Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Liberal Artist


I talked to a writer friend yesterday who asked, "Are you still getting up early to write?"

"Well, no."  I replied and then sort of stammered around, trying to come up with an excuse.  After our conversation, my response started to bother me.  Why haven't I been getting up early to write?  Why haven't I been writing as much over the past two months?  I had some good momentum going this winter—inspired by a few things, including the book: If You Want to Write.  I wrote a short story and submitted it to an online journal.  It was rejected, and since then I've thought about how I might use parts of my story to write something else entirely, and submit the new piece to a beautiful publication you may know about: taproot.  I'm working on that now, but mostly in my head.  

In my head?  Because, well, it's spring!  In the spring I have to go outside and put my hands in the dirt.  Not that gardening and writing are mutually exclusive, of course.  But I'm finding that my spring energy is different.  I am more physically exhausted at the end of the day, more eager to get outside first thing in the morning, and I'm just not as compelled to write.  But upon thinking about it further, this is perhaps my joy and my challenge: by nature I seem to be a liberal artist.  I do a little of this and a little of that: cooking, editing, knitting, gardening, photographing, writing, serving on a local board of directors, reading, and—most of all—mothering.  Gratefully my role as mother offers me ample opportunities every day to be the liberal artist that I love to be.

But at some point, if she is to reach her full potential, must the liberal artist choose to specialize in (at least) one thing?  Although we're all liberal artists to a certain extent, when 'should' our pursuit of knowledge and practice go deeper instead of wider? 

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