This is a diagram I copied out of Mitchel Resnick’s book, Lifelong Kindergarten. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how essential it is to stop thinking of our creative lives in terms of linear progress and think of them instead as cyclical, seasonal, and non-linear.
It’s an idea that’s been essential to my own practice, and one I’ve fiddled with in various visual representations. Here’s a page from Show Your Work!:
And here’s a blackout:
By now you might have noticed that the spiral is similar to the feedback loop of the Scientific Method or Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey.” What’s essential is that the spiral doesn’t have an end — it is a lifelong spiral.
This morning I watched a livestream of Resnick presenting in Reggio Emilia, the Italian birthplace of the famous educational approach. Resnick talked about how it was a visit to Reggio 20 years ago + a (fantastic) book by Norman Brosterman, Inventing Kindergarten, that brought him to the idea that the ways we learn in kindergarten should be “spread through a lifetime.” (I just got done reading The Art of Tinkering, a book from Resnick’s bibliography, which seems to me a catalog of artists who have retained a lifelong kindergarten-like sense of play.)
Thinking more and more about the spiral, I remembered a drawing I drew for someone who asked me a question about how I balanced creating and consuming:
Another endless learning spiral…