Lately, I 've been a little sluggish in the Artist part of me, even though I just finished editing a new poetry book (I'm solely the editor in this venture). Not to say being an editor is not creative because you are very much the helper in bringing the work alive. But, it is not what I created or thought of in the first place. It is not My Muse that is highlighted but someone else. I don't think this is egotistical of me saying this but merely an Artist who has been stifled for what ever said reason. And I come to realize, that the Artist in me is a big and important part of my life like my family. Actually, my Artist is my third child, that needs nurturing and attention just like my daughters. Just like I feed my children and give them the security to let them grow. I must do the same for my Artist. That's why I am now once again having Artists Dates. I used to do them consistently seven years ago when I was learning and reading The Artist's Way, but has tapered off when family life intervened. But, what Artist's Dates I can do, I will try and give my Artist the best nutrients. I did it earlier this year, by attending these two events:
National Black Writers Conference
The National Black Writers Conference is held every two years at Medgar Evers College. The conference is a 4-day event with Panel Discussions, workshops, and Award Ceremony honoring various individuals in the literary world.
I attended the full day of panels on Saturday, March 31. Some of the panels were discussions that I had heard before but it was nice to her different panelists opinions on various subjects which included Street/Urban Literature, the importance of craft and What is being a Black/African-American writer mean?
By attending this conference, my Artist self became more alert to what she needed to do. She needed to evaluate what she did in the past, where she is at right now, and what she need to do in the future.
The Morning Haiku
I loooooove Sonia Sanchez! I attended a Master Poetry Workshop sponsored by African Voices Magazine that she instructed and was moved by her generous spirit. She is so caring and nurturing. The workshop was designed around the poetic form: Haiku. She explained and with participatory demonstration What a Haiku is? Then she gave us an assignment to write a Morning Haiku a day for a month. She said, "If you meditate in the morning, write a Haiku instead, because a Haiku is meditating--Haiku is your mantra." And to give us an incentive she gave us little books and the first line to start us on our journey.
I have to admit life as a Stay-At-Home Mom has taken a lot of my energy but I do take my pen to my little Haiku book and journal to write down my thoughts.
And when I can't go on Artist Dates, I feed my muse in a different way. I loooooove doing arts and crafts. It started in college. I had to admit, I was not a Acting Diva or a Star Bitch ( a nickname I used to call a fellow theatre major friend). I was more like a Techie- or a Diva Stage Manager (my husband called me when we first met). For college shows, I not only Stage Managed, but ran the follow spot, and was a part of the Properties Crew. The Properties Crew was in charge of an array of different things such as finding, buying or making different objects that the actors needed. I remember for the production of Picnic, I made a mailbag out of a pants leg of an old pair of tan khakis. I am not a sewer, but I sat and hand sowed it in my bedroom at home on Christmas break. I remember sitting there watching TV with my sister just content as a child drawing their masterpiece. It was relaxing. After college, when I was pursuing an acting and stage management career, I did some volunteer work at a local community theatre. I was the stage manager for the production of You Can't Take It With You and since it was community theatre (which means very few production people and no money to hire any), I also, became charge of the props. I remember making a snake tank out of rubber snakes, toilet paper rolls, and an old aquarium. I also, made a fake roast beef out of papier mache and a platter of watermelon slices out of Styrofoam (I was living with my sister at the time and when she came into my room-the watermelon-she said was too realistic and it made her hungry(LOL). I just enjoy making things. I always say, writing is very therapeutic but so is arts and crafts. When my girls were young (around two and three), I used to (and still do) arts and crafts. I usually do a prototype and present it to them. I'll find a quiet place in the basement or more recently in the girls playroom/Homework/Arts & Crafts room. And I stay up a good part of the night working on it.
When I'm doing these projects, I feel free and my mind becomes clear (especially when there is something that I'm bothered by). I'm in a meditative state of mind. When I attended Sonia Sanchez Master Workshop class, she said, "Haiku's make you concentrate on your breathe" I believe any art form can take you away from the insignificance in life so you can concentrate on the importance of the breath-of your being.
Artist Dates nurtures you and Creativity is your umbilical cord to receive happiness.