Letting go and getting out

Published 7:21 pm Friday, April 26, 2019


Coffee with Mimi

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times.  Yes, you can. 

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I was born into a family full of incredibly talented people.  They were, as is often the case, as annoying as siblings.  All are younger than I,  which makes it worse since I was always aware of their existence.  In the back of my head was always a smidge of desire to be artistic in some way or the other.  And there was always a brother or sister who was that, often in more ways than one.  There is the gifted singer, the string player, the architect, the writer, the crafts person.  They performed and created.  They went out there and did it.

I was always reluctant, for whatever reason.  Acquaintances in the mental health field probably have grist for the analytical mill.  I enjoyed playing the supporting roles backstage and around the edges.  In theater, a brother was the star.  Even my youngest brother got into the act and performed as a little kid in a high school play. My participation was always painting the base coat on the scene flats and gathering costumes.

By my senior year in high school, despite many long hours at the theater, I had yet to make an appearance on the stage.  You really can’t count camp activities.  I decided, without the permission of the faculty director, and in collusion with my best friend, to do just that.  In this particular play, there was a scene which required a couple, dressed in period costumes, to walk across the stage to denote the passage of time.  The backdrop was a row of buildings. In proper fashion, the woman would be positioned on the inside of the sidewalk, her hand in the crook of her male companion’s bent elbow.

I just so happened to have a dress suitable for the period, borrowed the hat, gloves and such from the student actually cast in the role and tossed on a bit of makeup. To get the experience I wanted and seal my inclusion in the annals of theater history, my companion and I reversed our positions and I walked on the outside of the imaginary sidewalk; the better to get a reaction from the director in the pit.  I don’t know if I was more nervous about the walk or his reaction.  But, the effect was worth my one and only voluntary foray into the world of performance. 

Some would say my weekly submission to the newspaper counts as a creative endeavor.  I view it as my chance to say what I want without interruption.  You do remember, I grew up in a large household among people who never hesitated to voice an opinion, on any manner of topics, all the time.   

But, now I have gone and done it.  I have signed on the dotted line to put a piece of my own work in a local art exhibit.  I can’t back out now.  People will know I wimped out and I will have no good excuse.

Since I spend my waking hours in the world of art encouraging anyone and everyone to try their hands at various artistic mediums, I figure I better walk the talk or get out.  So, I have designed a piece which plays on my sewing experience, my interest in Frank Lloyd Wright, and the constant need to dress up my outdoor living space.  What I am creating will remain a secret, requiring you to visit the exhibit to view it.

How do I feel about this leap out of anonymity?  Weak in the knees. 

Yes, I can sew.  I have made a wedding dress and reconstructed one, as well, which was harder.  I made sweet little girl’s dresses and little boy’s rompers.  I can make slip covers and curtains and tablecloths.  All that is utilitarian and there is a pattern to follow, so you know what goes where in order for the thing to fit.   But, to put a piece of creative work in a room on a wall with a little card next to it giving it a name and saying who did it?  That’s saying you know something about yourself and are willing to let other people know it and maybe think about it and maybe not like it. 

Is that what I am afraid of?   Am I concerned that placing my idea out there is letting too much go?  Well, that is the point.  A friend sat in my office recently and told me to get out of the pattern. I took her seriously: Time’s a wastin’.

Truthfully, I don’t know anyone who isn’t better off after they dabble a bit in creative pursuits and then share the results.  Gather with a few like-minded sorts and your outlook on the day improves dramatically.  Last week, I tried “pour paint”.  A group of artist friends and I all put on aprons and poured and tilted and used torches.  The result was fun and you can see that on exhibit in June. It’s good to work without a pattern.