Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings... Finding Time for Art

I just read Aimee's post from her residency and found it inspiring. I believe as writers we need to take that time away from the world, from our lives, from our family, from our paid work to go away and write.

Is it harder for moms than dads? If it's a family with a stay at home mom and a working dad, then my generalization mind says, it's probably emotionally harder for the mom to leave and probably physically harder for the dad to leave due to job vacation constraints. Vice versa if it's a stay at home dad, working mom situation. Ultimately, it's hard for anyone to take 2 weeks to a month off just for themselves (unless you're living in France, as the French take and receive long vacations, or should I say "holiday"). And with two working parents, it gets even harder.

Our country doesn't make it easy on its artists. We have to find our way, clear our own path every day of the week. It's not an easy task. Vacation is limited. Time is limited. Life is limited. But we need to make our way, cut down the blackberry vines that have tangled themselves in our way.

I don't believe art is a luxury and while I recently heard someone say, Art is a privilege, I'm not sure I buy that either. What do I think? Arts are a necessity. As important as food, water, shelter, love, friendship, health. It nurtures us. As does nature. Another necessity in my book. I could get rid of a lot extras in my life, but I was a sad soul with my books and my music. When I am feeling low, I go to museums. I read about others in the world who are living their art. Twyla Tharp, who said "Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."

For me, writing helps me make sense of everything. It has been the one constant in my life. I am thankful how little you need to write-- pencil, paper. And yes, a little time, but we can find it, steal it in between disasters, imagined or otherwise. The time is there for us, we decide how we're going to use it.

So tell me what you wrote today. Or will write today.


  1. Art is definitely a necessity, and ought not be a luxury or a privilege.

    For quite a few years I had the great luck of working at a couple of jobs where I able (legally, as it were) to write while I was at work. That obviously helps with finding time to write...

    My current job (been there upwards of 12 years) doesn't allow that, though I still write frequently on my breaks in the mornings before I start work. I don't have kids, which definitely leaves me with more time that I'd have if I had kids.

    I once talked briefly on the phone with Twyla Tharp. It was one of those David Letterman "brush with greatness" kind of things -- I was working in a departmental office at the U. of Minnesota (this was ca. 1976-77), in an experimental program where people took classes in all manner of subjects, including dance classes. One day at the office I answered the phone and the woman on the line asked for the dance instructor there, she wasn't in so I took a message, "Could you please let her know Twyla Tharp called." I'd never heard of Twyla Tharp before that, though it's not the kind of name one forgets.

    I didn't write anything down today -- I have lots of days like that -- though I did sit with my notebooks open for a while, which is my basic discipline with writing. (Actually I did write a couple of paragraphs for a possible draft for an Afterword for a manuscript I'm putting together. Didn't write any poems today though.)

  2. Nice Twyla story, yes, a name you don't forget!


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