I heard this phrase in a Jon Bellion song, off his rocking, weird new record Glory Sound Prep:
I left LA just to cook in Brooklyn, the winter's reaper
Winter is tough, especially for this California girl. It’s my 9th in NYC, and my first in Brooklyn after moving to Williamsburg this summer. I’ve intentionally left the calendar pretty blank for a few months, to hole up in winter’s quiet, dig into home turf, clear excuses and distractions from the struggle of creative projects that need creating. Been thinking about (proving!) Stephen Pressfield’s little book The War of Art, on the relationship between art and resistance. It’s proportional. The deeper in the heart a vision, the more necessary the work, the stronger our resistance to it. So, as our girl Anne Lamott says, it’s time to ‘apply the butt to the chair; give ourselves permission for shitty first drafts.’ Give ourselves something to work with. To wrestle with. Something to revise.
Want to know what these long nights are for?
They’re to be wasted. Spent slowly on the work, the people that are calling you heartward. That old French word amateur has its roots in love. ‘Amour.’ For the love of it. These long winter nights are for investing time in the economy of depth. The slow, faltering work—in the gym, on the canvas, across the table—of foundation, of trust. It’s what the explosive fruition of spring is built upon.
So I’m staring at piano keys with a beginner’s mind. At a microphone, and a notebook full of podcast notes. At a yoga mat asking to be laid out for new moves, in an unconventional space.
It’s so intolerably uncomfortable. I want to escape in a hundred different ways. But something deeper wants to wrestle with the blank canvas. Wants to fail into creation, into discovery. Wants to risk something interestingly imperfect, something en route, some process too delicious to rush, some work to be savored, spells too strong to be broken by completion, efficiency.
Don’t waste this season, my friends. Which is to say, waste this season. Take this extra space and quiet, these longer nights, this time inside to engage in the foundational work you’ve been resisting, that parallels the hidden formation—deepening roots, dying seeds— taking place around us in the natural world.
Reap this time. Cook long and slow. Fail forward. Shitty first drafts. Then let them simmer. Integrate. Come back again. Revise. Let it all happen in winter’s quiet underground.
Who knows what could sprout.