or in my case, lack thereof...
as a kid, I liked twisting hangers into elaborate shapes and suspending them from the ceiling of my bedroom. in school, I was more of a 'doodler' than a painter or illustrator, and working on a flat plane didn't really excite me all that much. bas relief was...well, a relief, and I took to macrame in a way that suggested I innately understood how to tie knots. while I disliked woodcuts/linocuts/intaglio/relief printing in general, I enjoyed embossing and screen printing, and loved sculpting; wheel-thrown pottery made me so happy, I tried to major in it during my first college go-round. during my second run at higher education, I discovered darkroom photography, and jewelry making - silver, not beadwork...I learned beadwork on my own. I made my own polymer beads as well as using seed beads for earrings and necklaces, and I employed fabric paints to liven up thrift store clothing to sell at flea markets. I sewed and crocheted pouches, painted runes onto smooth rocks, and sold them as sets. and always, through it all, writing writing writing...poems, essays, manifestos, dreams, and prayers. maybe even a love letter or two.
where did I get the energy? where did I find my reasons why? it was just...my life. how I lived it. it was what was. when did it stop? I built labyrinths - from sticks, from stones, dancing the patterns out with my feet in the snow. it came through me because I invited it to; left space for it to manifest; made myself a vessel for art to fill. at some point, I started giving that energy away to others, for their own use, and that (I think) is when the conduit began to close up on me. for sure, it never went away completely, as we are ultimately who we are. while I was pregnant, I knitted for the baby, but mostly to keep my hands busy to prevent myself from smoking cigarettes.
once the baby came, all my art went into stories and songs, puppet shows, and spontaneous games of imagination and wonder. these cardboard boxes are now a kitchen set, complete with refrigerator, cabinets, and a stove with a working oven door! this metal tray is now a 'dinosaur beach', with sand, a lake, and Lego trees for the herbivores to graze on! these cotton balls and pipe cleaners are now painted bugs! this old sheet is now a canvas, and this spray bottle filled with watered-down paint is an airbrush! crayons, clay, leaves, and rocks, we could make anything out of everything! markers, colored pencils, feathers, fabric, jars, cigar boxes, tissue paper, safety goggles, paints, driftwood, and small found metal bits are to be found in abundance in our supply closet - there is always a project or three waiting to be finished these days, and more keep piling up.
so where is my inspiration these days? did it fight my increasing fat for space in my body and lose? did it get blown out my eardrums with each subsequent rock concert? did I miss seeing it slip out the back door with my diminishing sight? or did it simply get fed up and leave, with the last vestiges of my patience, and a certain amount of my sanity to boot? how rude...look, I'm tired, and I don't have the fire to work on a project for 14 hours straight anymore, or three days in a row without the need for nourishment or sleep. gone are the days and nights of locking myself in the darkroom until the work was done. gone are the days and nights on the road, chasing markets and dreams. gone are the poems that hit the page just so ~
I make myself write something every week to share, just to practice - use it or lose it, as the saying goes - but there's nothing inspiring about the things I say. not like 'back in the day', when all the cool kids drank my rhymes like they were reason; not like when I was a walking inferno that you couldn't help but notice, because I glowed with the molten heat of my own possibility. now I'm just tired and overwhelmed, and most people are compelled to look away, if they even see me at all. do I remind them of their own forgotten dreams? is my skin a map of their failures, too? since you can't draw from a dry well, it's important to nourish the well so that it may fill - how do You feed it? what brings You inspiration, and fills you with the need to create?
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