Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I swear these four letter words are bad!

Four letter words often stop us in our tracks, or they used to anyway. There are three four-letter words that are so common nowadays that we do not realize how often they stop us completely. Caution….I am going to print them here…..the three words are:”don’t”, “can’t” and “won’t”. Okay, I know they are contractions so probably do not count at real four-letter words, but the use of them is just as bad, right?

Spoken four-letter words are not a good thing, texted four-letter words are not even four letters, reduced to two or three letters (so if your initials are WTF, I feel sorry for you), and written four-letter words just look awkward. I am referring to those words most thought of when someone says “four-letter” word. The three words I mentioned above however can be just as demeaning, detrimental and offensive to creative people.

For example….”I don’t want to do that; it may ruin the good part”. We sometimes save the precious part of a drawing at the expense of making the whole drawing better by not trying something different and risking the outcome. “It won’t work, I have tried it before.” Good thing that philosophy did not affect our greatest inventors or we would still be cave drawing right now. “I can’t do that, I am not good at it.” I hear this one in the classroom. The mystery to me is why the connection is not made between doing something a lot so you can get better at it. Students relate that concept to their personal lives rather well, (insert innuendo here) but when it comes to developing artistic skills, some kind of roadblock shows up. We are all guilty of such phrases though, swearing we will do better next time.

On the contrary, negatives can be combined to make a positive as in “don’t say that, we can’t air it, the FCC won’t allow it”. So when judgment is properly applied, there are some good things to be found in the bad words as well. Bottom line, toss out those four letter words anytime you enter the studio, be it mentally or physically. Swear an oath (4) to draw (4) upon (4) your (4) soul (4) for an idea (4) every time the creative process strikes. Give (4) back (4) to others, the world we as artists see inside, a place that can be shared only through our tangible creations.

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