Love. Art. Repeat.

painted_heart-t2

Welcome Summer!

We have a new process for the web page that we’re very excited about. We will have a rotating schedule of writers whose prompts will be more focused on the writing process, although don’t be surprised if you see a creative prompt now and then. We welcome your comments, and hope to inspire and/or prod the writer in you.

This my mantra: Love. Art. Repeat

Love and art can take many forms, including taking care of yourself and standing up for what is right over what is comfortable or convenient. It includes seeking and speaking truth: external truth, your truth, even existential Truth. It includes accountability for the consequences of our decisions, for we have a greater impact on each other than we recognize.

It is painting a landscape, sculpting movement in stone, scoring a concerto, yes. But it is also knitting socks, capturing the light, drawing a monster, plaiting ribbons, stringing words like beads or fish, carving a whistle, building a chair, making a puzzle, shaping pottery, sketching the profile of a beloved, cooking an omelet, stitching flowers onto cloth.

It includes every voice, from the barest whisper to the loudest roar. It includes every sense, from what can be seen and touched to what can be felt only with the heart. It includes every defiant act of creativity—and every act of creativity is, indeed, defiant. Perhaps wildly so, perhaps gently, but yes, defiant. Defying even death, with the heartbeat of I am, I am, I am.

Wherever the drive to create comes from, it carries our voices somewhere else: creating within the industrious din of a city or on the mountaintop of intellectuality; creating far out on the ink-black sea of contemplation or from the verdant fields of community; creating within the crushing void of overthinking or from the wide vistas of a spirit at peace. Every creation a lantern lifted high to carry its flame into the darkening sky.

It includes love for our country that calls for deep thought and considered action. It includes love for our fellow human beings who need our protection and support–including future generations whose world we shape with our decisions. It includes love for our remarkable, irreplaceable planet. It includes love for love’s sake and for all of ours. It includes hope and compassion and backbone and fortitude and a fire in our veins.

This we must do—over and over and over—or all else is meaningless.

Love. Art. Repeat. 

Darla Kennerud

Art

In pairs, groups, circles,

We

Sew, sculpt,  bake, build, paint, weave,

Listen—

Making

Trust.

Chalice, membrane, fountain, firework,

Our artifact

Breathes

Over, through, within, under, beyond

Us,

Begetting

Love

 

In pairs, groups, circles,

We

Sew, sculpt,  bake, build, paint, weave,

Listen—

Making

Trust.

Chalice, membrane, fountain, firework,

Our artifact

Breathes

Over, through, within, under, beyond

Us,

Begetting

Love

Emily Dietrich

Love. Art. Repeat.

I write poetry. I don’t write novels, short stories, essays, or memoirs because (to me) these genres all require plots and plotting. I don’t have a talent for plotting.

For me, a poem is an emotion and writing about emotion. No plotting required! I can write about emotions. And yet this is funny, because for many years, I did not experience emotions.

My mother was… let us just say that my mother should never have had children—or in fact never have been allowed around children. My youngest years were not conducive to being a happy, beloved child nor to producing an adult who could create and maintain normal, healthy relationships with other people.

My father was my source of loving and being loved, of feeling worthy of love. When my parents announced their divorce when I was seven, I was devastated. The one and only person who loved me was going away and I would not see him very often. Starting that evening and for at least the next twenty years, I was the epitome of Star Trek’s emotionless Mr. Spock, even before Star Trek existed.

As I passed through high school and college and went out into the big, wide world, however, I saw other people experience emotions as though those emotions were ordinary, everyday things. Eventually, with much work on my own and with the help of therapy, I decided that feeling emotions (beyond a general irritability for everyone and everything) might be something both safe and worthwhile that I could do.

Today I’m grateful to feel emotions: happy and unhappy, pleasant and unpleasant, mild to very intense. Having lived both with and without emotions, I am definitely in favor of living with them and fully feeling them. I find the intense emotions—whether joy or rage—are very scary, but I would still rather feel scary, intense emotions than feel nothing at all.

I love my emotions. I write poetry. Repeat!

Jules Dickinson ’77

The Mythopoesis of Love

For the past few days, hour after hour, I have been immersed in note-taking on Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan. Now what on God’s green earth would motivate me to do such a thing? Have I developed some kind of program of atonement based on utter boredom? Do I believe that the intricacies of Hobbes’s distinction between contracts and covenants is important to know? (By the way, you can’t have a covenant with a beast. Nope.) None of the above; I am painstakingly doing this because I am taking an online class called Revolutionary Ideas: Utility, Justice, Equality, Freedom.

But why am I doing that? I’m taking the class because I’m giving a presentation in a couple of weeks about the Mythopoesis of Alternative Justice at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association annual conference. Why? Because I’ve read a bunch of books in this past year about different areas of North America (that includes Mexico and Canada, folks!), and the roots of their immigrants, their belief systems, and the stories we all tell (books, movies, TV) that illustrate our anxieties and profound hopes about justice. That doesn’t explain it, really, though, does it?

Why did I pick that topic right now? Because I need to understand, like many, many of my fellow Americans, what is happening in this country. I’m scared, and hurting, so fundamentally confused, and can find no unity nor answers by talking. Even conversations I have with people with whom I agree feel tense and angry. But I don’t think yelling at each other or retreating to preconceived notions about what is important in “your” America is going to work at all. So, I did what I can do very well. I decided to love and write. (And apparently exhaust my brain to the point that reading an article in Popular Science seems frivolous.)

This is at the core of all my creative efforts: I want the fruit of my labors to be reflective of who I am as a person, and not what I believe. To me, if my writing, and my cooking, and all my other quests to create nice things isn’t rooted in this desire to understand and love, then it’s not worth making. I wrote a paper, and made a Power Point presentation, and got some awesome movie and TV clips, and thought of some funny ways to tell people about my paper. I’m not trying to change what anyone thinks, or make some self-important statement about right, wrong, and what people should be thinking about. I am trying to create out of love.

Liz Burr-Brandstadt ’91

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