If what Cormac McCarthy says is true, that “Books are made out of books”, then Grayson Perry is equally as accurate when he says that “work comes out of work”. He says that “Work makes ideas”, and those ideas feed back into the work. Like an eternal karmic return of creative iteration, our own work rebirths itself into rejuvenated forms and reincarnated lives. To have faith in the fervor of the work is to believe that its potency can never be contained within the bounds of a single setting, a single use, a single context, a single frame. That regardless of the application it is never exhausted. It is to believe that there is always an experiential excess that spills out and over the coterminous corners of its context, that it’s over-abundance perpetually exceeds the limits of what seeks to hold it. It is to be a panentheist. It is to believe in the transcendent immanence of the work, to believe that it inundates all that is and that it still somehow overflows exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond all that we could ever ask, imagine, or think.
Rollo May says that “the creative act arises out of the struggle of human beings with and against that which limits them.” We work within the limits of varying forms and structures, and we discover that the constraints of the forms, themselves, create the conditions for the expansion of the work by order of magnitude. Finding that these original limits of form are, as May explains, “an aid to finding new meaning, a stimulus to condensing [our] meaning, to simplifying and purifying it, and to discovering on a more universal dimension the essence [we] wish to express.“
We must willingly and purposefully look for places and ways to reuse, reinvent, reinsert, revise, and revisit past work because we must learn to recognize that the place in which the work is born may not be the place it was intended to be. Nothing is ever static. Nothing is fixed or unmoving. The content that came to life as one separate continent may be meant to drift across the span of 8799 miles of geologic time and space in order to form a more perfect union; a Pangea of love’s vast and totalizing potentiality.
The work is never disposable, never one-time use. Instead, it is ever evergreen. It never dies. It is always alive and still breathing; always evolving, iterating, reiterating, and self-replicating. The work never stops speaking, the question is are we still listening?
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