Friday, March 20, 2009

The art of being human...

I attended an art expo here in Toronto last night. By the time I left, I was emotional, inspired and entirely overstimulated. I love looking at art. I love seeing what the human mind can produce with a canvas and some paint. I am in awe of the creative process. I am amazed at how different people can take a medium and create such varied interpretations of a subject with it. I am delighted by every brush stroke, every wash of color, every nuance of light. And I am sincerely surprised when a piece of art calls to me and awakens in me a deep emotional response, a voice from the ether that says, "Come".

Every time I stopped to talk to an artist last night about their work, the question was invariably asked, "Are you an artist?" To which I would reply, "I play."

It seemed that they thought I was one of them. And I really couldn't figure out why. My friend D and I went for drinks after and I asked him, "Why did they think I was an artist?"

"Because you are," he replied. D's good that way. Doesn't run on when a few words will suffice.

Hmm...I've never thought of myself as an artist. Writer perhaps. Nurturer, friend, lover...yes. But artist? No. I went to school with artists. They drew and painted and sculpted. They were different from me.

My first and last attempt at formal art was Grade 9 art class. It took me half the year, much to my teacher's chagrin, to even feel confident enough to fill a whole page with medium (yes, I have seen that same timidity with my blog entries). I enjoyed the class, but had a deep contempt for the artist. How dare they focus on beauty? There were more important things in life--like getting good grades and pleasing my imaginary friend, aka Sky Daddy.

I spent the afternoon with my mother the other day. I don't know what prompted the conversation...oh I recall, I just got my hair cut and my mother liked it very much, and she went on to tell me how, as a young woman, she'd cut her friends hair and perm it and style it. And this smile spread across her face like she was reminiscing about her first ice cream cone. I've never seen her express such delight.

"Why didn't you continue that?" I asked her.

"I was too shy. Too scared," she said.

"I think you missed your calling Mom."

She smiled. There was no regret in her eyes, just an acceptance that she did the best she could and if she'd had different tools in her life, maybe things could've been different. I understood. If there ever was a voice of God whispering in my ear, this was it.

Over beers, D and I discussed my current meandering through life attempting to decide what to do next. I've been toying with going to University. I've been toying with starting up my private practice again. I've been toying with letting the crazy bits of my mind take over completely and disappearing into an obsessive counting oblivion.

"You really need to pursue your art," he said.

Now, you know from my blog that I have a history of fighting with reality. From my background of religious delusion to struggling with chronic illness to battling with "the book" I'm supposed to be writing, I have a penchant for not accepting what is, nor realizing what is to others the plain and painfully obvious truth of a situation.

I wrote recently about my growing acceptance of my health situation. I watched this winter as my body did its usual cycling through pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia and general malaise. I also watched myself let it all be. I watched myself put my fighting fists down, not in defeat, but in a show of nonviolence. I have decided to stop fighting with reality as it stands now, and go with the flow. I still have to take things slowly, because the monkey brain still has its issues and is easily scared away from anything new. But I'm learning to watch the monkey brain too. I'm onto its antics. And when I don't mistake it for who I really am, amazing and wonderful things happen.

Like this morning. This morning, I bounded out of bed, headed for the kitchen table, said Good Morning to Mr. Squirrel (he's still around you know; we've actually become good friends) and I pulled out a sketchbook, a pencil and began to draw. I didn't know I could draw. But apparently I can. It's pretty basic stuff, but its a start. I don't know where it comes from. It's not something I think my way through. I just show up and its there. It's as much of a shock to me as anyone else.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm finally beginning to fall on the other side of the genius/insanity line. If I can keep the monkey brain on track, who knows what I can do. Rather, who knows what will come through me. Cause let's face it, I still don't have any idea what I'm doing. I just show up. Again and again and again, I show up. And wonder, hey, what's next?

tall penguin

1 comment:

matt said...

That's awesome. I'd like to see some of it if you ever want to share it!