Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I am a(n)...?

When my kids were younger, one of the things they enjoyed doing was water painting. On nice days, I'd set them up outside with a bucket of water and some cheap, long-handled paint brushes, and they could paint and paint to their hearts' delight all over the sidewalk and the patio. The fact that their creations evaporated within minutes (or seconds, depending on if it was May or August) was part of the fun...it was like magic, and you instantly had a clean slate to work with.

After finishing NaNo early-early Sunday morning, and being in the midst of several holiday projects, I got into one of my reflect-about-my-life funks Sunday night. And so, as I was caught up in all kinds of thoughts, I walked out of my studio to do some laundry and as I did, the corner of my eye caught sight of one of those long-handled paint brushes the kids used so long ago. I picked it up, and with a jar of water, I commenced writing out my thoughts -- most in keyword form -- on the basement's concrete floor. The floor was warm, as the wood stove was burning not too far from where I was, so, just as the August sun did for my kids, so the stove did for my words...allowed them to be for a moment and then wiped them away for me to start again.

I only played at this for a few moments, feeling kind of silly yet enjoying the freedom to write whatever I wanted without any lasting effect. But it was good, cheap therapy because I found the same words kept dancing off the end of my brush...the words that answered the question I kept pondering that night: who am I?

I kept wondering, in the wake of NaNo, am I a writer? Really? I used to be, but am I still? I have nothing to show for it these days other than my blog, my journaling and a lot of unfinished fiction. Do I still qualify?

I kept wondering, amid the scads of stamps, inks, paints, papers, fibers, metals, adhesives and other supplies that surround me everyday, and with my cameras sitting nearby, am I an artist? Really? After all, I could be sitting in a roomful of surgical equipment and that would not make me a surgeon. However, I do enjoy creating -- immensely -- but I am so ready to take that to the next level, to do it with more intention and more purpose, but I am unsure about what that might be. So, does simply sitting here playing with this stuff really qualify me as an artist if I never get any further than I am now?

Honestly, most of the time I'm fine, fine, with myself as I am. These questions do not plague me day in and day out. It's just sometimes...because sometimes I wonder if I'm really living my purpose here in this world, or am I somehow missing the whole point?

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