Discover more from Methods & Muses
Methods & Muses Vol. 36
August has been a collage-of-a-month.
Due to our continued state of housing unrest (as in, we’re not resting, we’re rest-less/not sleeping), we still haven’t reached a balanced composition, a sense of home.
In this state, I’ve realized how much I value (and miss) my own desk and studio, my routine, the writing and art-making schedule I’ve nourished for years.
So, as I’ve tried to work in August, I’ve had to breathe, even, deeper.
I’ve had to be ok with art arriving in fragments.
If August has also left you twirly, like your art is without its usual rhythm, if you’re feeling un-glued, take heart, take inventory, and maybe lean on a list like this:
1. Poems come in fragments – one line, one stanza at a time, and poems don’t always group into categories that make sense. I’ve had to remind myself of this. I’ve had to chant, So what? So what if I am trying to finish a poem about Disco, and at the same time, a poem about Wolf pups. Are they related? I don’t know, probably not, but so what, who cares?
2. Writing projects and processes are frag-men-ted. I write poetry, song lyrics, and some prose. Inside all of these, there’s journaling and composing, revising, editing, and proofreading, giving and receiving, accepting and rejecting feedback. There’s research, which is fun, and submitting, which is nerve-racking. There’s the meta-daba-doo of artist statements and bios, and let’s not forget, fees – shipping, subscriptions, events, memberships, and book budgets – Oh my! How much money and time for all of this, totally? I don’t know. But it’s ok.
3. Collage is literally fragments – paper, fabric, embroidery thread, tile, wood, cut-out and transferred images, drawings, linoleum cuts, sticks, shells – it’s messy. Will it all come together? Will it feel composed? Maybe. Does it matter? Collage, visual art, all art, is matter, so yes, it matters. Touch the textures. Get close. Smell the color pencils. Stain your skin with ink. Relish the time with these fragments…
4. Music is – lyrics + melodies + rhythms = songs. Sure, I have Donna Summer and Kate Bush in my head at the same time, and I can’t sleep, because there are so many good hooks, and they loop-de-loop, dee-loop, dee-loop inside my brain. It’s ok. The chorus is out there. Is music cheapened, taken for granted, ubiquitous in rich countries like ours, like electricity and the internet? Yes. Should it be? No! Absolutely not. When I hear a song, I have to remember – this is someone’s body, someone’s lungs, throat, breath, extending, offering a gift for my body, my ears, feet, legs, belly and hips. Bird song, bat chatter, wing on wind, tree-wave, water current, cat purr, wolf howl, dog silence. All voices, all instruments are important. A cello is sacrifice – a tree singing after death. Cherish and respect music.
5. Snippets of conversation are fun fragments. My new friend says, I think my narrator is a potato, and I say, I like your brain. Later, my 4H T-shirt attracts attention and questions, so I answer the young women. I say, I grew tomatoes and sewed puff quilts. And you? I am delighted by their answers: I tended sheep. I made collages. At the sound of the word ‘collages,’ I light up and say, Me too! I loved the 4H art building at the fair! Then, I invite them, as I am inviting you, any reader in or near Madison in November. I tell the young women about Art Lit Lab, and the Personal Timelines class I’ll be teaching in Autumn, another frolic season, before the quiet of Winter. So…
Frolic with your fragments!
Art is home. Art is home. Art is home.