Amid the trying times of content considered “woke”, cool or relevant, we often found ourselves asking: Where can a creative go to feel safe, to express a thought freely, that may or may not be in alignment with the status quo? Where can they go to get away from conversations of the norm? To discuss much larger and pressing issues of art and artistry at hand?
We thought about it, then opted to create this space ourselves… since that's what creatives do best - create.
Welcome to The Gray Area! A place where we, as creative professionals, can congregate monthly to discuss the nuances and complexities of all that is Bahamian fine arts and artistry… because there’s no such thing as black and white art.
Hosted by multi-disciplinary artist Jodi Minnis, writer and poet Tanicia Pratt, and creative writer and arts journalist Kevanté Cash, this month’s conversation will focus on creative resolutions and vision board planning.
Kevanté Cash: Hello lovelies! Welcome to the chat room! First things first: Happy New Year! (Even though I’m still in 2018 because January is always a free trial month for me, lol). Nonetheless, how’s your year and month been going thus far?
Jodi Minnis: Happy New Year! Or at least almost New Year for you, Kevante lol. My January has been great so far; my birthday was incredible. I am also getting back into the swing of school, so everything is great.
Tanicia Pratt: Happy New Year (I don’t really celebrate the Georgian NY but this will do, lol.) This month has been pretty hectic for me mentally. Some days I felt stretched and overwhelmed, but I am happy about this month because I am definitely making strides towards my goals because: I’m FINISHING them… that’s a pretty big deal!
JM: Same, actually. I’ve made a lot of progress on a project I’m formulating, so something must be in the stars for us.
TP: Mos def. What about you, KC?
KC: For me, I’ve been… pacing myself but in full speed. If that makes sense? I wrote my vision board/plan for the 2019 year in mid-December and actually had to go back and rearrange some things just this week. Also ticked some things off the list for what I manifested in January already (that I’m actually surprised happened so quickly), but the year is going according to schedule - somewhat. Haha!
TP: Awesome! I’ve been meaning to make an actual poster. My vision board every year is basically me daydreaming and keeping a “To-do” list of book ideas or projects.
JM: Congratulations, Kevanté! I do understand what you mean about pacing yourself in full speed. It’s like you’ve been training for a 1500 meter race; you know how to breathe, you know how to build your form and all that’s left is for you to actually run. I also drafted a goals’ list/vision board right after New Year’s Day and I’m steadily getting through each item. My list is more like a full meal that I have to eat bit by bit, rather than a handful of skittles that I can just pop. If that makes sense?
KC: That makes sense though! I get it. In terms of like, speed, pace and actually manifesting what you’ve put down on your vision board and creative projects’ list, what does that process look like for you?
JM: It depends on what I’m looking to manifest, actually. I’m trying to be as vague as possible ‘cause I don’t like to speak on things before it’s time. However, I’m working on a graduate exhibition, so that requires research, not necessarily just of my work, but I need to fully investigate how my work fits into the concepts that I’m working with. It also requires writing and rewriting statements and last but not least, being disciplined about creating the work.
KC: What about you, TP?
TP: I get where you’re coming from, Jodi, in terms of the scope of work required. For me, the creative process for poetry has changed over time. Currently, my ritual is simple and strict - silence and coffee (iced if it’s hot out). This allows me to hear my thoughts and let my creative juices flow. Once I can find the words I want to say, I start writing and usually don’t stop until all my thoughts are out. After that, I spend hours editing my writing. Other times, the process can be vary sporadic, but I guess that would lead to a discussion on “creative spark”, right?
JM: I agree with you, but as a creative, discipline is our biggest asset, in my opinion. Through discipline, continuity, practice and rituals, we’re able to keep on creating. I have creative friends who keep with rule-based practices, and I don’t know. It may just be the Capricorn in me, but waiting on inspiration never helped me, chile. I would be waiting forever and ever lol.
KC: I’m definitely on the fence about having and defining an actual set process, to be real. Like, there was a time in high school and even college when I would swear by a “late night shower, bumping Rihanna (when she was a THING thing lol) and then finding the ‘inspiration’ to study or get work done” process. Now? It’s been nearly two years post-grad and my life and outlook on a “process” has definitely changed. I’ve learned to find joy in the things that just needs to get done. So while sitting by a beach and listening to the waves may inspire me to write - btw, to the people who may not necessarily know what I do, I write. Anything and everything - creatively and journalistically lol - I don’t swear by a “sitting by the waves and creating” process. You know? Because what about having to create on a deadline? Like with your art shows, Jodi and maybe having to perform something new, Tanicia, and it’s happening in like five days. How do you muster up the energy to create on a deadline? What does that process look like then?
JM: Deadlines are my friend. I am able to pace myself with them. I give myself realistic time frames and an opportunity to restart, if needs be. My practice developed within college and in college, you have deadlines, so I just use that same system now. This isn’t me saying I don’t sometimes wait until the last minute to do things, but most times when I’m being a good person, I pace myself.
TP: I humbly feel as though writers are the best at procrastinating, lol! Because we’re never satisfied with our work, we tend to take longer to muster up the courage to write. But when that procrastinative side of me starts to kick in, all of a sudden, I know what to write about (don’t try at home kids). Definitely not a good habit, but with time you grow out of it. Now, I’m very realistic with my deadlines. I give myself enough time to be inspired before writing, and I know how long it takes for me to memorize pieces to heart. At times, I would be asked to create something outside of a realistic deadline, and I would have to turn it down. I can do that now because I’m honest with myself and aware of my capabilities.
KC: I gotta agree with you, Tanicia lol. As a fellow writer, I can honestly say, procrastination is the lover you try so hard to but can’t get rid of because either the sex is too good or they can cook all too well *insert weak face emoji here* lol. Over time, I’ve learned to conquer deadlines by honestly not meeting them. So, true story: I once worked for this company right after college whose work and workload required me to meet deadlines. Like actually meet them. Not pretend to meet them by talking and complaining about them, and not actually making effort towards them. So I missed maybe 3 deadlines? - until my boss at the time called me in and was like, “you’re gonna have to get your shit together or decisions will have to be made”. I don’t work for the company anymore so that’s definitely a laughable moment, but after that I just made a vow to myself - whether professionally (journalism + PR) or creatively (short stories, prose/ poetry), I’m going to get things done two days ahead of time just to give space for self-edits and criticisms before submitting the work.
But other than being realistic and confrontational with one’s self, what performative action do you take to manifest goals on your vision board, plan or list?
JM: Although it may seem miniscule - believing that I actually can manifest them. I watch the way I speak about it and the things surrounding it. I am conscious about how I am feeling towards it and if that energy needs to change, then I change accordingly. Now, I am not saying that I am consistent with this, but I see how things change when I actively have faith in what I want to manifest. I also talk A LOT about it. I’m certain that it’s contradictory to what I said earlier, but once I have plans in motion, I start sharing. Through sharing, people of like minds or ones who may have more knowledge about the subject than me start gravitating towards me and I am able to learn from them. In addition to that, I start researching like crazy. I look up every single aspect of the project. I don’t want to run on, but that’s mainly what I do.
TP: K, omg sad but hilarious story. But yes, completing tasks ahead of time is a concept that is definitely underrated. I’m in a writers club now, and after every session I’m always like “damn, I should’ve done more edits before submitting these poems” So, even getting criticism from people within your field should be apart of the process of meeting your deadlines.
As for performative action, I just flicken do it…. I’m very scatterbrained, so there are hundreds of ideas/ visions that come to mind each day. How do I ‘flicken do it’? By writing down a to-do list of all the things I need to accomplish, then putting the fear in my head that asks, “if I die before I reach these goals, would I have lived a purposeful life?”
JM: That’s deep.
KC: Man, that deep and wide.
Emo-TP: But necessary, though! - because if you don’t remind yourself of death, are you truly living?
KC: I feel that! But, fun fact: Tanicia and I are in the same writer’s club and I can’t tell you how much of a difference it’s made on my outlook of poetic writing and I’ve only been to one meeting thus far, y’all! I’m saying that to say, apart of the creative process (or switching up your creative process, if that’s what you’re looking to do) can be surrounding yourself among like minds or greater minds than can bring yours up to par with theirs. Hardcore or performative action? Lists and sticky notes if you’re a visual person. Google Calendars if you wanna keep it environmentally friendly. But I think seeing the goal/ dream/ vision and making it plain is apart of the process you’re speaking of, Jodi, about encouraging yourself to just flicken do it lol!
JM: Yes, it’s definitely all of that. Moreso, it’s about doing what works for you. Not everyone’s creative process is going to look the same, and if our tactics or suggested tactics don’t work for you, no worries! I think in order to find what works for you, you actually have to do. I didn’t mean to rhyme lol!
TP: Watch the couplet flex, Jodz. I like what you said about believing you can do it and manifesting that energy. A lot of times I come across negative people and I’m like “Ugh! How you suppose to get anywhere with that attitude?” So now I have a repellent for pessimistic people. Everything starts with a positive outlook.
JM: I feel ya!
KC: I definitely get it. So to close the chat, I wanted to inquire about what each of you are looking forward to seeing be manifested within the Bahamian creative community in the upcoming months - in terms of anything really?
TP: I want Bahamian creatives to continue receiving national and international recognition. There’s always been a lot of talent here, so I hope that our creatives are encouraged to continue putting themselves out there.
JM: I want to see more collaborations across mediums. I want to see more of emerging artists having their first showcases and exhibitions. I’m just looking forward to seeing a new wave of creatives come into their own and start pushing for themselves on a national and international level.
KC: I feel that! For me, it’s definitely about the collaborative energy being shared between veterans and newbies, but I think also about older or, I guess, more recognized creatives taking a step back to reinvent. I don’t think that’s talked about often, but I want to see more seasoned creatives really take the time to define and redefine their art and artistry, and come back with content that you would’ve never seen coming. So, I guess something new all around? Kind of like what older music/ rap heads *eh hem Nicki Minaj* should consider doing. Lol!
TP: Hey, let’s not go there. *rrrrRrrrr* Lol! But you have a valid point K, sometimes when you’ve been creating for so long it’s good to take a vacay, upload, then join the creative conversation with a fresh perspective.
JM: I definitely agree with that.
KC: Couldn’t agree more!
Thank you for joining the chat room this month! The conversation doesn’t stop here, though. Tell us your thoughts on vision board planning and creating - do you believe them or not? Share some tips, methods and/ or tactics on what you do to manifest these goals. Put us on to something new!