Tuesday, September 25, 2007


For as long as I can remember, I have had this mental block about art. In First Grade I once lost recess because I couldn't color completely in the lines. I deeply did not care about coloring, and doing it quickly and sloppily seemed the best way to get the ordeal over with. Again, in Sixth Grade, we were to come up with an original concept for a yarn art project, pasting yarn onto a black cardboard square. I did something I actually cared about, a depiction of Michael Nesmith's green wool hat and purple sunglasses. But again I was in too much of a hurry, was not careful enough, left too much space between yarn loops and had too much black space showing. I got a C on my cared-about creation. Then of course there was the time in my life that I "dated" (for lack of a better term) an artist. I remember going to art galleries where people were paid big bucks for large square canvasses glopped with thick red paint. "Even you could paint that," he quipped.

The mere word, "art", has left me with a yucky taste in my mouth.

But recently I have realized something: I am an artist!

Forget any medium that can be seen; that's not for me. I realize my two artistic avenues are words and music.

I suppose that should not be such a huge revelation, but just like the issues I've had with math, the issues I've had with art have gotten me fixated on the visual. Even though I am arguably the best finder of lost objects in this household (exception made for St. Anthony, but I don't think he actually resides here), I am not a visual person. I sense clutter, but I don't see colors or shapes or patterns, or at least they don't interest me much to the extent that I do see them.

Others, like Donna, write about getting lost in artistic creations. I have been realizing that I can similarly become swept away when I am writing (hence some rather long posts sometimes), or when I am listening to or playing music. I was listening to some CL music the other day shared with me by dear Suzanne, and I thought of the words of a Rich Mullins' song: something to the effect that your heart can get so hot inside your chest it is like it will burst with yearning. That is what art does, isn't it? Allows you to touch beauty so that you are moved, inwardly? I realized it isn't only the words of a song, but it is the melody, how the guitar is played, how the voices interact; it is beauty that moves me beyond words.

Perhaps it takes an artist to appreciate art. I know that my own musical talents are limited. I can play in a certain style, and that's it. I have no classical training; heck, I have no training, period. No jazz training, no soul, no folk, no rock training. "Frunk" is what I called it as a teen; I thought my style was a mixture of folk, rock and punk. The "punk" was just thrown in because it was the '80s, I think.

Writing as an expression is something I have worked at since I was able to hold a pencil. It is a bit harder to think of writing as artistic expression, because I also use it to create grocery lists or blast off a quick email. I think I need to explore writing poetry. What has stopped me there is this sense of poetry as so impractical. It is my left brain calling out, trying to reign the rest of me in. "What good is it?" the analytical recesses shout.

I have a minor in Philosophy. An aspect of my undergraduate Philosophy studies that sticks with me powerfully is how, in my Intro. class, my professor summarily skipped over the section on Beauty and Aesthetics, making a five-second comment about how we weren't going to bother with that. Talk about being scarred for life.

So, oh yeah, one more thought before my musings have me entirely swept away. (Ok, left-brain, you can stop cowering in the corner now.) Cindy mentioned recently on the Unschooling Catholics list the annual Nanowrimo challenge. November is "Write A Novel In a Month" month. Seeing as how I will turn 40 during this year's challenge, I am strangely drawn to this challenge. Strange, because I generally am carving time merely to blog from hours that properly should be spent sleeping. But drawn, nonetheless.


Mathochist said...

I have always thought you were quite the word artist. I'm glad you realize it! ;)

jschmeeze said...

Read JP IIs letter to artists, if you haven't already. You'll love it!