Wise words from Madonna.
Speaking of inspiration, there is a lot to be had. My friend Sue invited me to her Artists' Link meeting on Monday, and it was so much fun. I was the youngest in the room by 35 years, but that didn't bother me a bit. These people have been making/teaching/loving art for their whole lives, and they are all so so so so so talented. It was incredible. What a gem to find in Memphis. If there's anything I LOVE talking about constantly, it's art. Next to talking about God (and now Ben), it's my favorite subject. This week's program featured a show and tell by the members who chose to participate, and seeing what these artists work on was fascinating. To the outside world, they probably appear to be weird old people, but when they stand behind their work, they are young, vibrant, creative, interesting artists who are always learning. It made me feel prreeetttyyy lame to complain about finding creative inspiration to continue making art when these people have been making new art for 50 years. They are constantly open to what can be their next fun project and most of them just work, letting it flow freely from them until they come up with something that they can call "finished." Some have very methodical ways of working. Some are constantly working and they can't describe what they do. Some just attack a subject and do it in an hour.
The artistic process has always been such a mystery to me. It's something that I now know is a unnamed force--whether it be natural or divine or both--it just...happens. It can't be forced, it just has to be called forth by something and then there's no turning back. You have to acknowledge it in order to be fulfilled. Sooooo weird.
I have never thought of myself as an artist. Well, I've never really put myself into any sort of category, really. I've kindof always been this floater person--I play well with others. Athletes, preppy kids, art kids, nerd kids, pretty kids--I am able to relate to them all. Obviously it's something I take a little bit of pride in, but I really shouldn't because I think it just means that I've never claimed anything for myself. The Existentialist in me HATES labels of any kind, and through relating to so many different types of people, I find my meaning. However, that's sort of a cover-up, an excuse for never finding a niche.
The older I get, the more and less I know about myself. For example: Three years ago, I knew what my life would look like--a husband, an animal, a house, a job, in-laws. Now, I have no idea. Therefore, I know less. On the other hand, I know more than I did three years ago about how to listen to God and how to name and use the gifts I have been given. I think some people call this concept wisdom.
I am finding what defines me. I can do many other things, have many other job titles, be an assortment of names to my friends and neighbors. No matter what, my name is always going to be Ellen and I will always be a creative human. For a long time I denied myself that creative portion of my brain and my heart--most likely because I feared what it might turn into and it would make me do things that were scary. Well, since I've let it take over my entire self, I now know I had reasons to be afraid because it has changed me and led me to some fearful (but wonderful) precipices. Now that creative junt has infiltrated every part of how I live. It forces me to be honest, less guarded, and very present to life. While I'm more open, I'm less sensitive to little things--it has made me gain an awareness of who God has made me to be, and little things just don't matter. And the big things matter even more than they used to. I no longer feel trapped--I am getting to know myself, and I think I would be friends with me if I were not me.
And everything is spiritual.
I keep forgetting to put these snowy pictures up. I haven't even edited them. Straight out the camera. If I ever say there is nothing in this city to make art out of, you should tell me that I'm an idiot. It is everywhere.