One of the best decisions that I have made for myself lately is to take a poetry writing class. It is a struggle for me to be creative these days but somehow I have managed to write a handful of poems for this class that I am pretty proud of. Even better than the actual poems is the light feeling that I have whenever I leave class. It is so enlivening to share my work with other people and to talk about creativity and craft and beauty with others who love words as much as I do.
I am a little shy about sharing what I have written since I feel like I still have so much to learn but I will post a couple of them anyways. Because as I am learning, it is nice to share.
This is the first poem I wrote:
This balcony is narrow
with rungs that rattle.
I sit back and
can no longer see
what crunches the gravel below
or falls into
the pothole puddles.
is the willow tree
weeping its sap.
It is dripping on the windshield
of my car below.
Later when I drive
the sun will glare,
I will not see.
But for now I’m in my balcony cell
and the sap just looks
you can detect in the air
if you stare with a vague precision.
The leaves shiver and dance
and seduce my eye.
And there they are
so often half-acknowledged
under the flirtatious leaves.
The frame sturdy
Now a city
“I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke (from Letters to a Young Poet)
at every door
life received us,
we took part
in the earthly struggle.”
~Pablo Neruda (from Ode to the Book II)
Sebastiaan Bremer (sourced from madalynne.com)
(sourced from awelltraveledwoman.tumblr.com)
Cornelia Konrads (sourced from thisiscolossal.com)
Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth (source from squidoo.com)
(sourced from helgaandbear.tumblr.com)
Matt Wisniewski (sourced from missmoss.co.za)
First of all, it is quite obvious that I have had a bit of a block when it comes to updating my blog. This drought has basically affected all forms of writing for me. You see, writing involves a lot of thinking and that’s just not something that I have cared to do much of lately. Writing also tends to sift through a couple of layers and dig up some things that I didn’t realize I was feeling. Excavation is another thing that I have not had much patience for of late. But don’t worry! I’m coming back. Interestingly, it took me getting really sick this weekend to slow me down enough to realize that my head had filled up and floated away some time back in March. So yeah, I’d really like to find it so that I could also perhaps start using it again and that is going to take a resurgence of writing (or basically awareness and gratitude) in the form of journalling and blogging.
Second of all, I am feeling extremely blocked up on a painting that is basically due, oh, 2 hours ago. I simply cannot figure out what I want to paint. I’m supposed to create the illusion of glowiness by painting a bright saturated color over a neutral color. Fireworks? Sea anemone? Christmas lights? Glow sticks? A light up top? I think I’m just going to be super original and do some light bulbs. Since I’m in the process of procrastinating (and not getting very excited about) this project I thought I would take some pictures of a project that I did a couple of weeks ago. I’m pretty happy about how this one turned out. It was hard to get a good picture of it but here you go…
Here’s hoping for a little bit of focus and inspiration! And happy May! It seems fitting that I would suddenly wake up in the spring
First of all, I would like to finally post some pictures of the last two paintings I did for my design class. I like them quite a lot and they make me want to paint MORE.
Here is the face map portrait of Chuck Close. For the assignment I had to identify 7 different shades of gray in this guys face and map them out. The original drawing looked just like a paint by number. I really wish that I had a picture of that because it looked really crazy and I cannot believe that the semblance of a face came out of it. I very tediously filled in each little section with paint and here we have this endearing fellow with his big glasses (you know I love glasses!) and his mildly startled stare. You can’t see it very well in this picture but he is in front of a loopy seventies wallpaper. My teacher noted that he seems to be making his strange expression because he stared at the wallpaper for too long.
In this next project I was supposed to create the feeling of deep space. This project freaked me out considerably and I spent most of my time trying to figure out what the subject matter should even be. I was very much stuck on roller coasters or paper airplanes but then for some reason, at the very last second, dominoes popped into my head and stuck. I don’t often try to paint something that isn’t already right in front of me. But I surprisingly couldn’t find an interesting photograph of dominoes so this arrangement came from my head (the pattern, the lighting, the angle). It was ridiculously hard and I hated it at first. But once I got the thing out of my face and up on the wall I realized that the painting as a whole is pretty striking.
And here they are on display on my closet door. Chuck Close will forever stare at me, puzzled as to why I am not painting more.
But I plan on painting much more now. I got a wild hair this morning and rearranged my room so that I now have a painting corner! My easel is set up next to my window right where it belongs. On the shelves to the left I have a basket of magazines and visual inspiration and a box full of random art supplies. And of course it is noteworthy that my record player is at arm’s reach and my art postcards are strung about my head with clothespins and twine. On the table to the right I can spread out my paints and brushes and paint smeared paper towels to my little heart’s content. It just hit me that the only reason I don’t paint more often is because I hate pulling everything out just to have to put it all away again so that my roommate doesn’t panic about the mess in the living room. So now I can just saunter up to my easel and add a little touch to a project whenever my little heart desires! Oh joy!
My next goals for my art corner are to find a cool old stool to sit on while I paint at my easel and to start an inspiration board. Oh I am so thankful that I am finally learning how to incorporate art into my life more.
How often poetry jolts me awake when I am in a funk. This is probably because I let my guard down for the beautiful words and then they pierce me in a place that my selfish thoughts couldn’t reach. For whatever reason, I am once again eternally grateful for Mary Oliver’s greater clarity:
I believe you did not have a happy life.
I believe you were cheated.
I believe your best friends were loneliness and misery.
I believe your busiest enemies were anger and depression.
I believe joy was a game you could never play without stumbling.
I believe comfort, though you craved it, was forever a stranger.
I believe music had to be melancholy or not at all.
I believe no trinket, no precious metal, shone so bright as your bitterness.
I believe you lay down at last in your coffin none the wiser and unassuaged.
Oh, cold and dreamless under the wild, amoral, reckless, peaceful flowers of the hillsides.
This poem makes me ache. It reminds me of how tempting it is to feel a little too sorry for myself and cultivate bitterness. It reminds me of how easily I can achieve my occasional wish of being the saddest, most desolate, most deserving of pity. The greatest tragedy of all of this is in reaching this most pitiable state, I find myself quite unreachable. I’ve realized that feeling sorry for myself = complete rejection of the love and light that could make me feel better. I didn’t recognize this until I read the last line in the poem and saw the contrast of the desolate soul buried and contained and the beautiful flowers alive and carefree. The flowers represent the only authenticity in the poem and my heart longs for them. Of course, sadness is a natural, and even healthy, part of an authentic and whole life but when it becomes an identity it savors of artifice. Okay, it’s time to feel “wild, amoral, reckless, peaceful” again. Yes yes yes
Tomorrow between work and church I think I will either buy myself some flowers and make a bouquet, bake an apple pie, or work on a painting that I started the other day. Just a little burst of creative soul nurturing!