Friday, December 21, 2007

A spark

To act as a muse, a source of inspiration, a point of departure, a spark, to stir the conscious, to unsettle, to promote curiosity here lies the goal: to be a question catalyst.

"onceonlyhuman", evanfetty, 2007


During the past week, I've managed to have the same conversation with Evan, Kelly, Will and Billy - well, similar but different at least :). I've noticed that even though each of them is very creative, they all have their own process for seeing the world around them, being inspired to do something and then representing that in a final product - a painting, sculpture, tilework, jewelery or a photo. It seems like such a "duh" statement that creative people are going to forge their own path to get from point A to point B, but for someone who had immersed themselves in business for so long, with all it's more formal structures and rules, it really was one of those moments that it hit me that I should have realized it before.

The other big revelation for me was that exploring a more artistic side of me isn't a new journey, it's a continuation of one that I seem to have buried from my past. I'd constantly been telling myself that I wasn't artistic; always amazed and awed at those who could express themselves in that manner. But it simply wasn't true. And I'm not sure why I thought I had to bury it over all these years - was there some definition of success or maturity that I was adopting where being artistic didn't fit? The easy answer would be that I simply didn't have time to pursue that type of activity because I was busy with other goals - but that doesn't really explain why I was totally forgetting things in my past.

I'm not sure exactly when it started to come back to me, but a doorway in my mind cracked enough for me to explore and remember - I used to love sketching - usually it was buildings or details of them. Crayons or pencil didn't matter, when I doodled it was always the structures around me. I can remember sitting bored in classes and drawing the room or the windows (all the little details of the hardware and seams but not normally what was outside the window) My continued interest in architecture, building and remodeling all this time has kept this one alive, but I failed to identify it as "artistic".

But even more striking was remembering other interests - my mom teaching me to crochet and do things with yarn, beadwork - both as jewelery and dressing up clothing, leatherwork - with all the special tools to carve intricate designs. Calligraphy - including a 7' long scroll of "Stairway to Heaven" in Old English script complete with twisted vines and flowers, color and gold leaf. I can remember studying how hieroglyphics had morphed into cuneiforms into letters (if only I had had access to Wiki back then, who knows what tangents I might have taken) as I worked on that project.

Wood working in shop class, which included metal work - I recall making a sand mold to pour molten metal (in 7th grade!! can you imagine a school doing that today?) and forming some sort of wall sculpture of medieval knight heads or bending and hammering and welding flat metal to make candlestick holders that I mounted on wood that I'd cut with a bandsaw and stained.

I remember a stained glass project and working in the school's graphic arts department to learn typesetting and kerning, offset printing and burning a negative into a metal plate with acid to produce a newspaper. String art and colored sand paintings - things everyone did in art class at school or camp that I enjoyed enough to go home and keep doing for my own pleasure.

There were a couple of years of macramé' - hanging flower baskets and even a pair of kitchen curtains (now I'm really wondering where all this stuff would up - probably in the dump as we moved from place to place and it was deemed "junk - the roots of my current pack rat behavior perhaps?)

How sad to think I put most of it away during those puberty years when I started trying to reform myself into a straight guy - enjoying these things wasn't masculine enough and someone might have figured me out. How wonderful to be re-discovering them, like old cherished friends. How interesting that it's been almost a decade since I came out and I'm still finding ways that my own self-hatred kept me from enjoying and living my own life. How fascinating to picture a world without closets and to wonder what great ideas have never come to fruition because of that bigotry.

When some of that hits and you find yourself bawling your eyes out over the loss of what might have been or the anger that surges over allowing some fear of what others would have thought rob you of joy from your life, you can't help but sit there rocked to your core. And then you remember the friends who helped you get it back and your heart swells large enough to push all that negative out and it's a better day than it started.

So a big thanks to you who keep questioning me until I examine and change. And to those lending your support in so many ways. May your lives always be filled with sparks as well.


flying elephants said...

~pause~ i really needed to hear this... this morning. which makes it all the more apparent that the exchange of "spark" is reciprocal btwn all of us,

hooray for human interactions!

Billay! said...

hell yes, scott!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post.

Hi there, I'm Mel from Christopher's blog and thought I'd stop by...hope that is ok!

I have to agree with you on the putting away creative endevours while concentrating on the more serious side of life, the stuff that you think is more important, until you get to a point in life where listening to what YOU want becomes the absolute most imporatnt thing. Kind of like unwrapping an old gift.

I threw in a creative writing degree at uni because I was so sure it would not get me a real job and nobody would take it seriously. But that is what makes me happy - to be around writers and ideas and doing readings and responding to literature.

Crazy isn't it, that we spend the first thirty or more years doing what we 'think' rather than what we just feel.