My month of experimenting with visual arts was, well, less than I had hoped. I did some water color painting, and I created some colored pencil mandalas on butcher paper with my preschool students. I picked up a long-abandoned needlework project. It wasn’t much.
My refusal to fully engage in this challenge, despite publicly stating that I was going to do it, shows me that I have more to poke at here. Truthfully, I really enjoyed those small efforts. A lot. So, why did I not do more? The horror of being incompetent at something is powerful, indeed. It seems it is even more powerful than my concern about breaking the commitment I made here.
I have left my art portfolio on my desk as a reminder of what is possible. When I get out of my own way, and push past the foolish belief that “I suck at this stuff” I experience that beautiful moment of delight in the process, the sheer joy of creating. I want to do more of that. Equally importantly, I want to conquer my fear of inadequacy.
So, my needlepoint supplies are staying out, I will join my students in their joyful abandonment in painting, drawing, and collaging.
And I will read and listen to poetry.
I am a writer, but I am not a poet. It is another one of those mediums that I avoid because of my fear of being terrible. It is also, I have just realized, another one of those things that I have lost along the way, as I have become pragmatic and practical and responsible and adult. Just as I have given up ritual and magic in so much of my life, I have given up poetry.
I want it back. Some things just cannot be expressed in a five paragraph essay or a 150 character Tweet. Some things cannot be worked out in a bulleted list. Some things need rhythm, alliteration, metaphor, lyric. Some things need to be expressed out loud. Big questions and big feelings that cannot be contained in a sentence need a stanza.
You must believe: a poem is a holy thing — a good poem,
that is. ~ Theodore Roethke