Eye (1946), Mezzotint.
I recently saw an exhibit of Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The exhibit is well curated, with works from the artist’s early beginnings up to his last work of art.
It was fascinating to see the world through Mr. Escher’s keen perspective. His Italian period, still life work, depicts details and subtleties that seem almost impossible to be captured by the naked eye. He captures and produces these visual moments in time without the use of any of the high resolution digital camera equipment and photography software of today. The work clearly required precision and a painstakingly steady hand.
M.C. Escher should perhaps even be considered the father of the “selfie” as my eight year old son referred to his favorite piece of the exhibit, shown below.
Hand with Reflecting Sphere (1935)
It is not always easy to look at oneself in a mirror and readily accept what one sees. I, for example, these days would like to see myself a few pounds lighter and showing less signs of wear. It will take hard work and diligence for me to achieve this healthier vision of me, a resolution topping my list this time of year for the next.
How we relate to pictures of ourselves is an interesting phenomenon. Think of all of the pictures we may have in a lifetime, candids, school pictures, significant events. We may look back at an old picture and wince, wondering what we may have been thinking to think what we were wearing looked well on us. We may have pictures we are reluctant to look back at because the memories or longing they bring back may be too painful. Then, there are the pictures of ourselves we may really like because we look really good in those pictures but we may find ourselves feeling too self-conscious to say so. How lucky we are to be able to blur our self image across profile pics and Facebook or Instagram posts.
A mirror, it hardly ever lies.
It is much more difficult to look at our own image in a mirror, unless say one were Narcissus, but life did not fare so well for him. Life does not fare well. We do not look forward to the final farewell. We live so as to distract ourselves from our own finality. It is through that image in the mirror that we can see time pass. This passing of time is what makes us uncomfortable.
M.C. Esher’s Eye (1946) draws one in and makes it hard to look away. You find yourself mesmerized. For a moment, you can see what he sees. You can see what we are all afraid to see, our end, our perceived darkness. You look, close your eyes and look away.
You can view these works and other works of M.C. Escher at http://www.mcescher.com.
I have been learning about writing and storytelling by going to writing courses, workshops and conference for the last several years. I have had the privilege to work with great writers and mentors along my writing journey, including Zelda Lockhart, Alice Osborn and Chris Abani.
This year was an amazing year. I have been actively working towards my vision for Rinconez, which I started last year. I was accepted into my first writing residency. I even ventured out of my comfort zone and started writing poetry, tweeting micro-fiction, posting on Facebook and connecting with the writing and blogging community. I have discovered and read the work of many talented artists, writers and poets. I have learned so much from the larger writing and blogging community, not just about writing but about community.
I am thankful for being welcomed into the writing community. I am thankful for every writer who dares to write and bare their soul. I am thankful for you for reading this post.
In Loving Gratitude,
I write wherever I find a pen and paper. I feel the most comfortable writing with just pen and paper. I find myself doing more self-editing when I write on my laptop because the medium makes the words look more like a finished product. Writing with pen and paper makes my writing feel like a work in progress and more like a draft. Writing by hand I am less concerned with formatting and word count.
I own many bound journals and notebooks of various sizes. I try to carry a writing journal with me at all times so that I can write at a moment’s notice. If I get an idea or figure out how to finally finish that scene, I want to be able to write it down before I forget. I also like the versatility of just being able to write anywhere whether I have some time to write or because a certain location sparks my creativity.
I write best in a quiet place with movement, for example, sitting outside, listening to the leaves rustle as trees sway under a slight breeze. I get tired and distracted when I try to write in a still place. My thoughts wander if the environment is too quiet. I start to lose focus in overly quiet and still places.
I like being surrounded by other writers and books while I write. When I write, I can feel like I am building castles in the sky whose design, structure and beauty are only visible to me. Having books around me while I write fills me with the hope that one day what I write may also be appreciated by another.
I created Rinconez as a space where I can write about, explore, and share common life experiences and struggles, the good and the bad. As a writer, I also write about the experience of writing, the struggles and challenges. Rinconez may also feature flash fiction or poetry about happy places or contemplative ones or dark periods. I believe sharing our life experience is how we build community, how we learn that we are not alone in the world. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me via my Contact Page here about a topic you would like to see on Rinconez.
Come join me on this journey,
Writing is thought of as a lonely occupation or preoccupation. Writers may write alone, but their work may represent years of research or thriving worlds and communities or a day in the life of a character. The process may seem lonely, but not necessarily solitary. Writers constantly learn, from other writers, from workshops and from works they read. Material and topics about which to write surround a writer’s existence. However, the writer can not exist in a void.
When I am not working on any of my many writing projects or taking workshops and classes, I enjoy socializing with my friends and family over a meal or drinks. I am drawn to coffee shops both when I write and when I am not writing for their eclectic appeal and creative vibe. I enjoy being in the middle of live conversation, hearing the buzzing of chatter and laughter. I am energized by the stories that are exchanged over everyday conversation. Listening to other people’s stories reminds me of how much I enjoy listening to a good story and the importance of effective storytelling. I enjoy the flow of conversation. Social settings leave me inspired to want to capture the flow and energy of conversation into my writing.
Yes, even when I am not writing, I think about my writing though not all the time. I can not be a good storyteller if I am not a good listener or attentive to my surroundings. I am no good to my story if I can not listen to my own thoughts. If while I am writing I notice that my own thoughts are too loud or negative or perhaps too quiet, then I know that I need to step away and stop thinking about my current project. Talking to someone else, be it in person or on the phone or over an instant messenger, helps clear my mind. I also enjoy catching up on one of my favorite television series, especially the ones with good writing.
If I do not spend time socializing with others, I begin to feel as if I am building castles in the sky. My writing begins to feel impossible and imaginary if I write alone for too long. Social networks where I can interact with other writers help the process of writing feel less solitary to me and help me feel like I am part of a larger writing community.
If you are working on a writing project outside of your blog or website, I would love to hear about it. Are you working on a novel or chapbook? What do you do to keep your writing going?