art can emerge

Edouard Dantan, L'Atelier du Sculpteur, wikimedia

Edouard Dantan, L’Atelier du Sculpteur, wikimedia

(Oops, I just realized I posted this and sent it out without a title).

Reader, last week I wrote about receiving permission to take a break. And, wow, taking a break has been really good for me. Add this to the file of things I’ve learned, re-learned, and re-re-learned: that a change in our usual rhythms — chosen, forced, or otherwise — can be fertile ground.

I confess, I’ve had the nicest blend of relaxation, housework and holiday preparation, time with the kids, and time for poetry. No goals, and only the briefest of to-do lists, none of them poetry-related. And yet, looking back over the last 10 days, I’ve somehow ended up with 4 new drafts, discovered new-to-me poems I love by reading through a random stack of poems I’ve been shoving into a “to-read” file, and caught up on organization a bit.

As I wrote to a friend: “Sometimes I forget that art doesn’t rely only on persistence and dedication, but can emerge out of openness, quiet, or even just luck.”

There’s a culture in writing of JUST DO IT. A culture of keeping at it, day after day. And certainly persistence and practice are important traits for a writer. But think of the sculptor: What would happen if a sculptor just kept at it, day after day, cutting away stone and more stone? Yup, pretty soon it would just be the sculptor, her tools, and a pile of cuttings.

This last 10 days or so has been a nice reminder for me that making a poem is not an act of will, it’s an act of creation. Intention is not entirely absent, but it’s also not the only tool in the shed. And, as in poetry so in life: I’ve been reminded that the making of a home is the same.

Here’s hoping you, too, are finding fertile ground in your life as the year wanes. See you back here tomorrow for the roundup.

3 thoughts on “art can emerge

  1. I love your sculpture analogy! I am finding that, since I don’t have a lot of free time with the last vestiges of school and the holiday gear-up, I am finding little gems of ideas everywhere that I am tucking away for when my break begins in a week! Here’s hoping your fertile rest results in a pristine statue.

    • I’ve been doing a lot of tucking away, too. Something to look forward to, right? I hope the last, busy week of teaching goes well and that your break is both relaxing and generative.

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