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: