I love all the houses on Po-Blog Avenue. If you haven't added one yet -- you are welcome in this neighborhood! It really isn't about creating something beautiful or being the best artist... and I think it is so good, especially for those of us who work hard to be "good" at some art or other, to just go play and not care about being any good. It is hard (at least for some of us) (ok, at least for me) to let go of wanting to do it well, and just play -- that's why I hardly ever pick up my guitar anymore, don't draw or paint (things I did all the time in high school or so, and which I really miss sometimes) -- what is really hard is to take that playful sense back to poetry and just screw around with words, to let go of the reins and stop worrying about whether what I'm writing is any good or not. And of course, when I let myself play, that's when I come up with something unexpected -- that's when I am ambushed by language and manage to write something nobody else would have thought to write.
So if you don't draw a house, take some time in the near future to just go play with art or creativity of some sort. Get a jar of Play-Doh and make a dog sculpture. Build a snow fort. Finger paint. Play Christmas carols on the kazoo. Get out that old guitar and bash away at it like some rock star and open up your mouth and sing, even if you're not Bono. Or even if you are.
Today I attended a Verious Serious Meeting of Very Serious Artists -- I guess that's why the rant above. Someone from the Indiana Arts Commission came to our arts center downtown to talk to interested artists about the IAC's Individual Artist Grant program. As it turns out, the fiscal-year timing may make it logistically difficult for me to try to get money for a writing workshop, since grant awards are announced in mid- to late June and most of the workshops I want to attend are in, say, July. I'd have to go ahead and sign up for the workshop and pay for it on my credit card and hope like heck I get the grant (and funds aren't disbursed until fall or so anyway) and then if I didn't, either cancel the workshop (tricky if I've had to buy plane tickets or make reservations at a B&B with a stinky cancellation policy) or just go and, I don't know, pay off the credit card eventually. Another possibility might be to ask for funding for a more private writing retreat, a cabin in the woods somewhere, time and space I would use to finally put my alleged book manuscript together. I can think of a few other possibilities, too. Or maybe I could just move into one of y'all's houses on Po-Blog Avenue. :)
And I am probably jinxing it anyway by talking about applying, just like the job I told a bunch of people I was applying for and then didn't even get an interview. (And rightly so, I might add; the two people who did get interviews were way more qualified than I was.)
So I have a lot to think about with this grant thing, but I'm glad they did this workshop, as I have a much more solid sense of how to frame a project so that it will be more "grantable." And I think I'm going to be able to come up with a project that will work with the parameters of this thing. My Tax Dollars At Work.
(In fairness, I do know a couple of people who've had real problems with these grants. I am hoping that my many years of working in one of the bigger administrative offices on campus have taught me enough about navigating bureaucracy to help me wade through this process or at least be patient with the muck and mire. We shall see. It is, after all, the State of Indiana, which means everything's bound to be a bit more convoluted than necessary.)
I swear I had something else I wanted to write about, but maybe not.
It's cold outside.