About twenty years ago, Bill Moyers had a series on PBS called Language of Life. The series showcased poets from a wide and diverse range of backgrounds. When I first viewed this series so many years ago, I discovered that poetry was meant to be heard — and even watched– not merely read. I was able to find this series recently on DVD. My artist’s date this week was to binge-watch this series again while home recovering from a bad cold. Unfortunately, there are not many clips on YouTube from this series. Fortunately, though, one clip I did find is of the late poet Sekou Sundiata performing his lyrical and powerful poem “Blink Your Eyes”. I want to share this poem with you. Hopefully you can hear what I hear and enjoy it:
Between my day job, personal obligations, and daily chores and administrivia, I do not often get a “day off,” a totally unstructured day where I just go with the flow and do whatever I want, whenever I want. I was able to have such a day.
- I turned off my alarm and woke up naturally this morning.
- I enjoyed a slow cup of coffee and did some journal writing.
- I then spent some time in the library just goofing around the way I used to do as a kid.
- I then spent some time in a bookstore just golfing around the way I used to do as a teenager.
- Not far from the bookstore is an old fashioned stationary store, surprisingly tucked inside a Japanese supermarket. I played around with their pen selection and bought one specifically for journaling.
- I stopped at an Indian takeout restaurant for a couple of samosas. Oh my.
- I decided I needed a bit of exercise so I went to the mall, of all places, and walked from one end to the other and back. Of course I had to stop and try on hats. No I did not buy any this time.
All of this was just a prelude to what I really wanted to do today: I wanted to join a drum circle. I have been thinking about it for a while but I was a little intimidated. Did I play well enough? How friendly with the members be? I worried for nothing. I had a blast!
This weekend, partly because it was cold and partly because I was having a bad hair day, I wore a hat to a tea and then to church. I donned a black wide-brimmed hat I had purchased on a whim last year but never had the nerve to wear. To my surprise I received a number of compliments. Curiously, many were from people at church who had hardly ever spoken to me in the past. I have to admit that my steps gained some confidence and I stood a bit straighter as a result.
The next day as I was working in my journal on the theme of regaining a sense of personal power (chapter three in the Artist’s Way) my writing sequed to a stream-of-consciousness discussion of hats.
What? Well, it did not take long for me to see the symbolic connection between hats and power. I wear a hat like a queen wears a crown, perhaps? Hmm.
So, I took my inner artist, who is need of a little confidence-boosting, on a date yesterday and we went hat shopping. No, I’m was not the Dowager Countess shopping for a tiara — just an ordinary creative looking for a really cool red fedora.
Ljg (c). 2017
Chapter 2 of The Artist Way deals with recovering a sense of identity and the drawing and reinforcing of boundaries around that identity. I think this was put into action in my second artist date.
My date last night consisted of spending a few hours tidying up and re-organizing the corner of my bedroom that serves as my office/studio. Recently, I have been writing and blogging in my living room or spreading out a canvas in front of the television and making art there. In this second week of the program, I already sense that I was not giving my writer/artist identity enough respect, and by re-organizing my “creative corner “I am re-dedicating and sanctifying it as place to my writing and art. I will return to creating in this space with as little distraction as possible. Below, through the images, I’d like to take you on a little tour of that space.
Before I do that, I would like to note one curious thing. I noticed that the books on the shelves are a weird, eclectic mix of topics: Poetry, art techniques, writing, feminine spirituality, energy medicine, holistic health and Chinese medicine, and on the very bottom shelf behind my journaling supplies are books from my childhood and youth. And to confuse things even more, there are some odd books on household management, belly dance, drumming, and geography thrown into the mix. The books and their ordering reflect those areas that inform my identity as a creative person, with the bottom shelf the foundation in my childhood of many influential interests. If this bookcase was an art installation piece I would entitle it “Self Portrait in a Three-D Literary Experience.”
Without further delay, here is my creative corner:
ljg (c) 2017
The purpose of an “Artist Date” is to refresh and recharge the Creative’s spirit. Yesterday’s visit to Motherland Music did just that. I had a couple of other reasons to visit this particular place on my “date”. First, I wanted to get a proper mallet for my frame drum, but I also wanted to check out their weekly drumming class. I liked what I saw and intend to take this course sometime in the coming months.
The “artist date” also serves to provide fodder for subsequent creative works. In my case not only did I get inspired to practice on my drum at home that evening, but it also drove me to engage in some photography and videography which I have never done on my smart phone. (There was a learning curve involved here. 🙂 I also taught myself how to use YouTube’s Video Editor to make this short video below.
Altogether, a very successful date .
Ljgloyd (c) 2017