From Inside the Fog: Embracing the Unknown

The Unknown

In a culture that bangs the drum of “reality” so hard it drowns out dreams, where schools train more than educate, and where craft is confused for art, an artist must do the unthinkable. You must let the unknown come and envelope you.

They say you rehearse in order to forget everything the second you step on stage. There is no second act, there is only now. It’s the what if…? as an open question, lingering, enticing you to lean forward into the journey or step back with the awe of it all.

What if…? is a necessity for an artist not only on stage but within the creative process; within the daily choices of living artfully.

But the more we teach replicating rather than interpreting, the quicker we kill the question. The more we ask young artists to roll right into teaching after they graduate, the more we ignore the transformative power of asking the question.

Living in the now is one thing when you can see the path, but what if there is no path? I often hear this moment of uncertainty described as a fog.

Your art starts right here with how you choose to handle the unknown. Do you sit with it? Do you run through it, head back laughing? Do you call for others and then take steps forward together?

Whether you’re graduating, moving to a new town, or sending out resumes, you’re trying to stand upright during an earthquake as the fog rolls in. Have you felt this? Are you in there now? Blow your foghorn in the comments section, if you are.

I lived for a few watercolored years in the Lost Coast of northern California. My Type-A, Capricorn, life-planned-from-start-to-finish ass moved into the mouth of the metaphor. Almost daily, the town would disappear like Brigadoon. The fog was an entity that came and went as it pleased, grounding planes and uprooting plans in an instant. You could easily lose track of your fellow travelers, as my husband and I did. We went on side-by-side journeys into our artistry, but might as well have been on different planets for how far away we felt from each other.

My husband dropped off the map through a crevice made by an earthquake masquerading as Dell’Arte’s physical theatre training. Far below, he searched for rituals deep within centuries of art and within decades of himself. His unknown was visceral with sinkholes and no pre-dug tunnel back to the light. If he wanted to bring his future self to the surface, it would be with dirt under his nails.

In the fog, I let the unknown erase my paths to known worlds of theatre, dance, and arts education. With every inhale of the water-filled air, I felt the potential to fly or drown. I disappeared into the world of music, recording my first concept album. My horizon became visible only when I felt how the album could become a musical. Voices from my other worlds called me back out of the fog.


magical network

In the fog, we can breath in “I don’t know” and start again. In the fog, we can engage our senses, our instincts, as they override the “reality” of our gaze. In the fog, we can sit down and be fully present in the suspended liquid droplets in front of us. Suspended. How gorgeous is that? Tiny worlds of what if…? suspended all around you, each fully encapsulated.

Imagine that now. What worlds do you see suspended in front of you like weightless snow globes? Write them down. Sketch them out. Dream your path as an artist who is creating their destiny, because you can.

Would you rather explore? Good. You can still navigate inside the fog during the rumbles of a quake. It takes surer steps at first, slow and meaningful. Eyes up to your horizon—even if it’s fuzzy, it’s there. Heighten your senses to listen for guides along the way because the magic of the journey is that it’s not fully unknown to every person at the same time. The path may be invisible to you now, but familiar to a friend. Choose your collaborators wisely; ones that guide you with respectful distance and preserve the haze.

The gift of a true teacher allows them to guide a student just enough so they still explore on their own. A voice in the near distance offering support, a light slowly rotating atop a rocky coast supplying safety, and the smell of fresh bread wafting nearby promising sustenance.

When does the unknown become known? When you make choices in your art and life that resonate with your full identity. Silhouettes will emerge as the energy from your sun builds; people will be drawn closer to you the stronger you speak up.

Remember, you can’t see the path, but you are as clear as day. Sometimes that’s the scariest part, to rely solely on yourself to make the first move, not the project, the director, or the institution. You.

Your art starts right here with how you choose to handle the unknown. Do you sit with it? Do you run through it, head back laughing? Do you call for others and then take steps forward together?

There is no better way. There are only choices that feel right, that feel playful, that feel true to you.

Uncertainty can make the mundane magical again, if you playfully embrace it. We were born into the unknown where magic was the reality. Smells, sounds, and sights were all new and improbable, and yet there it was. The world you know is still there, it’s merely stepping back to allow you the space you need to imagine and create what’s not there. You have a moment, right now, to imagine a new way of looking at your world before the sun burns it off again.

I feel the rumble starting; my skin’s tingling with the chill of “I don’t know.” If I sense you inside the fog, let’s assume nothing. Let’s feel. Let’s emerge. Let’s create cultures that embrace the unknown.

(Originally published at HowlRound on Jan. 1, 2016.)

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  • laura f^Received this shirt shipped from China. It came in a package with a non-compliant European Union Treaty customs stamp on the package. Shirt had no official Disney License identification anywhere on it. Had labels with Chinese lettering on it. The material is clearly not 100% cotton as advertised. Feels/looks like a poly blend. The sizing is not American. It might be a Chinese men’s large&#44 which is much smaller than an American men’s large size. Even though it’s not as advertised and probably not a licensed Disney product&#44 which would be a serious crime. The seller refused to provide a full refund.~3|Eric B.^This shirt was horrible. The logo was cheaply printed on. It looks NOTHING like the picture. The sun isn’t yellow in the background&#44 it is red which the shirt is red also! And the best for the last… IT IS CROOKED&#44 and not like one or two degreees crooked&#44 in talking 75-90 degrees crooked. It looks like the characters are walking up hill… do not get me started on the characters what they look like.~3|Marie-Pier^cheap&#44 not from Disney&#44 not in cotton&#44 it’s scrap!!! too small&#44 very disappointed~3|Paula R^Very soft fabric. We love it!~5|Amazon Customer^Too small and not made of cotton&#44 like is says on the description. I returned this item and was only given a fraction of my money back. Don’t waste your money.~3|RB^I should have read the reviews. Everything stated above it’s real. Chinese crap inside out!~3|Amazon Customer^This is NOT a Disney shirt and it does NOT look like what it does in the picture. I would not recommend purchasing this t-shirt.~3|Amazon Customer^Shirt was TOO SMALL. This was more like a medium&#44 it barely fit me and I ordered it for my husband.~3|Amazon Customer^Poor quality&#44bad graphics&#44 small.~3|Sean Compton^Cheap Chinese crap~3|

  • DM^As noted in other reviews the fit is smaller than expected. I ordered extra large for a 34″ waist. A large size would have been too tight for my thighs. Shorts provide great compression and durability looks promising. I also ordered the matching Jersey but extra large was too tight. I returned the Jersey for a XX large. Vendor can increase sales if individual purchase of Jersey and shorts in all colors were available.~5|Mike Feldman^I’ll wear it on my 545 mile 2016 Aids/LifeCycle ride and see if it works well. I wore it once and it was comfortable&#44 but a little long for my short legs. It is good quality and you will get your moneys worth. The graphics are nice and I would recommend these to people who are longer in the legs than I am. Padding is thick.~4|gerson zarat^The material’s quality is amazing&#44 this is my first cycle’s short and i love it. I ordered XXL (XL USA)&#44 I’m size 36-38&#44 weight 250lbs and this fit me perfectly~5|LadyAzul7^Per my husband… I’m a 40in waist&#44 so per the size chart i ordered the XXXL and while it did fit in the waist it was TIGHT everywhere else. To tight that it would have been indecent to wear out in polite society. The ‘gel’ padding in the seat was also only present in the larger back pads closest to the rear&#44 all the other pads appeared to be nothing other than foam to the touch.~3|Cynderella^Best cycling shorts i have. Very comfortable&#44 lots of great padding just where i need it. I’m not a fan of red but these match my bike so I tried them&#44 and bought some blue/ black ones as well. Great price. Highly recommend these. I’m a FM&#44 not a M. My only wish is that they were a bit shorter but for the guys&#44 its perfect. Stylish print&#44 too.~5|smk03^This is one of the first pairs of cycling shorts i have bought so i dont have much to compare it to. But the fabric and stitching is of good quality aside from a pleat in the crotch area. A bit high waisted for my preference&#44 but i just roll them down once and im good. Most importantly my booty doesnt hurt!~4|Brian Mick^Sizing is fit for asian people&#44 so there just isn’t a size that fits american athletes. The size & weight chart isn’t a matrix&#44 it’s a line&#44 so it assumes a constant ratio of height to weight&#44 which just doesn’t work in this country.For example&#44 the sizing chart has a column labeled “height: 69-71 inches”. This is my height. But the weight reads “143-165 lbs”. Ok&#44 I don’t know about you&#44 but a 5 foot 10 guy who weighs 143 pounds is hysterically skinny. Add to the fact that these are bike shorts&#44 for athletes&#44 with big legs&#44 and I don’t know what I expected. I ordered a size large and it goes on but i’ve broken the elastic around both legs.Verdict: If you’re cheap and don’t want to spend money&#44 fine. These work. If you want nice bike shorts&#44 go to a real bike store.~3|Ulises S. Ambriz^The shorts fit right&#44 you just have to order the product based of the chart the product offer and not the size the product is because the short size run too small. I’m a large and I had to order class XL so the short fit me right. The quality of the product is okay&#44 you pretty much get for what you pay… They only thing I didn’t like is that in the area where that has white you can see through it~4|LVJONA^arrived on time and size fits.~5|Amazon Customer^I’m 5’8″ 190lbs got a good sized lower body and I got a Large which is a US medium&#44 could be me but I like them to be just a tad tighter. Great product still worth it.~4|

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  • Brittney Lynne^I had this Pantera shirt once before but unfortunately it got lost at the laundromat. I decided to order a new one to replace the lost one and I noticed that the “Stronger Than All” print is much different from the one that I previously had.. The back print on my previous shirt was in big letters that said “Stronger Than All” and it took up the entire back of the shirt. This one&#44 has smaller letters and doesn’t even take up a quarter of the shirt.. I am beginning to wonder whether or not I purchased a fake Pantera shirt..~3|Luis d.^False advertisement. I want a refund. Or a nother product. There was no print on the back as advertised the front print was nothing like it was advertised.~3|GT Martinez^Really thin material and it fits really small… Not similar to a Gildan type t shirt which pretty much everyone uses as industry standard… The print itself looks ok but is very abrasive when you rub your arm across it… Unfortunately&#44 I would not recommend this shirt even though Pantera is one of my favorite bands. Hot topic offers one… I shoulda went there instead…~3|sean summerville^Fast shipping. Good price. I originally got this shirt at 1 of my 7 PANTERA shows&#44 20+ years ago. Print on the back is smaller than tour shirts. My old one strecked shoulder to shoulder&#44 this one ain’t even close. Back print measures 6-7/8″ across & 8-7/8″ top to bottom. It looks kinda&#44 well not so good. Best album cover ever though..~3|B. A. Barracus^The shirt is really small and isn’t cotton. Maybe lycra? Im not really sure how to explain the printing?.. I’m not requesting a refund or exchange. After waiting 2 1/2 weeks to receive&#44 I will just chalk this up to lesson learned and have a couple of shop rags to check the oil in My car.~3|Amazon Customer^A pretty good replacement for a shirt I have had so many of I lost count. My only complaint was that the ‘Stronger Than ALL” printed on the back of the shirt is now much smaller than it used to be.~5|MAHHHHHHH^Delta Pro Weight is maker of the t-shirt I bought (at least the one sold by Old Glory). I bought an XL and it looked a little small…so I compared it to the size of another large Pantera t-shirt I have (shirt maker is Alstyle) and the XL shirt is actually smaller than the large. Not to mention the Deltra Pro Weight is a much cheaper and thinner material. Not nearly as soft as as ANY other t-shirt I have. And I have a ton… 5 star shirt but -2 for the awful shirt maker.~3|Henry M.^Mine does not have the back print and the neck is too loose. If i’d known&#44 I wouldn’t bought it~4|Jason^Good fit&#44 love the album cover and always wanted a shirt with the album cover on it. Only thing I hate is the shirt is a little on the thin side. Medium fits me well and i’m about 5 ‘ 9 – 5’10 around 120-130 pounds.~4|Brian D.^great shirt&#44 fit my son perfect~5|

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  • colleen taylor^Thin material. Way too small~4|

  • Kenny^Got one with the D.C. Tag and the logo looks stunning! Bought it to wear when I went to go see the Wonder Woman movie and I was the only guy with a Wonder Woman shirt on. It felt good~5|JBapat^I saw a few other reviews stated that their shirts weren’t DC Comics branded shirts&#44 and that the Wonder Woman logo print was of poor quality. My shirt showed up exactly as displayed in the picture. The shirt itself is good quality&#44 and the small fit as a small should.~5|Court^I ordered a size small and it fits exactly as expected that a men’s/unisex size small would fit. The quality is also what I expect (or even a little better) from a $10 screen printed shirt. It seems that other sizes are from different sellers so that might be the reason why some people have complained about this product. I can vouch for the small&#44 though!~5|NYer^DO NOT BUY. This isn’t an official DC Comics shirt. The colors of the logo aren’t the same. It’s a poorly screened copy. You can see the screen wasn’t done well as the lines aren’t straight. There are Leak-throughs. This is a rip-off sent from China.~3|Montana Diana^I work in a small hometown movie theatre and the kids love it when I dress up!!The colors are bright!!!It is very long&#44 more like a night shirt&#44 but I just cut it to length. I can’t wait to get my WW shoes to go with this.I haven’t washed it yet to see how that goes&#44 but I’m careful with my ‘valuables’. LOL~4|Sarah H. Trombley^it works!~4|Amazon Customer^14yo uses for Halloween. She was too cool for the costume&#44 but loved the shirt!~5|PBoren^It was a present for my daughter and she loved it.~5|JT^Very disappointed! The picture showed an original DC Comics shirt so I ordered 3. Instead&#44 I got 3 Gildan shirts with Wonder Woman logo. The shirt is low quality – not soft and comfortable and it stinks!~4|crystal^Kept changing date when I was getting it was rude and size way too small . Will not order from this group again.~3|

  • Jake M Mendelson^Very poor quality shirt. The print is low quality with faded colors&#44 It wrinkles as soon as you take it out the the dryer&#44 and the shirt does say Tycho underneath the image which is not shown in amazon’s image of the shirt. I’m disappointed ):~4|Amazon Customer^Awesome shirt &#44 a little small on me~5|Amazon Customer^I’m 5′ 9″ and 190lbs and bought a Large. It fit perfectly and looks great. Color is true to the image and the material is standard&#44 not cheap.~5|Noah D Helmick^After arriving very late&#44 I received a cheap Chinese knock off. The graphic on the shirt is very a blurry&#44 faded&#44 sprayed on version of the original that is also much smaller. So disappointed.~3|Amazon Customer^The size was definitely tailored towards “extra slim fit”. I ordered a medium and it fit like a small. Recommend buying the next size up~4|Takuma Katagiri^I got the wrong shirt in the mail after it being over a week late… Please make this right~3|

  • Fred Davis^A nice hatband to dress up my favorite old hat. It dresses the hat up nicely. But pay attention&#44 the attachment pins (actually hooks) are very sharp. In spite of knowing this&#44 I managed to hook the heel of my hand…Dooh! It came in on time and was just as described.~5|redhawks2^Too small does not fit like it should. In order to get the band to have the same width all the way across the front&#44 the connectors have to mate at the back of the hat and not on the side as is traditional. Not worth the money. And&#44&#44&#44the band is much more green than it is Khaki. Pretty much a failure all around.~3|Amazon Customer^Too tall&#44 but I folded down one pleat and it worked just fine.~3|pom in L.A.^This band did not work at all&#44 it is not tapered. For me it was useless&#44 i guess it may fit other hats.~4|Travis A.^worked great! it was just what i wanted and the color was just right for my hat that i have!~5|Yola^It was a perfect fit for my husband’s Tilley’s hat . It looks very nice and stylish.~5|M. Champion^I got this to spice up an outback hat that I have and it doesn’t quite fit it correctly. It does have built in pins at the ends to hold it in place&#44 it could use a couple more along the length to make it more correctly fitted to a variety of hats. I also got this in black&#44 this one isn’t quite as long as the black&#44 and the inner end isn’t as well put together on this one as the black one was.~3|Jeffrey S Amburgy^It is supposed to be a brown&#44 looks like old vomit green. Not even close to the photo color. It’s crap. Yeah for me I get to make a trip to the UPS store because they liked.~3|BLB^Ok Quality.~4|Doctorbyday^Adjustable but it is pleated and can get a bit sloppy looking as pleating can come unfolded.~3|

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