On making (and the art of paying attention)

There are times in our lives when we are fully present, sitting at the edge of the bed, feet swinging in the darkness above the morning draft spread along the wood floors, listening to the bird, listening closer to realize there is more than one bird, a flurry of bright chirp and wind song in the muddy sky. It is in this paying attention, this slowing down to listen that we practice a creative act, taking in the full of the day to reflect on images, textures, rhythm, life.

It is in these exact moments where we do not allow time to pass without willing ourselves present and engaged. That is a creative’s practice, to pay attention, to have a presence in the subtle stirring of things. And it is often in this time and in this space the creative takes a moment to make something.

Art—in any language and/or in any medium—teaches people to pay attention. That’s the secret, right there. When people pay attention, they become aware of process and the exact moments they are in. They also become in touch with larger moments, as in all of living. Paying attention is being alive. -Jack Collom

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