“Have you put into place or could you begin a daily practice of observation – even if for five minutes – of writing or sketching what you perceive with your senses, whatever is directly in front of you?” (Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 54)
I like this idea – observation, even if only five minutes – of what my senses perceive, then write or draw it. I don’t know how to draw but the attempt, even to think about an attempt causes me to see differently, see parts and angles and expressions and colors. I bought a new sketch pad and watercolor pencils yesterday at UW Bookstore. I have not yet opened the box or marked the first page. I lack to knowledge, the skill. I do not know how to make art.
But perhaps it’s about observation rather than art. No one need see my rudimentary attempts to see and sketch. I simply need to be brave enough to try.
“Do you tend to work in the same way all the time? Could you shake it up a bit, add a random element? What would a lateral move mean in terms of a piece you are working on right now?
(Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 54)
I have not been working much at all this summer. The memoir sits idle. So how would I re-enter and how would I move sideways to generate new ideas or lost memories? Color, art, music would help. Daily writing would definitely make a difference. If I get stuck, perhaps writing in other POVs – mom’s, Arturo’s, Maureen’s, Judi’s.
And then there’s the abecedarian that might generate ideas/memories, and the idea to copy Rivera’s paintings if only I could develop the skill. All these things could put my back in Mexico – place and time.
But was I even living consciously, or merely floating through, making the movements, saying the words, but somehow not fully present, not in the present, not creating real conscious memories when I lived in Mexico? I remember the French class, the ballet class. I was alone. My brain was active. So was my body. But I do not remember any of my teaching pedagogy classes, only French. So odd.
“What alternate domains (spheres of activity or knowledge) might you investigate in order to get novel ideas, structures, directions?” (Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 54)
I remember ballet and French. I remember piano and drawing in Santa Cruz. Of the four only dance gave me a sense of confidence, that feeling that I could achieve. But I remember all and they gave me something, though I’d be hard pressed to identify what it was that causes me to remember. Clearly I need to try art again – with or without classes.
Other domains to again explore that will be elements of the memoir: letters and journal. Shall I write letters again? Save the lost art in some small way? To whom? My mother's sisters? The letters would be much appreciated, I’m sure.
And the diary or journal. Perhaps my morning pages, these pages of thoughts and exercises, these are journal pages. But I also need to write about my life, about the wedding, about being the mother of the now-married daughter, the sister of a woman fighting of cancer, on the edge, not knowing what to do, how to help.
So: art, letters, journal – revisited domains of creativity to explore
Prior posts in this series: