Friday, March 16, 2012

Start anywhere . . .

Where to start?

The fourth maxim of improvising is “Start anywhere.”  I have always seen this instruction as liberating.  If it does not matter where we start then we have no excuse not to get going.  Pronto.  What I’ve realized is that the word anywhere can be daunting.  It may even backfire.  If I can start anywhere then I have the entire field of possibility to consider.  Oh dear.  Instead of helping the improviser to simply jump in and begin the task it may provide a further dilemma.  Too many options may stymy action. 

Perhaps the better instruction is “Start where you are.”  This narrows the field and focuses on what is right in front of you.  It invites you to look around your environment or examine your current thought/preoccupation and begin with that.  Starting where you are requires that you notice where you are physically and mentally.  It takes into account doubt, confusion, bias . . . even the temperature of the room and the fact that you ate too much for lunch.  Start where you are. 

Check it out.  If I asked you to begin writing now answering the question:  “Where are you?”  I am confident that it would get you going.  So start where you are.  But start.

1 comment:

  1. I put off so much, I make a few notes and then figure that I'll write more later. But then I started to write (and let myself write) as soon as I have the inspiration and the mood. It's kind of nice because often when I do so the words flow and the process of writing becomes quite joyful.

    I think that's an example of "starting where I am."