Friday, March 17, 2017

Minding My Muse 05: Does That Count?

I work my way through a writing notebook from six months ago containing responses to the writing prompts Priscilla Long calls “Questions to Contemplate as You Continue Your Practice.” These prompts close each chapter of Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators. I share my unedited responses as a tool for revisiting my writing process, a six-month checkup of sorts.

Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 33
“What artworks might you study outside the traditions of your own artform? If you are a visual artist, what could you do with the shape of a sonnet? If you are a poet, can you write a painting?...”

September 2016
I tried to teach myself perspective, tried to learn to sketch, but I got frustrated and gave up. I’d like to try again, take a class. Or maybe I should just play at it, try to imitate Rivera or Kahlo, use art to take me back to Mexico. A bouquet of Calla Lilies or a concrete block apartment building with coffee can tomato and chili plants on the roof top. Maybe I should try color. Maybe a class. When? Where? I will copy the Mexican artists to try to re-enter the world I left behind. I like that idea. With or without a class.

Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 33
“What traditional forms within your own domain might you return to, not to recreate old forms, but to explore the relevance of their moves to your new work (in painting, for instance, you might return to painting on a square canvas or to dripping paint or scraping it; in poetry you might try the pantoum or you might try working in couplets).”

September 2016
I will do a Mexico abecedarian, maybe two. One about Mexico, only descriptive. The other autobiographical. This/these would be fun, challenging and also serve to pull up memories.

I will also write an old fashioned letter once a month. I wrote a lot of letters when I lived in Mexico. Maybe beginning this tradition once again could reconnect me with the past. If nothing more, I might give surprise and pleasure to those I write to.

March 14, 2017 Update
I’ve done no drawing or painting, though I did buy one of those adult coloring books I play with now and again. Does that count? I’ve also written a few letters, though I haven’t met my monthly quota. Still, I found the inspiration to keep writing which was my goal when reading Minding the Muse. The writing prompts above are from the fourth chapter: Finding and Reinventing Forms. While I am not drawing or painting, nor am I doing abecedarians or monthly letter writing, memories of my lost Mexico years are surfacing in color and image, and I’m rereading old letters and journal entries from three decades past.

Prior posts in this series: