As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, being a writer or any kind of artist or creative person should involve sharing your work with others. For me, a large part of being a writer is sharing what I have learned and getting others to be creative, too. Despite everyone’s hectic schedules, more and more people seem to want some creative outlet for their own sanity. Life is tough, at all ages. Creativity is therapeutic for all. There are usually free classes at your local library in art and writing that will get you started.
When I used to give a lot of haiku workshops, I found that many people who attended told me they weren’t creative, but wanted to learn how to be. I believe that everyone is creative at something, whether or not they’ve realized it. And, I also believe that most people aren’t born creative–except for maybe some famous artists who have a creative gene. I believe most of us develop our creative skills through educating ourselves, practice, hard work, and perseverance.
Having my traveling haiku exhibit that rotates every three months, is another dimension of my creative life. I believe that my illustrated haiku, senryu, and haiku sequences draw people into reading poetry who might never have had an interest in it. People are drawn to art, and when it is combined with the written word, they are prone to reading the accompanying words.
As I get used to doing exhibits, it’s not as mentally and physically challenging as when I first began doing them. Lifting heavy framed art, hanging it appropriately (the right height), and coordinating it with the pieces hanging next to it by theme and color, used to be a challenge. I have learned to hang pieces on walls in an attractive way, not only combining certain artistic mediums, but dealing with allotted space so that pieces don’t visually-congest the viewer’s eye. I am also getting used to standing on a stool, the physical labor of tightening the screw on each rod that the piece hangs on, and stepping down from the stool to take a look at the piece from a distance, ensuring that it isn’t crooked.
But even before arriving at my exhibit destination, there is the physical labor of carefully packing each piece and transporting it so that damage doesn’t occur. I pack the frames, glass to glass, with a piece of cardboard or two separating them, and then tie the pieces together with rope. I also put cardboard on the backs of each piece.
Packing and transporting art safely has been something that I have had to learn, along with the hanging of pieces on the wall.
The physical and mental challenges are worth the effort for my traveling show, as I meet new people at receptions that are held for me at libraries and corporate buildings where the exhibits are held. I also do book signings of Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All at receptions.
The next time you catch yourself saying to someone that you aren’t creative, stop yourself. You are, if you think you are. It all starts with developing some skill that you are attracted to. And, if you think you don’t have the time, how about investing just 15 minutes each day?
For example, how about 15 minutes each day of trying to write a poem. That’s 105 minutes a week. And, that’s 420 minutes a month. That’s 5,040 minutes a year. A total of 84 hours a year. You could write and perfect a decent amount of poems in 84 hours each year and develop a portfolio. You just have to be disciplined enough to commit yourself to 15 minutes a day, come hell or high water. Even 15 minutes before you go to bed.
If you can’t bring yourself to write a line, write down ideas for the poem’s theme. Look around your room: look at colors, shapes, look outside your window. Try to describe things. Any artist is observant. That’s how it starts. You can do it, if you really want to.
By the way, my current haiku exhibit–illustrated by artists selected by literary organizations that gave me awards for my poetry–is at the Fremont Public Library in Mundelein, IL, 1170 N. Midlothian Rd. It will be there until April 1.
There will be a reception for me at the Library, Wednesday, March 15 at 6 p.m. It is free, and everyone is invited for refreshments and conversation. And, I will sign my book. I hope to see old friends who follow me around to each exhibit, and I also hope to meet new ones! My exhibits are co-sponsored by the Northwest Cultural Council in Barrington, IL.
Copyright 2017 by Charlotte Digregorio.
Charlotte, this article was so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your creative activities with us from writing the haiku to packing and displaying your haiku for exhibit.
Best wishes, I would love to attend.
Thanks, Marilyn! I hope to meet you someday at a haiku conference. You have such a vast portfolio of haiku! I hope you combine art with it, too, and share it in public places.
Another very interesting and instructive post, Charlotte.
My own practice is to get up early and write before breakfast. Later my days turn hectic. But making the most of those early morning sessions necessitates having good ideas to work on. The best of these usually come unexpectedly whilst busy with this and that during the day: bargain-hunting in charity shops, assembling flat-pack furniture, whatever. Though they might have to stew awhile at the back of my head before I use them.
The trick is in recognising the poetic potential in things. A certain awareness is required. But this can be developed, as can the other skills needed to produce good work for sharing through publication and performance – given aptitude, commitment and much hard work, that is. Yes, I’m with you on this.
Best wishes for the continuing success of your travelling haiku exhibit.
Thanks, Paul, for commenting. I totally agree. And, in the morning, one’s mind is sharper, too. And, as you say, one can develop one’s skills as a writer. I always hate it when someone says that one is born a writer. Thank you for your kind wishes. My exhibit is getting a lot of attention, and I am grateful. Appreciatively, Charlotte
Your drawing is beautiful. The fusion of words and immagine is very evocative. I share your thoughts, dear Charlotte.
Thank you so much, Eufemia. The artist is Lidia Rozmus, Polish-born, now living in Chicago. She is a dear friend of mine and a haiku poet, too.