understanding the process

At 2:33 am tonight, I had an epiphany whilst picking dried Elmer’s glue off my fingers. I finally understood the process.

I’m sitting looking down at my remediated assignment.

The initial idea was to take my repurposed essay and turn the concept into a magazine collage. Middle school was my collage-making peak and I missed the feeling of cutting ‘n’ pasting, forming new contexts around images, from snapshots that used to mean something else.

I entered my night of art with a few boxes and arrows, an outline of sorts of what I imagined for my large poster collage. As I flipped through the latest issues of GlamourWomen’s HealthCosmo, Lilith, and The New Yorker (my roommates’ interest spread as wide as the sea), I snapped out this photo, that string of words. I’d cut something out that I wasn’t sure would fit what I had in mind but that seemed somehow . . . right. I had a sense of trust in whatever was taking over me.

Next step was to dive in to the placement of images and words. After a period of shifting things around, I started to see what was forming, and it seemed like it was almost beyond my control. I didn’t think that what I had before me was what I had envisioned, yet it was working. Then I’d have a blank spot that needed to be filled and to remedy this I’d flip through a few pages of the closest publication. Aha, the words ‘where integrity is’ and those speech bubbles. Now this could be cool, I thought.

This felt similar to writing but stranger. As with a writing assignment, it helps to have an outline, to have a clear map of where you’re going. I know it makes for smoother writing, and with less hurdles to jump over in the middle. But that usually isn’t how I’ll approach an essay. Whether it’s for lack of time or trying, I don’t usually go at it with an outline. Writing for me is often about a word, phrase, thought, or experience that will inspire me– as happened tonight. I thought, this is something I need to write about, something I want to remember. So I jotted a few notes down on one of those inserts inside Glamour asking for a renewed subscription and rushed home before I lost the inspiration.

I realized though that with anything you need a backbone to stick with no matter what seemingly genius idea hits you. It may seem good to run with at the time, but any solid piece of writing, art, or music needs a foundation of integrity. I appreciated the process of creating tonight. Maybe I’m a visual learner, all I know is the process was clearer to me than with an essay. The proof laid right before my eyes.

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