The Atelier

A vintage dance video reminded me of a friend today. She is an artist and a dancer, so I shared it with her on social media. We have known each other a long time and discovered along the way that we share a similar core beliefs system and creative yearnings. After the video, we talked of inspirational sources and collaborations, and she mentioned a thirst for participating in an atelier.

We mentioned Florence during the Renaissance period, and Paris in the 1920s. We found quickly that we were both currently reading about keeping “creative company” and both reading about Paris in the 1920s. I had been reading Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast," and Philip Ziegler's biography of Diana Cooper. My friend was immersed in a biography of Man Ray. How odd, I thought, that we should be together separately in another century and country across the sea searching for inspiration. Serendipity.

A passage from “A Moveable Feast” immediately came to mind as we discussed a fear of losing our inspiration to the demands of daily life: “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Hemingway also wrote, “I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to do it.”

My friend and I pledged to be an inspirational nudge for each other to prevent future creative regrets for unfinished works. A virtual atelier of sorts.

With whom do you discuss ideas? Although solitude is often necessary to develop creativity, conversation and collaboration can foster artistic growth. A modern-day muse is merely an email away.

Image: "Atelier of Academie Julian," Jefferson David Chalfant, 1891.

And here's the dance video mentioned earlier: