The boy and I have been having some moments these days, so I took advantage of Fraser being around and headed to Starbucks with my computer, books and what was left of my sanity. The place was packed but I found a nice little corner and set up shop. I couldn't help but overhear some nearby conversations which, interestingly enough, were centered around photography and smugmug (something that someone suggested I look into).
I was able to focus on my own work as well, which felt absolutely wonderful. Earlier this fall, Jacob was in his Nuts About Nature class, and I went to a coffee shop every week for an hour and a half and just wrote. I was very proud of myself, for even though it was small step, it was something huge for me to be that regular about my writing. I've been catching time here and there since his class ended but nothing so regular yet. And so, spending some time this morning in my story felt really good. It was part of that whole, "choosing things that make me happy" thing that makes me feel like I come alive.
It was while I was packing up, though, that I stopped to chat with one of my "neighbours"; "Are you an artist?" he asked. Well, now.... that's an interesting question. I have just gotten to the point where I can say, out loud, "I am a writer". The name "artist", to me, means paints, canvas, sculptures, brushes, somehow being able to understand modern art. Writers and artists are different to me. And yet, isn't writing an art form, a way of expressing things? Isn't photography? So, I replied with a laugh, "I suppose parts of myself are."
As we talked for a few moments, he brought up some interesting thoughts on art: that we need it in our lives for whatever reason, that work has a way of pushing it out but without it, what are we, robots? This is paraphrased, of course, but it made my mind start going.
What role does art play in our lives? It's no doubt a fundamental aspect of being human, I think, because you see it in cultures across the world and since the beginning of the species. Art is something visceral, something that pulls the inner parts of us forward, making tangible those parts of us that are so deep and so important. For me, writing is not just a hobby but a compulsion to create, to express, to free some energy from within. Photography is a hobby, yet, but also something that saves my sanity some days, allows me to remember what's around me, to appreciate these days that are can be difficult, to be present.
To share our art is to share parts of ourselves, oftentimes intimate parts of ourselves. What a fantastic thing to be able to do together! What a wonderful thing in which to partake. I know I am a much better, more whole person, mama and wife when I spend time creating something, when I get to feel the joy that comes from that.
So, am I an artist? I guess so. I'm just not used to seeing myself like that... yet.