Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lunch Break in the Salt Mines

"Once in a while you have to take a break and visit yourself ." - Audrey Giorgi

I am an artist. Blood and bones. I am never so happy as when I have paint and canvas, ink and paper, or photos and scrapbook pages in hand and an empty afternoon at my disposal. It is meat and drink to me to re-arrange the furniture and wall decor to celebrate the next phase of the church calendar and to welcome visitors. Or to light candles, turn off all the lights (because there's a whopping good thunderstorm that will likely turn them off anyway) and play some thundery Beethoven or Chopin or accompany my family singing hymns until the storm subsides (or we get tired of squinting).

I am an artist. That is difficult to remember amidst the rockslides and sluices of administration that the Lord has served me this spring and summer. I am making it possible for other people to exercise their arts, while I'm stuck with the pick and axe work. Is this really me? Why am I good at what I hate to do? Will I ever get to do art again (melodramatic sob)? Will I ever even get to blog regularly?

When my husband and I were first married, we moved half-way across the continent in our first week. No friends. No church. No family. No piano. No paints. No funiture to speak of. My husband's new job was fairly all-consuming.

What I did have to work with was chicken, well, and vegetables. I came to view these as my canvas. Those veggies had to be delicious, nutritious AND beautiful. It got to be a game: how many ways to serve chicken can I find or invent? Aristotle says that tangible matter resists the forms of perfection imposed upon them. I found it so with chicken - even the occasional hamburger defied the forms. My game was called 'taming the stubborn tangibles'. Eventually, I realized it was art.

Perhaps all I really need is to be able to view administration as art. The institutions are my canvas and people are my paints. Yes, and paperwork is my brush (heavy sigh!). These tangibles resist form more than any other media I have ever worked with. They have to be persuaded to stay on the canvas. They mix with the yellow instead of the blue. Regular paint doesn't have to want to be purple, but people have to want to be in the painting.

Is it art? I'll let you know, but maybe it's the end of the tunnel.


Ann V. said...

It is true. You are an artist. Your every post declares it.

Thank you for the time to grace our lives with the beauty of your words.

Ann V.

Kim Anderson said...

High praise indeed, coming from you!

Loni said...

Very artisticly written. I enjoyed reading about you and some of your life. My husband and I were totally on our own after we were married with no family around, so I can somewhat relate to what you said here too. :)

Darlene said...

I'd love to light the candles and listen to Bethoven. How great is that?

It's hard to be creative when the world is squishing you into it's demands, but it sounds like you are anyway.

Andrew said...

Beautiful. utterly Beautiful.

Sissy B. said...

A truly unique interpretation of this quote. I thoroughly enjoyed your way with words...you are an artist both with pen and ink and with the written word. Glad I dropped by.


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