Sunday, February 27, 2011

Art and Writing

My sister in law is an artist, actually both of my husband's sisters are, but one of them has started a pottery business and has been working to find her rhythm on the wheel. As she has progressed, she has posted pictures of her work, amazing little bowls and cups. The other day she made ceramic buttons. Buttons! It is stunning to me that someone can plop a bit of mud on a spinning surface and create something really special - seemingly out of thin air.

Recently, as I was poking around graduate writing programs I finally made the connection that MFA stands for Master of Fine Arts. Fine Arts as in artist. Until now, it never occurred to me that writing could be art. Or more specifically that my writing could be art. Creative yes, but not art art. Maybe because almost as soon as you dip your toes into fiction there is the whispered hope of publishing, and publishing is business. Publishing is not art.

My sister-in-law also paints and draws and does amazing things with collage. She has a Masters degree in art education. She is clearly an artist. My husband's other sister is starting to design clothing. She has a few prototypes and eventually hopes to sell them. A few years back she made me an amazing leather clutch out of completely recycled materials. Not crafty cutesie amazing, Anthropologie amazing. She is an artist. In my mind, artists make things. Things you can touch.

But me?

Yet, like my sister-in-law at the potter's wheel, I am finding my rhythm, my voice. I am trying things out, things that crumble or crack and don't always turn out the way I intended. I make things too, but you can't put your hands on them. I would like to embrace writing as art. Just art. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. It feels free to me, somehow, to think of it that way.

So here are a few lines I've written, my art. If you'd like, you can touch your screen, right where the words are, as you read them.

From Desert:

When it finally happened, she had been outside, dozing on a chair by the pool. She had woken to find herself pouring down through the slats of the lounge onto the cool cement. As the evening sky broke overhead she felt the joy of being utterly free. She would never again be whole, but there was an abundance of her now, thousands of glassy little fragments.


Allison Kruskamp said...

The first piece I read of yours was about your mom's job as a secretary. Scenes and stills and textures exist in my mind that you created. Your writing is definitely tangible.

Allison Kruskamp said...

By the way, you aren't getting paid for the novel you're living with and, yet, you continue. Not because you hope it will be published but because you must. That's art.