All Rivers Flow to the Sea
It’s really important to pause.
Pause the movie so you can have a pee break/make a cup of tea.
Pause the game so you can re-remember the rules.
Pause the argument so you can gain a bit more perspective.
Pause in musical statues, because that’s the game, and that’s what makes it fun/tense.
A pause in a composition makes you anticipate the next step, keeps you engaged.
‘Taking pause’ because something big and important has happened and you need some time to think.
Pause to catch a breath because the view is so beautiful.
Pause because you hear a noise and you need to figure out what it is.
Pause because you misread the map and need to look at it again.
A brief pause in the rain.
A brief pause in a speech.
A brief pause in a long distance race.
Pause because it’s the only action left to take.
A provocation to pause, Part 1:
Put a halt on your making process, just for a wee while. That means, give yourself a minute to stop trying to make your piece, and give yourself permission to enter reflection mode, because reflection doesn’t only happen at the end of a process, it has to happen the whole way through.
Boil the kettle, make a cup of tea.
Take a piece of paper, at least A3 if you can. Take a pencil/pen, whatever feels comfortable drawing with. You might also need a rubber.
You are going to imagine that the process of making your piece, including all the research, all the theory, all the practical exercises, all these blog entries, can be depicted metaphorically as a river.
Like a river flows, so does your process. Sometimes we know where it’s going and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we choose to be swept up in its flow, and sometimes we don’t because the waters look too rough, too deep, too cold. But rivers run, even when we would rather they wouldn’t. And rivers are amazing things, life giving, mythic and mysterious. And just like they say of rivers, that you can never step into the same river twice, the same can be said of processes. Because they are live, and constant, and ever changing, and even if you decided in the future to step into a similar process again to the one you are on now, it is you that would be different so the process inevitably would be too. That’s why it is important that we take note, reflect and map where we’ve been.
So. Here we go.
Using your pen/pencil and your paper, draw your river in as much detail as you can, taking up as much of the piece of paper as is required. Take at least 30 minutes, but a whole hour would be better.
Think of the very start of the process. Was it in this module or did it start much longer ago, as an idea when you were a lot younger, in a different time, in a different place?
Wherever it started, begin drawing there.
Don’t censor yourself as you go. Give yourself permission to be free with your drawing, but be reflective about what the process has been like, from the beginning all the way to the point of drawing this river.
You might want to use these questions to help design your process/river:
What are the features of this river/process?
What course does it run?
Has their been turbulence?
Has their been stillness, pooling, flooding, rapids, diversions?
What grows on the banks of this river?
Does the river flow through different kinds of landscapes?
Are there islands?
Does it have multiple tributaries?
Are there any unseen sections, or underground passages?
Where is the river heading?
Once you have completed this drawing, look over it and take a moment to reflect on what your river/process looks like.
Has anything surprised you?
Does it look like you thought it would?
Is there anything you need to adjust?
Following any adjustments, keep your river somewhere safe, until you get back together again.
Provocation Part 2:
At a suitable time when next with your class mates, in pairs you are to share your river drawings with your partner.
· Take it in turns to talk each other through your drawings.
· Talk in detail.
· Take them on the journey of your river/process as you see it/have experienced it.
· Take as much time as you need.
Once you have shared your river drawing, explaining its courses and its details, your partner can ask you questions about your drawing, if they feel they don’t understand anything. Respond honestly, and take time to figure out answers if the questions are confusing or unexpected. These will help you understand the process better.
Once any final questioning has happened, swap over and repeat the process.
Provocation Part 3:
Following on from your experience of this task, the final part of this provocation is for you to decide your next steps.
Remember, rivers always flow to the sea. That is the course they will always take. It is natural, it is the only way it can be, it must happen.
Perhaps the same can be said about your processes.
Where must your process go next before it gets to its final destination of the performance?
Staying in your pairs, ask your partner where they must go next. Let your partner speak as long as they need. Make sure you take some notes for them to help them remember what they have said.
That’s the end of this pause. Time to get back on it!
Well done for your journey so far. Until next time.