Muses

Art/Images, Change/Transformation, Creative, Dance, It's Personal, Life, Poetry, Reflection, Uncategorized, Writing

Earlier this year, for the first time in my life, I met someone who inspires me to create art.  Despite my introverted extrovert nature, I meet a lot of people from many different walks of life.  I tend to network in an  unusual variety of circles, and have a knack for remembering and connecting people – often making connections others don’t see.  I don’t actively nurture all these connections, but I keep them in my mental Rolodex.

I’m also a social dancer, and I’ve talked to and danced with thousands of people.  In all those thousands, I’ve met (at most) a dozen or so who truly inspire me to create movement with them.  None of them has ever inspired me to create anything beyond the three to four minutes we spend together in the music.  Those moments are magic, but they’re ephemeral.  The sense of what happened fades, and all my body remembers is the warmth and joy and connection.

This was different, this unexpected inspiration.  I’ve never experienced this type of connection, where all thoughts have the potential to spark the drive to create.  Positive or negative charge is irrelevant, what is relevant is that something emerges from that charge.  I started making art when I was young, wanted to be a musician for a while, and then stopped when I left home.  I dabbled in photography for years, drawing here and there.  When writing became more of a focus, other forms of creativity faded until I discovered dance.

My first experience with dance was with a woman named Fariba, a class named Spiritual Bellydance.  I was living in a conservative area that the time, but was exploring any number of non-traditional interests and hobbies.  For me, this class was a revelation, a revolution.  After years of martial arts training and equestrian activity, I found something that incorporated similar awareness and presence, but for reasons of pure sensuality and beauty.  I did it simply because it brought joy and pleasure into my being.  Fariba inspired me, and her memory continues to visit me when I’m dancing.

When I began to learn salsa, I had any number of teachers, but few true inspirations.  Over the years, that has changed as I discovered Magna Gopal, my good friends Sheena and Asia – the first women I saw lead swapping and dancing together in bachata, my instructor Sarah Riddle, and Stacey, one of my best friends.  All these women inspired me to try different types of movement, to experiment with connection and stillness, excitement and joy, technique and exploration.  I recently had the great good fortune to get social dances with Frankie Martinez and Franklin Diaz, dances I wouldn’t have been brave enough to ask for if I hadn’t been inspired to push myself over all these years.

So to find someone who inspires me to create art – images that convey a feeling, emotions, thoughts – is welcome and scary all at once.  Art has not been a way for me to communicate how I feel.  Until now, writing was that channel.  Now, art has become an outlet, in a way that words aren’t.  I’ve spoken with poets, and this feels like their descriptions of writing poetry – using words to shape a feeling, sensation, experience – an urge I’ve rarely encountered.  But now I feel compelled to release that desire to express…something…through drawing.

I’m not entirely certain how the whole “muse” thing works, but I suppose this is part of it.  They bring energy, alien patterns and dynamics, that demand a response, but the old responses aren’t strong enough, or subtle enough, or bold enough, so I look for alternatives.  How else can I interact with this experience?  How can I hold it, let it go, integrate or spit it out?  Do I hold myself in safety, or expose my vulnerability to risk?  All these questions – unanswerable, rhetorical maybe, but each a challenge to how I see, feel, and think about myself.

It amuses me to think that I’m just the latest in an infinite line of humans, of artists who have struggled to understand the nature and sense of inspiration.  Finding novelty in something as old and well-worn as the creative urge is both precious and fleeting.  I believe the work now is to make the effort to enjoy this time, and whatever it brings.

All-SM

I Can’t Move

Change/Transformation, Life, Poetry, Random Observations, Uncategorized, Writing

blocked blocks, round round, all rounded

puzzle pieces filling

fitting, seamless and tight and smooth

lost last spaces further

and further

away

optional is no longer an option

liberation is now less than a k

it’s not ok. I can’t move.

 

multiplication

diversification

gentrification

 

grasping grunting gobbling grabbing

high higher highest; close closer closest

packpackpack

 

tinned, salted, oiled, canned; metal keys roll us back

we’re beginning to smell

three fish or three days; reeking of never-ending visitors

 

olfactory assault | auditory hallucination | kinetic disarray

visual opulence and luxurious cultural overload

words of hipster wisdom “you’re so Erin Brokovich”

Everyday loneliness

Creative, Uncategorized, Writing

One

The minutiae of the every day
overwhelms my being
I can’t
let
it
go.
it has no Exit
there are no signs to show it out
no words outlining its path to freedom

I am trapped by my own experience
thrashing, longing
for the simple kindness of someone
else

Two

I want to share myself with others
but there is no room
for my mistakes,
the common ugliness
anger, blame, bitterness
all part of who I am

hidden from disinterested eyes
bottled
tucked away
they get the good stuff

I live alone
with everything else

Three

There is room only for coffee shop conversations
fleeting and surface, full of humor and wit, or intensely moving stories
of suffering and beauty
no space for talk about the officemate I can’t stand,
my loneliness and self-imposed restrictions,
feeling unappreciated and overlooked, invisible

forced laughs when it gets too close to my everyday pettiness,
making sure my “attitude of gratitude” shows; that I know how good I got it.

I see the silver linings and own my feelings, not making them someone else’s responsibility
or burden

there is no place for my regularness to show itself; my not-reasonable human-ness is not-welcome.

I am caught in my own hall of mirrors, the sole reflection. My throat bulges, stretched with all the unacceptable, indigestible me

Four

“No one likes a complainer”
they say
but what they mean
is that no one wants to find out
why they complain.
the real reason
the bleakness that lies underneath

It’s too hard
to bear someone else’s daily grief
with our own so ever-present

Writing by the light of my phone

It's Personal, Uncategorized, Writing

Once, recovering from a break up, I woke up at 2:39 a.m., almost crying.  I’d just had a bunch of confusing dreams about using a malfunctioning toilet installed in someone’s couch, while everyone was hanging around and chatting.  Of course, the toilet malfunctioned, I woke up, and these four poems were born.

I wrote the first one on my phone, because I couldn’t think where I left my paper and pen (right by the bed, of course).  I wrote it in an email to myself, in a dark room with only the eye-burning light of my phone screen and a bunch of stupid autocorrects.  2:51 a.m., done, light off, head back on the pillow. Number two promptly shows up and I reach for the phone again.  I respond to my first email, with the second poem, starting an odd call-and-response email chain with myself.  Four poems later, it’s 3:35 a.m. and I’m done.  I’m transcribing them here, with little editing, because I think the first drafts are usually most real.

Why am I blogging about this?  Because I learned an extraordinary thing – I learned, finally, what I’d always heard:  that poetry is what you use to express feelings that don’t truly have words.  I’ve never been a poetry girl, prose is my gig, so this is a Big Deal.  I finally understand that sometimes, telling a story or writing a reflection or observation simply doesn’t cut the mustard.  Sometimes, you have to use words to shape something that has no shape or color or smell, nothing except itself, surging through your being.

I do not fancy myself a poet, but experience made me feel like one.