Thursday, January 1, 2015

An Obvious Thing

Happy 2015!

Yesterday I was busy organizing my computer folders and realized I'm horrible at keeping track of some things (like how many poems I've actually published in a year).  I'm trying to keep track of my published poems for grants and stuff.  So after reviewing my system, I decided to open a folder of poetry stuff just for 2015.  Keeping my poems, my submissions, my acceptances and rejections all in one place.  We'll see if that helps.  You'd think that kind of organization would be an obvious thing, but....

I also was facebooking and came across this wonderful commencement speech a MacArthur Genius Fellow had given.  Teresita Fern├índez has this wonderful list of things artists should remember so I'm sharing them here because I think they're spot on:


  1. Art requires time — there’s a reason it’s called a studio practice.
  2. Learn to write well and get into the habit of systematically applying for every grant you can find. If you don’t get it, keep applying. I lived from grant money for four years when I first graduated.
  3. Nobody reads artist’s statements. Learn to tell an interesting story about your work that people can relate to on a personal level.
  4. Not every project will survive. Purge regularly, destroying is intimately connected to creating. This will save you time.
  5. Edit privately. As much as I believe in stumbling, I also think nobody else needs to watch you do it.
  6. When people say your work is good do two things. First, don’t believe them. Second, ask them, “Why”? If they can convince you of why they think your work is good, accept the compliment. If they can’t convince you (and most people can’t) dismiss it as superficial and recognize that most bad consensus is made by people simply repeating that they “like” something.
  7. Don’t ever feel like you have to give anything up in order to be an artist. I had babies and made art and traveled and still have a million things I’d like to do.
  8. You don’t need a lot of friends or curators or patrons or a huge following, just a few that really believe in you.
  9. Remind yourself to be gracious to everyone, whether they can help you or not. It will draw people to you over and over again and help build trust in professional relationships.
  10. And lastly, when other things in life get tough, when you’re going through family troubles, when you’re heartbroken, when you’re frustrated with money problems, focus on your work. It has saved me through every single difficult thing I have ever had to do, like a scaffolding that goes far beyond any traditional notions of a career.

I personally think #3 and 4 are especially important.  Well, #5 too but I think that goes for a lot of things--although I'm not as private as I think I am.  Or would like to be.  (Update:  Here is a link to the complete speech:  http://www.penultimosdias.com/2013/05/15/on-amnesia-broken-pottery-and-the-inside-of-a-form/

Anyway, I hope your writing and my writing are better than ever this year.  


Orange, Enormous 
        
to be a lunatic, fellowing the moon
shining, binding in quartz cracks

broken? no bracken,
leaves grown flown and blacking

I'll mumble I'll bramble
up slide down rise flattering scree

cluttering tattering full to fall
all the way to tamarack stands

crayons of larch trees please me
as they dip they tip they drip rain

sips, a psalm on my tongue
my roots laced to ground, found

the soil slinks to sap — I've tapped
I'm home come wholed

held healed in a halo of moon sight
lit I leap, lip, leaf into singing





4 comments:

  1. Great list, and I enjoyed Ms. Hall's poem. I hope we all write our best poems this year.

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  2. Here's the link to her whole speech: http://www.penultimosdias.com/2013/05/15/on-amnesia-broken-pottery-and-the-inside-of-a-form/
    Happy New Year, Sarah!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great stuff, inspiring. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Kathleen!

      Delete

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