Amid high fashion in last weeks WSJ Spring Fashion Issue, I found artist and poet Etel Adnan. A woman who quietly creates in two genres.
As we become more attached to our electronic fixes, twitter feed, instagram postings, whatever distracts and entertains, the artist in us waits. Instead of creating, I am on Pinterest looking at what other people have created . . . it is one thing to be inspired, another to use my precious time unwisely.
The muse, mine is less like an ephemeral angel, and more like Medusa, blows in furious and loud, asking pointed questions and making opinionated observations.
so when are you getting off that computer?
put it down, put down the phone.
the child is talking to you, look at his face.
another episode of House of Cards, really?
you do know there is no discernible subtlety in texts?
didn't you look at your Facebook page ten minutes ago?
didn't you look at your Facebook page fifteen minutes ago?
We are a bunch of easily distracted animals. Distraction does not make for good art. (Nor does it enrich our relationships.) The beauty of my sitting on my bed in my pajamas typing while listening to Spotify is its seductive ease. I am beautifully distracted.
If Etel had spent her time googling the life out of herself, what a vast wealth of wonder we would have lost. And what are we losing of our own creative life by hiding in our increasingly vapid cyber-worlds? Even the word "friend" has been cheapened. Becoming a friend takes time, usually years of nurturing reciprocal entanglement. A friend on Facebook may be someone you don't know or even care to know. But we have 238 of them, and suddenly we are all in high school again aching to be popular.
Some gentle suggestions:
call your friend (the real one) just to hear her voice.
hug a child.
pet a dog.
read a book, a real paper and ink book. Murakami preferably.
and stop reading this blog entry, go for a long walk, then come back home and create something exquisitely your own.
Oh, if you didn't read the article, Etel is 90 years old.
My writing often deals with the environment, my poetry filled with allusions to natural and man-made disasters. I have unlimited hope though; there is just too much wonder in this world to become a defeatist. To quote Margaret J. Wheatley, '"Hopelessness has surprised me with patience."