Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Week #21 - Five of Muses - Conflict and Creativity

This week, the Poet Tarot card I drew asks me to consider how I manage Conflict in my creativity. Also to think about some of my involvements and non-involvements as well as thinking about creative problem solving. WOW!  That's a lot to think about. But I have started to shine a light on some of this.

For example, I've considered that the first part, how I manage conflict in creativity can be split into two separate  questions..   First, the conflict around me that impacts my time, my associations, limitations on resources, etc. Second, the more internal conflict that arises when a poem maybe wants to go one way and I stubbornly try to move it a different way.

On the surface I tend to think that I am free of conflict. And I honestly  have successfully sold myself that bag of goods however, I can honestly say that in the past  I have been conflicted both with people and situations where I have been a participant in a collective of other  poets/artists.  I can look back at those some years later and see that  in some ways I took appropriate steps - at least to a point. While I may have felt I was moving on, I did so by pulling back somewhat in my broader participation - doing reading less often. Going to support others less often. While I don't think I consciously considered exactly what I was doing, I let myself be impacted by my actions in a far bigger way then I was acknowledging to myself.  This is making me rethink the reasons I backed off some things. It can be sobering to realize that something can be going on  in a much larger way then you are recognizing and this happen for several years.

The second or more inter-personal struggle directly with work  is something that can happen day-in-day out.
Honestly I am not as well aware of it as I probably should be. This tells me one of two things...

  • I either am so open to where my poem or work is leading me and there is no second-guessing 
  • Or, I'm resisting what the poem wants so effectively that  I've pushed it  out of the way and have my own stubborn agenda.
If I were to guess, more often then not, it's the second way. There are times when I know I am locked into the poem's own will but those are infrequent.

Honestly, I don't think it is bad to be conflicted with the poem, as long as you are listening to it. For one thing, you will feel better about the work if you feel like you have played a bit of a devil's advocate.

This is only looking a portion of what the Five of Muses is asking me to consider this week,.  I'll address more later in the week.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Art Quote of the Day

Art is a collaboration between God and the 
artist, and the less the artist does the better.
 - Andre Gide 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week # 20 - Ten of Muses - Core Values & Art

The Ten of Muses is quizzing me tonight. On one had I feel like it's shinning a light on me, a bit of an interrogation if yo will.

What evidence is there in your creative work of your core values?  This is a good question because I am a particularly opinionated person. I have an opinion on most everything you can ask me. Go ahead and try...

Q. Hot or Cold.   A. Cold of course!

Q. Baseball of footfall?    A. Absolutely Baseball!

Q. Democrat or Republican?     A.  Democrat.

Q. Coffee or Tea?     A. Coffee

Q. Coke or Pepsi?     A. Definitely Coke.

Okay, you see what I mean?   So then comes the issue of if my values can be discerned by my work.   I know that in terms of my political views more times then not they tend to be subtle at best.  In fact I go through periods when I think I want to say something politically in poetry but then I tend to back away from it feeling the need not to write from a preachy point of view. I won't say that I never allow politics to reflect in my work but for the most part this is not how I back into poems. The same is true with my spirituality.

I don't really know if it is good or bad that  there is not more evidence of my core values in my creativity. On one hand I thing artists should try to write at times with other personas and other views.

It's funny but I think I've hit upon something I don't have a firm opinion on. Should my work reflect deeply held core values? Can I create/write from a position of integrity if I don't incorporate my personal belief system in my writing?  Right now I'm seeing two sides to this question. This is something I need to sleep on.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week #19 - Six of Letterpress - Patron of Arts

Now comes the Six of Letterpress in week 19 asking me to consider the larger community of artists as inter-dependent. Am I supportive of other artists on any tangible level? Do I attend readings or visit galleries? Give others a Shout-out? Attend book launches? Write Reviews?  Support others work by purchasing their work?

I must admit there was a  time when I was better about attending the readings of others. This is an area I need to work on. I do write reviews from time to time and will give a shout-out  on twitter or elsewhere. I am pretty  good about monetarily supporting  the work of others, especially poets (even on a limited budget) so there is a lot of support that I do give to the arts, but there are I see ways that I can improve.

This week I will make the effort to seize opportunities to be there for other artists.

If there is anything to reciprocating Karma then great, but I think I need to do this without anticipating anything in return. I need to do this because the arts need patrons period.

Monday, July 7, 2014

#18 The Eight of Quills - Taking Inventory of Your Work-[habits]

The Eight of Quills surfaced yesterday when I was drawing a new Poet Tarot Card for the week. This card asks us to consider our focus. Focus on our artistic efforts. Are we finishing projects? Are we trying too many things? Are we limiting ourselves to the extent that  we leave good ideas behind to be forgotten?

So the Eight of Quills is asking us to take and inventory of what we are and are not doing. I've always been lead to believe balance is a good thing in our lives... so it would stand to mind that each aspect of our life should stand the test of balance.

For so long I wrote with the idea of the piece of writing  before me as my focal point. Sometimes I would put aside a piece to come back to later. This is still the case and I have a whole slew of unfinished drafts as a testimony to this.Some of these are close to to finished. I routinely revisit these poems that are hopeful of seeing the light of day.

Right now, I have a poetry project that desperately needs my attention. I have not  given it the time it deserves. It's a long term project and perhaps knowing that  has been my downfall. Sometimes it is the difficult things, the demanding projects that are the easiest to push to the side because we know they will be a long time in the making and sometimes I think it is these kinds of projects that often in the back of my mind become questionable and with the questions a predisposition that this is something that is more of a dream then something that is attainable.  That sort of ruled a manuscript I was working on. And while it has been sent out into the world, I know it may need more work. I think sending it out however gave me a feeling for the moment of a personal victory.

This week I will be thinking about  all the things I have on the drawing board and consider how best to balance my time to achieve the maximum positive outcomes.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Week # 17 - The Ten of Letterpress - We Are Not Alone

The Ten of Letterpress was actually drawn last weekend. I am just now getting around to post about it as well as the journey  that  has occurred this week as a result of it. I think this card is really a Gratitude Card.  It calls us to not only look inward about out growth as a poet/writer/artist but to look outward as well and consider the people that have been a part of the growth... people that make it possible.

In doing so, the first place I started was my family. From my wife, to each of my children they have over the years in various ways helped with this journey. From my wife who has allowed me the time to write in addition to the broader support by encouragement and sometimes allowing me to bounce ideas off her. An my children, who have each supported/encouraged me, sometimes in ways I don't even think they realize.

There are some local poets/writers that I added to my list. People who I have been in writing groups with, workshoped poems with, Taken classes with - several that have been especially helpful and supportive.

I have also been fortunate to benefit from a half-dozen or so people from long distance. Other  poets who have encouraged, counseled, shared and mentored me.  This particular Poet Tarot card has brought me to the realization that while it may often times seem otherwise, our growth and victories no matter how small or large do not  really  happen in a vacuum. We may at time lock ourselves up in a room and write and rewrite
pouring out heart and soul but there is a wider safety-net out there that we know we can and sometimes do count on.

When I was making my list, I went a bit further (as was suggested) and added some writer/poet/artists icons that have inspired me in the first place to my own creativity.  Here are some of those iconic persons, some living and some dead:

  • Sharon Olds
  • W.S. Merwin
  • Sylvia Plath
  • John Ashbery
  • Anne Sexton
  • Donald Hall
I have to say that in thinking about all this throughout the week, I realized how thankful I am too for being alive and being able to experience the creative process on a day to day basis.  Just as God has provided so many wonder experiences to unfold before our eyes, the human experience to take what is before us and go a step further and make something new based upon those experiences is quite imposing.