Last week Anna Broadway wrote this delightful piece for Books and Culture about composing haikus at work. As web editor for a company, much of her cubicle work involves writing short emails, and one day she began sending them in haiku form.
Broadway admits that many of her poems might make real poets shudder, but she keeps at them anyway. Her explanation resonated with me:
"...while I want more really good poems to be written, I can't shake the notion that any art form—in order to thrive—must exist at all levels of society, even if quality of execution ranges widely."
Removing fear and the pressure to be perfect allows you to play with art forms, at any level, and recognize that you are honoring the imago dei as you do what you were created to do.
That's part of why our family attended the Blackford County Arts Center Open House and Dedication over the weekend. Our friend Dan has been instrumental in turning a hundred year old storefront in the next town over into a community space for art, music, and writing classes and events. On the morning after the school shooting in Connecticut, Dan and Jack spent several hours clearing debris out of the space, preparing it for renovation. In an email promoting the Arts Center, Dan wrote:
"During that time, many debated gun control and mental health awareness and other issues. I felt that the best thing I could be doing where I live is working to provide a place made for the appropriate expression of anger, frustration, alienation, and more--a place where a person could come and transform his or her pain into something positive: pottery, music, painting, poetry. I believe that our communities need these places as much as ever."
Investing in local community doesn't always come naturally to me - I live inside my own mind far too much, and I'm not a very social person - but I am trying to be more intentionally involved where I can.
Anyway, this is a long introduction to the fact that I've written an essay about creating and fostering the spirit of creativity - about how hospitality makes art possible. It's about my experience visiting Paris at sixteen, and about my life in Indiana now. The essay, "Barefoot Places," is up at the Art House America blog today, and I do hope you'll read it.
(PS - There you will see a picture of teenage me, wearing a beret, wishing to be a bohemian.)