As a mom and as an educator, I know that whatever we choose to feed, grows. For example, study after study shows that if a child gets the largest amount of adult attention from bad behavior, then that bad behavior grows. To grow the attention, they grow that behavior. So we want to feed the GOOD behavior, the positive characteristics, the things we want to grow, right? You are all with me.
So I've been thinking about that concept in terms of my writing. My writing is definitely my primary art at this time in my life. Even though I love to paint and garden and write music and cook and other artistic things, my primary focus these days is on my writing. That isn't to say that my creativity doesn't ooze out in other areas of my life. Many of my loved ones would say that I'm ,er, creative in the way I approach lots of things. As an Odyssey of the Mind coach, I think about these things a lot. I brush my teeth with the opposite hand, etc. but still, I often find myself wearing thing. As an educator, I also know how important it is to 'feed the feeders'. Teachers need great instruction on a regular and ongoing basis to be great instructors. Writers know the importance of reading great writing, and believe me, I feed my art in that way. But lately, I've been trying to think of art in a more holistic way.
Years ago, when I was in high school, I was a total theatre geek. My life was like Glee, show choir, theatre, competing for parts in shows, performing...and I loved every bit of it. I knew all the words to Les Mis (should have applied it to Geometry proofs, in retrospect), Phantom, Miss Saigon; you name it, I've sung it at an audition. With an annoying amount of enthusiasm. I wrote my senior class song along with a lot of other corny ballads. Anyway, I still needed a job for gas money. I interviewed for a job at an art gallery. I interviewed with the artist/owner, and he said this to me, "You will be perfect for this job because artists are artists. Whether it's music or something else, we are all artists and we understand and appreciate each other." Wow. I felt so grown-up. He thought I would understand and appreciate all these artists? Well, he fed that beast, and I did. I loved that job and held a part-time job in that field for at least five years.
Now all these years later, I've been thinking about that. "We are all artists." And I've found myself, a la Julia Cameron, striving for art dates to feed my art. Rather than only reading, I've tried to feed myself with all kinds of art. In the past few weeks, I've revisited all my old favorite musicals. Whenever some kind of cleaning is in order, I break out the old musicals--Les Miserables always at the top of the playlist. "When the beating of your drum echoes the beating of your heart, there's a life about to start when tomorrow comes." Good stuff. Inspiring stuff. And it does triple duty in my art life. It takes me back to that teen-age place of pure art adoration. (Andrew Lloyd Weber is a genius, a genius!) My heart soars with the return to my first love, and that fuels me in a different way, in a place of joy. And lastly, the brilliance, the quality of this art, inspires my writing in a new and fresh way. It takes me to a larger place, a bigger perspective, which lets me write from a place of great love and thankfulness.
So on this Grateful Wed, I am enormously thankful to all the artists of the world. The artists in every category who have gone before me, who toil even now, and who will shape the future. I am grateful for the art teachers, the school art programs, and everyone who values creativity. I believe that I was born of a Creator, in his image, and the greatest thing we were all called to do is create. We have an inborn desire and talent for creating, and we will not walk in peace until we've learned to tap into our creative selves.
So Artists, yes, I'm talking to you, feed the beast. Find a way to enjoy a bit of art today. Soak it in. Even if it's a busy day, you've time to visit Pandora.com and enjoy a little Les Mis. It's good for the soul.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.