“We but half express ourselves,
and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.”
(from “Self Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson)
A week-and-a-half ago I wrote a post I could have called I Am a Writer, and said how I anticipated that embracing that fact would . . . well . . . make all my wildest dreams come true; the main wild dream being to escape immobilizing depression.
I mean, really, don’t you get sick of fighting it EV–ER–Y day?
Apparently writing isn’t the omni-cure I had hoped it would be. (It has its depressing side too.)
The other day I was skimming through my daily feed (think about that term for half a tick: “daily feed”) on Facebook. and saw a lovely face. She’s a painted drawing by Katie Kendrick, friend-and-artist (whose classes I’ve taken).
Something about her delicacy, wistfulness, the hint of wind (maybe she has a windswept mind as well) . . . . Also, the glints of light—particularly the one in her bouquet—said something to me. “Whispering Hope,” maybe. I liked her and made inquiries. Katie meant to paint her, but I was graciously granted permission to purchase her as is.
She arrived in the mail on Friday and I’m delighted. In fact, inspired.
I’m not sure if this makes me acquisitive—I often find that buying something helps me in a way that merely viewing it doesn’t (someone called it “retail therapy” in a show we recently saw). It’s like I need(?) to own a thing I admire if it’s to have a nutritive effect in me. In some instances you can’t buy it; in museums I’ve seen a few paintings that obviously I can’t own, so writing about them is the best I can do to make it part of me. By creating something related to the thing which moved me, I’ve become a participant—mobilized instead of inactively depressed. If the evocative item is something I can own—well, perhaps it’s my acquisitive imagination, but—it seems I need to pay a price for participant/ownership. (Have I mentioned that I’m a nut case?)
It seems to have worked in (or for) this case. After purchasing Katie’s drawing, I began drawing again. Don’t ask me why I always forget that besides being a writer, I’m also an artist (better throw in dancer too, in an attempt to make a complete list of Necessities for Sue’s Emotional Health. OK, add pin loom pattern designer too).
Last night I seized a sketchbook and—I’ve become less-fastidious about which tools I use these days—a Papermate pen. (I’m not completely nuts; I might use a ball point pen instead of a watercolor pencil to draw, but obviously is has to be a Papermate.) And I drew. Then I added some watercolor pencil afterward.
And then this morning before church . . .
At church I saw a little girl sitting on the bench behind me talking to a drawing she had made in a notebook. She was living the art. I know this experience too. Art is not merely the product—it’s the process of expression.
March sweeps in with its tantalizing sunshine and bitter wind. I don’t remember anymore, but I wonder if I invented the name of my blog in some bygone March.
Flipping through the pages of my sketchbook I happened upon the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote at the top of this page. Actually the quote was incomplete; I had only written, “We but half express ourselves . . .”
Writer, artist, dancer, designer.
Be fully expressive.