Finally, Someone Who Understands! Thank you Misha

Mikhail-BaryshnikovNo longer will I feel guilty when I don’t want to talk with someone while I’m creating art in a community artists’ studio.

No longer will I feel ashamed that I don’t know Suzy Q, Barbi X., or John Z. when asked, “Why don’t you know them, they go there all the time?”

No longer will I apologize for getting snippy to my family when they interrupt me while I’m trying to choose which monoprint to submit to an exhibit, while reviewing art prints at our kitchen table.

Now I can proudly proclaim, “Don’t you know art is a very slow and fragile process? Dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov told me so!”

While exercising this morning I heard on NPR about Baryshnikov’s Art Center in NYC, marking its 10th anniversary. Hearing Baryshnikov simply state the obvious changed my day, my week, and my world. He says that art is a fragile process and artists need privacy and space to create. I know that! Thinking back to when I had a separate studio space I remember those as the glory artist days. But I wanted more in life and co-created a multi-faceted, multi-use home and life. Yes, I adore our teenage son, but can’t a girl dream about “space, and light, and privacy?” That is just what Baryshnikov created for artists in New York City, an environment in which artists of all kinds can go and create to their heart’s content. Well done Misha!

Creativity and wellness message for today: Even if your kitchen table is filled with college tour brochures, applications, and forms, keep your vision of space, light, and privacy on the horizon.

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This I Believe

It’s a snowy day here in New England. I have a few minutes before I head out to work so I’ll share some cross-pollination news with you. Have you heard of the international project, “This I Believe?” It started in the 1950’s and since then has engaged people in writing, sharing, and discussing the core values that guide their daily lives. I’ve listened to it on NPR for years, and I’ve often heard my quiet voice say I’d like to do that. Last summer I got my wish in a very creative way.

An invitation came from the Unitarian Church in Westport, for speakers to contribute to a lay-led service filled with closely held convictions and jazz. How could I resist? I spent several weeks and many drafts creating my essay. My writing critique group inspired me to strip away the layers until I got to the heart of my message, and members of the church committee guided me to clarity. The results were that I gave back to my community; met new, bright and articulate people; modelled for my critique group that writing can take a long time; and after a few minor changes, I submitted my essay to “This I Believe.”

Five months later I heard back from the international project — my essay “I Believe in Dreams” was selected for the permanent collection.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Just do it. Show up for your life and the rest will follow.