Today was the beginning of the SITS Problogger Challenge, and the assignment is to encapsulate what my blog is about. One thing I learned in my previous life as a poet and teacher of creative writing and composition is that what you think you are saying and what you are actually saying are often two different things. Maybe you have had the experience of writing something, or making art, and putting it away and coming back to it a few months later, and it looks entirely different to you. You see things.
Megan Auman over at Crafting an MBA has a cool post about your story being valid no matter what. She’s a jeweler who got a degree in jewelry, and she assumed that was prosaic. But then she tells how excited she was to discover you can go to college to learn metalsmithing, and only one of two people in her class to get this degree. I remember when I went to graduate school in creative writing, and like Megan, felt apologetic for being a poet who got a degree in poetry. In fact there was a whole school of criticism of MFA programs, declaring them homogenizing and bland, and arguing that only craft can be taught, not how to write. “Well crafted” was an insult to hurl at a poem.
The turning point in my story came when I realized in my mid-30’s that I wanted to make visual art. I knew I loved making things, but assumed that was irrelevant. I didn’t think of myself as an artist. I thought of myself as a poet who spent most of her time avoiding writing poetry. This is such a familiar narrative of writers’ block, that I assumed I just needed to try harder, especially since other people told me I was good at poetry, therefore of course I should write it. But I voluntarily make mosaics. My husband, partner in art and love, calls me the “Mosaicing Mad Woman of Lansdale.” It’s not that I don’t meet obstacles of perfectionism and procrastination, but they are not my sole focus.
So what is this blog about? I am taking my best guess here. I’m sure this will evolve, but for now, I see
- Mosaics. I love their capturing of light, how they change every time I look at them, and I learn more about the nature of illumination, and the beauty of the creation of our hands.
- Hidden history. Artists, often women, creating amazing work which lays in wait for us to discover, and our own hidden selves waiting to be illuminated. What we love is relevant to our lives.
- Mending of brokenness. I am drawn to art as healing.
What do you see? I’d love to know.
From the Attic:
Love everything about your post. I don’t know what you mean when you posted on Blogfrog that you’re story isn’t interesting. I love what you’re doing and where you’ve been. I’m definitely a fan already!
Your mosaics are beautiful and I think that mosaics are like many of us…always looking different in different situations. All of our lives are mosaics and sometimes they are simple and go together very quickly and other times they are very complicated and fragile. Hope you have a wonderful week, fondly, Roberta
TRR–thanks for your encouragement!
con-tain-it–what a lovely summation of mosaics as a metaphor! Thank you for sharing that.
I love your choice of words: “what we love is relevant to our lives.” As someone who battles perfectionsism, procrastination, and devaluing the simple things I also get the most joy from, this give me heart. There is poetry in you visual work, most certainly.
This is such an interesting post to me. I feel like I’m moving in the opposite direction. I’ve been typecast as a visual artist all my life and have accomplished a good deal in that arena. I’ve also spent a lot of time “avoiding making visual art” unless I have external motivation. I have a very wide streak of procrastination regarding working in the studio. Since I started my blog in January, I’ve felt very free and simply enjoy the writing process and relating it to the visual arts and, of course, farming. I love to see relationships and make connections.
Your post encourages me that I can change direction, even at 55 years of age. My college art profession told me that artists don’t really do their best work until the 50’s anyway. And I personally don’t believe that anything is wasted.
I’m very glad that my post resonated with you! And how wonderful that writing your blog has become an enjoyable process of making connections! Like you, I believe that nothing is wasted, that creativity manifests in many forms, and flows into different channels, and once I had the hope that I could actually do what I loved, that it wasn’t “wrong”, I felt a burst of creative energy.