which brings me to my real question. What if in 2020 the only audience that matters is your audio recorder, your sketchbook, and your collaborators?
…The good news is, even if you’ve been stuck in neutral all year long, 2020’s the kind of mess where nobody studdin you. Perfectionism, Sense of Urgency, Defensiveness, Fear of Open Conflict, and Individualism are six tenets of white supremacy culture that 2020 is loudly calling us to leave behind.

Read the full essay here on Medium: 2020: The Year of the Rough Draft
Follow Christopher Paul Jordan’s art here: chrispauljordan.com

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