Journal of an Aspiring Artist: Introduction

She filled up dresses, blew up skirts, parted hair, pushed and pulled at everyone. The wind. On my way home, I opened my arms wide. "You're flying!" A woman behind me said. We laughed. "I would do the same but my hands are full." She looked down and I followed her eyes to the bags hanging from her fingers. I liked her for liking what I was doing and for saying so. I smiled at her  and told her I could hold the bags for her if she wanted. She laughed some more and I joined in. We wished each other good night.  Water does evaporate, so perhaps the breeze is sea. I am fish.

I was coming home from Edwidge Danticat's reading of Claire of the Sea Light at Hunter College.  She read up on the 8th floor with glass walls that showcased arrogant skyscrapers lit by a setting sun, then by their own man-made lights and reflections from the blue light of night. I am unfamiliar with Danticat. I went to the reading on a whim. This spring/summer/autumn I want to hear and learn of more authors, peruse more art, listen to more music. When I found in my inbox the email about her reading, I RSVP-ed for the first time since I subscribed to the Hunter College MFA Distinguished Writers Series almost four years ago.  I liked meeting a writer who is not a professor of mine and whose work I am learning of as I am learning of her. To a student's question about her writing process, she said to write now rather than wait for that perfect moment. That the now influences ones writing. It made me think that writing is a journal of sorts. Little autobiographies hidden in fiction, in poetry. I suppose it is time I start writing again and practicing my abstract photography. I have been trying this year. I am hoping this journal will help me stay focus. One of my challenges is that I have several interests and sometimes it is hard to focus on just one thing.

Not so long ago, I read something from Brain Pickings which got me thinking that in taking myself seriously, I stood in my own way. However, in not taking myself seriously, I  allow myself a bigger room to grow. Putting it in another way: though falling on ones face is humiliating and makes one vulnerable, who am I to think myself too good for that sort of common experience. Why should I be spared that through which I may learn more of myself. That which will encourage and enrich my humanity, strengthen my ability to reach others and be reached by them.  In a sense, I am taking myself seriously by not taking myself seriously. As I put it here, is the clearest explanation I have yet managed.

what I do
what I love to do
what I am afraid of
why I am afraid
if I was not afraid
what is the worst that could happen
what I am working on
what I should be working on
what I would like to be working on
why I am working/not working on what I should/should not be working on
what I want to become
what I am
where I am

I am a photographer, a writer: poetry. I design things I can find excitement in wearing and crochet, knit, and sew. I want to learn illustration and videography. The reason why I am not an artist is because I do not feel that I am one. Or perhaps it is because it feels overwhelming and too restricting to classify myself as such. I believe in experiments, in process, in progress rather than destinations. I am okay going through life as an aspiring artist rather than as an artist. It buys me the excuse to not take myself too seriously.



Jacqueline said…
I'm blown away by how much we think alike. I know exactly where you're coming from, Jane.
Jane Odartey said…
That's awesome, Jacqueline. Thank you. :)

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