29 April 2011

art house.

I'm a miserable blogger these days, but today i feel compelled to offer an update for my two or three faithful readers. it's now almost May, and time for that pitiful Christmas elf to move down the page a bit. at some point, i'm going to work on an overhaul of this blog, i think. it feels like a new start has been looming for awhile now. something about springtime maybe.

Most of the writing i've done the past few months has gone to the Art House America blog, where my friend Jenni is the editor. yesterday, i had a new piece published--my observations on living in the South. A much better reason to visit, though, are the two other new essays in this week's edition.

In Food as Gift, my longtime friend Christine wrote about the community farm-store she and her husband run in a Dallas neighborhood. Our little town of Kingston Springs recently started a Saturday morning market as well, with local growers bringing baskets of lettuce, radishes, and other fresh produce to sell. One of my favorite things about traveling to Paris was the beautiful open air markets in the Rue Cler area where we stayed. There's something about finding a bit of soil still clinging to the roots of my vegetables that I find oddly reassuring.

Alice, another dear friend, shared an essay on creativity and community that socked me in the heart. While I am someone who creates instinctively, whether through art or writing or photography, there are definitely times when I think, 'what am i really creating that means anything?' sometimes it feels like i do it more as an outlet, some sort of therapeutic, self-serving expression, than for the sake of truly pursuing beauty. So that's when I set it aside for awhile.

Alice expressed my feelings so well when she wrote:

What she said that day gave me freedom and permission to look into the eyes of a friend and see a painting in progress, to be surprised by the melodies of memories triggered at perfect moments, to tease out the poetic rhythms of any given day. I began to realize that while many of my friends make art with guitars or paintbrushes, my preferred medium is the fabric of human relationships: making lasting connections between people and seeking to illuminate the image of God that each person bears.

So often lately, I am struck by how much of a 'painting in progress' I truly am. Most of the time I just want to hurry the process along, to force myself into a completed work, free of all the messy layers underneath. And lately, out of sheer need, it feels, I am much more drawn to the relationship kind of making than I am to creating art. At least for the moment, the memory-making seems so much more vital, the forging of friendships a lot more important.