I have always loved books, and snooping around in bookstores is a pleasure I still love. (Having a kindle, I have learned, does not mean one no longer frequents bookstores.) Over the years I have purchased many books about writing, about creativity, about spiritual development, but have not yet read them all. Those books have waited patiently for me to be ready for them and the time is now; I have been reading voraciously. It’s the books about creativity that have particularly grabbed me recently, since I believe that I am entering a place and time in my life where I will finally be able to do creative activities that I’ve longed to have time for.
Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art by Ricë Freeman-Zachery is about not only the physical aspects of making time and space for creativity, but also about making time and space in one’s mind. The last chapter even includes advice about how to “Take It On the Road” – perfect for me as my husband and I form plans to be away from home for about three months this summer and fall. We have even figured out a way to bring our wireless printer along in our motor home, so I’m feeling ready to hit the road. The book is a great source of tips and inspiration, and I’m sure I will go back and reference it often.
I am currently reading Peter London’sNo More Secondhand Art: Awakening the Artist Within, and even in the first two chapters I’ve had a huge epiphany. One thing I like about this book is that poets (it is hard to call myself a poet, even though I write a lot of poetry) are included in the group labeled “artists” who create “art.” Art is so often defined only as visual art, and writers are left out in the cold, but not this book, and I like that. Artists and poets look at the world around them in very similar ways; I also enjoy creating visual art, and this book has allowed all of those parts of my brain to make connections with the content. Here’s the quote that got my attention:
“It is not uncommon for artists to reach a point in their development where they realize that what they know and can do is less than what there is to know and could be doing. This phase comes not at the point where their work is failing and seems uncertain, but at those moments of apparent great confidence in expression and elegance of presentation. In other words, those boundary-breaking phases of an artist’s development occur when one has full command of one’s craft and has portrayed with completeness the domain of one’s interest” (p. 30).
This resonated deeply within me. I believe that teaching has been an art form for me. Creativity is at the core of my teaching philosophy, and I have worked hard to inspire creativity in my students. When I read this passage, I realized that I have done all that I know and can do at my school, but it is less than there is for me to know, and it is less than what I can do.
I still have a lot to learn and I want to learn so much more! But my work at our little community school has reached a natural end, and so I must move on. I am not done; I am shifting my energy in a different direction. It feels good.
Freeman-Zachery, Ricë. (2010). Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art. Cincinnati, Ohio: Northlight Books.
London, Peter. (1989). No More Secondhand Art: Awakening the Artist Within. Boston: Shambhala Publications.