Junk! Garbage! Cast off from artistic efforts in the past, left over packaging from things once holding nourishment, old clothes straining or hanging in unfashionable folds on the changing landscape of my body. Sifting through the pieces, I can’t see anything I can use. Throw it out! Toss it!
No wait! The paint dried-on-dry thickens forming a malleable texture to tear and shape. Those mesh fruit bags when torn open add texture, even variety of line on the surface of the drying paint. Beads left over from projects, cinnamon sticks that have last their fragrance, torn plastic bags, left over remnants of fabric.… What can they become in an artist’s hands?
Gnarled words on a page … twisted and tossed by too many memories or not enough …. Characters without substance or storylines that seem to have reached a dead end …. empty rhetoric filling lines, why did I chose to write that? Spilling in jumbled sentences on the page. Garbage! Waste! My time, your attention …. Why do I bother? Press delete, start from scratch, or maybe don’t even restart at all.
No wait! Within those sentences are the words from inside you, encoded in language only your inner writer knows. Listen! Those things you think don’t matter may be the cries for you to hear what your waking self is holding at bay. Sometimes we weed and perfect too soon giving full control to our carefully crafted conscious self, quasi-rational being parading as the authority on us. What would happen if we released that control, and gave our words into the hand of that writer within?
Sitting alone I look around seeing the works of my untrained hands. This I can do with what I have! These colours and forms that sooth my soul, that inspire my students, that comfort a needy friend. I sift through journals and diaries, pages of poetry, so many having memories of someone along the way who was inspired and helped by some word, some photograph, some artwork flowing through these hands, nourished by my thoughts and hopes and dreams.
Junk? Garbage? Why am I so afraid of letting others see the person I am? Why am I so afraid to trust the shaping of my life? Why am I here alone? Or am I? These shifting threads and refuse from a life lived and left unlived are what I bring. Can I trust the experiences in my life that point to an artist and writer whose view is greater than my own? Can I trust that I am an artwork with meaning just as I am, a story worth editing and presenting to the world?