Doorways and Doubt
“Every doorway offers the opportunity to leave something behind and to discover something new.” – Fred Swan, 2006
I wrote this phrase around the door jamb of my studio nine years ago. I walk through the doorway and past the phrase every day. In the press of life – once I had written the phrase around the door jamb – I seldom noticed it. Four years ago, in a single moment, my life changed and when I was able to walk through the door of the studio once again, I truly appreciated, for the first time, the meaning and value of my own words.
I once talked with the wonderful songwriter and singer Jennifer Warnes. She called me unexpectedly one Sunday morning and generously gave me her personal permission to use lyrics from her song, Prairie Melancholy in my book. During our conversation she said, “Words are not ours. Words are out there waiting for us to find them.”
I think about Ms. Warnes’ statement and the passage I once wrote around my door. I look at the words now. They are goods words. They are words that came through me; words with meanings waiting to be found.
It is odd how as artists we can sometimes create something we can feel and recognize – in the moment or eventually – as good and not know where the stuff of it has come from. It’s odd how it just shows up, how it lands on your canvas or the jamb of your door, on the strings under your fingers, on the paper under your pen, on the floor beneath your feet, on the fabric you’re piercing with a needle, in the scent of the dough under the press of your hands, on the edges of your lips at the rise of your breath. The colors, the words, the sounds, the movements, the flavors, the patterns, the poems – they just show up and it is hard to realize this is the real you and for a moment you are not the imposter you felt that you were the day before, the day when your mind was blank, the day when your muscles and your thoughts were filled with the doubts of self-expectation, the day you were not able to internalize a belief in your own talent – in your own skills.
I continue to attempt to shake off the remnants of doubt. It’s taken me a long time to do this. There are necessary baby steps for even by a person like myself who has lived a very long time. It’s not just about art. It’s about life and relationships and hopes and beliefs. No matter how far you’ve journeyed, doubt and hesitation can hide in every corner of your day. I hope that some of you will join me at 2nd Tuesday from time to time and that together we can we can learn how to leave some things behind in order that we can make room for the discovery the new things ahead – the words, the sights, the learning, the opportunities waiting to be found on the other side of every door.