" ...Don't wait for inspiration. Push yourself to find the poetry lurking in the ordinary corners of a lived life."
- Dorianne Laux
i found this quote scribbled in one of my notebooks from two years ago when i re-committed myself to learning about writing. i had set my writing practice down when i entered art school. not consciously, just the case. the level of focus required for painting at the time was something i had to fight hard for. i wasn't able to flip the switch and move from thinking in terms of images to thinking in terms of phrases. now, i see they are exactly the same thing. but in school, i couldn't see that. the writing i did was either essays or acts of secret journaling. nevertheless, the call toward poetry presented itself in those forms and i read Ariel and The Journals of Sylvia Plath my last semester in school. A month or so later, i was here in wine country, waking every morning and immediately reaching for my notebook. sometimes i'd walk to the center of town where there is a lonely green bench and i'd set up my writing studio there. one day a man passed by and in the most gorgeous european accent he said "look at you! look how wonderful you are! writing like that right here! i hope you get a million dollars!" he made me giggle and blush and his wish for me was a bright, much needed encouragement right then. right then that exact minute. i needed to know that someone else saw value in the act too. still so awkward in it but so so hungry for it. two years later and i've gotten a little better. two years and i still reach for my notebook as soon as i wake up. i haven't gone down to the green bench in a very long time. maybe i should start that up again. there was a valuable innocence in it. and a valuable resistance too. an act of privacy right out in public. my humanness.
i didn't read the notebook very long. 10 minutes at the most. and it wasn't the hard events at the time that were painful to read, but rather my descriptions of myself- fresh out of school, driven to chase down a life that felt right, strong in spite of my autobiography. shortly after those words were written was when i really started to spiral. when the loss and pain of my life became too heavy and the madness of a huge depression really started to sink in and crawl around. i put the notebook down. i can remember all those things just fine. and for now i prefer to look at certain things through the lens of time. the rawness of the language, the youth of it, embarrasses me a little. i can describe those events much better today. i can be more honest about them too. and i'm sure i'll say the same thing two years from now about the things i'm writing today. and that's okay. but waiting for masterpieces is a waste of work and a waste of life. growth never stops.
and i'm glad i came across that quote this morning too. i think artists live their lives as beginners in some ways- that sense of wonder about a how to make a poem or a painting is an important thing to hold on to. to never claim that you've got it all figured out. to ward of formula and resist the allure of your own tricks.
i worked right up til bedtime yesterday. i wrote an insane amount of words. the back and forth, erasing adding redacting eliminating coercing dance of the thing. choosing what stays put and what to kick out. the sacrifice inherent to the job.
it's exactly like painting.
these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.
thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.
my artist website is here.
my artist website is here.