Sometimes I feel conflict in the mornings between focusing on self-care activities such as writing and exercise or heading into the studio. I am sharpest in the mornings. I like to apply clarity of mind to my artistic pursuits.
Lately, I find myself booting up my computer more and more frequently to resolve this conflict. Am I experiencing a shift in my art practice? Am I becoming more .... fully? accurately? really? a writer? I don't know which of those words is most on-target, but I do find myself experimenting with new forms of creative expression of late- be they writing and publishing online or making videos for work or life. Although I have no doubt I will always be an object-maker, I wonder if the tsunami of social media is starting to wash off on me?
We know today's kids document every aspect of their lives. I'm pretty sure if I were a kid today I would be one who updates pages at lightning speed. Rather than trying to craft a public image of myself with party and friend photos, though, I would be one of those kids posting poetry and artwork, using the medium to try to figure out who I was, albeit on a public stage.
My mom, trapped in her house like the rest of us, has been digging through tucked-away boxes in the
closet, entertaining herself by reading saved correspondence. Who remembers letters? Stationery?
She tells me, through re-reading my old letters to her and my dad, that I am exactly the same person now as I was then. I find this fascinating. I’m not quite ready to read the letters and see for myself. I'm writing a book presently, a project I've been working on for a couple of years that has a lot to do with who and what made me who I am- as a mother, a daughter, an artist, a person. It will be exciting to read the letters; they are a time capsule of verbal snapshots. But I can't read them quite yet. I need to get a finished draft out of me first.
Being a private person is a value in my family. I was a loud, expressive youth, but I'm a private person now, just like my parents. I didn't post anything, ever, when my dad was ill or when he passed away. The people who needed to know what was going on found out through the traditional grapevine, word of mouth. I suppose social media is the current grapevine, with pictures. I don't remember posting anything when Elliot was born, but I was pretty occupied with birthing at the time. Maybe his dad posted something. It is fun to see someone's new baby.
Some things I won't post out of self-preservation. Strangers don't need to know more about my tender undersides than I am willing to expose. Nor do they need to know when I'm going out of town, leaving my house without an occupant or available for a kids' party. But I will, and frequently do, post photos of me and my sons, especially when they are trying something new or experiencing success. My feelings about my boys are so powerful that I am grateful to have a digital town crier though which to trumpet their accomplishments. What’s more, I intentionally use it to claim them publicly. In a roundabout way, posts like this let them know how proud I am of them, how excited I feel to watch them find their way in the world. In the old days, nothing ever made me feel better than to hear a friend of my dad's say, "You're Randi Sue? Your dad was just telling me about you the other day," followed by a specific question about my recently completed art camp or school play. My dad kept my artwork on the credenza behind his desk or framed on his office wall. By telling other people about me, my dad telegraphed how much he loved me.
A friend of mine, familiar with the terms "introvert" and "extrovert" in a Myers-Briggs sense, tells me I am a curious combination of both. I do not profess to have much knowledge of these tests, but I think she may be right. As an artist, I am an "introvert" when I use materials, line, shape and form to communicate something I prefer not to say with words. I am an "extrovert" when I make work to tell an interior story that is not complete until it is heard by another person.
Writing, it seems to me, is an effort to combine both of those tendencies, to unify two seemingly opposite approaches into one. I am hopeful this process will continue. I plan to encourage it by booting up tomorrow and committing to the page. Perhaps the new hybrid will serve me- and those around me- better than either one alone.
Take care of each other. Peace. -xo