I have come up to Lesson #9 and made some decisions along the way, ending up not where I thought I’d be when I started this online adventure. I boggled down around week 6 or 7, going on vacation then trying to get back in the groove but never finding it. I had got in touch with what I still love to do, and am good at—brush lettering; what I love to do, need more experience at—stitching; what I’ve lost the thrill of or the animating force for—dying, screenprinting, art quilts, and exhibiting ; what I want more of and need more schooling/training for—surprise!—prose/non-fiction writing/memoir. It’s becomingclear.
In the history I wrote, the How I Got to Here part, I noticed several periods wheremy visual art interests overrode my love of language and I had passed overopportunities to explore writing. I have been getting burnt out on fiber art anyway but thought I just needed new material/inspiration and that after going for my masters in poetry and then taking this course, I would come back to it. And I have tried, happy to find that lettering my own poetry in brush calligraphy onto art cloth I’ve already designed is the complete creative“package” I had wanted to achieve. It’s thrilling in its own way—but I realize it’s not my life’s work. Fiber arts carried me through an important transition in my life, but there’s not anything else I want to explore with it, and I’ve lost all energy for exhibition opportunities. So I didn’t want or need to write toward an artist statement or personal history—my poems say that for me—but I find I have more stories I want to tell, to uncover, flesh out, and. . . I’m not finished learning about writing well. Poetry is not a big enough container for whereI want to go here. And fiber art, once the perfect container to say my soul’s journey, now isn’t big enough either.
Thanks in part to these writing exercises(and also recent exchanges with a literary pen pal working on memoir and essay), I realize this is where the juice is for me. I surprised myself last week by following up, within 24 hours of thinking of it, on an idea that hit me: I have signed up for a semester of correspondence/
guidedstudy with one of the nonfiction faculty from Pacific U where I just graduated from. Though the level of study and focus is a bit intimidating—as well as the cost—I recognize this as the Next Best Thing to do.
I’m keeping 2 or 3 stitching projects out to work on in my studio, to kind of keep my finger in the pie, and to stay connected to the meditative experience I find in stitching. I’m pretty amazed to end up here. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
--Martha K. Grant 11/15/15