I had tried writing when I was in high school; plays mostly, because I had the drama bug big-time. I loved to read, so I thought that trying to do what all of those authors and playwrights and poets I loved had done would be easy.
It so wasn’t. And I was disappointed and discouraged.
Sure, one of my plays got performed at an arts festival at school—but I’m still convinced it was only because it had multiple roles for my friends to participate in. And one of my other ones was put in the college literary magazine—but only because it’d been the only play submitted.
Last spring, the writing itch reappeared. I’d seen an opportunity to try it out—a free poetry workshop at a local café—and though I was terrified, I went.
Our leader for the workshop was genuine, gentle and most of all, gifted. She not only encouraged and guided us, but she gave us example after example of poets to enjoy and try to emulate. It was so good, I signed up for the next workshop she was doing. And then one on screenwriting. And even another one on short fiction after that.
I was hooked.
And the best part of those workshops? Being forced to share what we’d done with others.
I know—that sounds like it’s not a good thing. Being coerced into something usually bears a negative connotation. In this case, though, it was just what I needed to get going. And I haven’t given up again yet.
Here’s what I’m getting at—in case you missed it in the title. Share your art.
I recently read an article online that inspired me to remind you that you should do this. The article was about Sister Corita Kent. She wrote a book, Learning by Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit, on this subject that was published in 1992, and one quote from the book in the article resounded with me:
“’We can all talk, we can all write, and if the blocks are removed, we can all draw and paint and make things.’”
What a beautiful idea. Each of us can find something to say or to give to others to add love, beauty or meaning to our existence here.
Think you can’t sing? Did you ever try? Maybe you should give it a shot.
Want to create art out of pebbles or sand or toothpicks? Go for it.
But then the catch is—share it. What good will it do others if you keep it hidden away? None. But you needn’t just do it for them. Do it for you.
Art is an outlet and release from stress, from worry and from the mundane. It’s a productive way to escape the social media maelstrom we’re all engrossed in, whether we want to be or not. You can unplug in art. You can recharge. You can use it as a way to meet new people by joining writing groups or crafting circle or just using your art as a talking point to start a conversation with someone new. You might just find a new friend, or another hidden artist there, too.
Marcie is a bilingual caseworker by day, a university adjunct by night, and an aspiring writer at times in between. An import to NEPA, she has been active in the arts for many years from theatre to forensics to music. Her interest in the arts continues as founder of Ink, an area writer’s group, a founding member of Voce Angeli (NEPA’s only all-female chamber choir), and as a columnist for Thirty-Third Wheel. She loves all things Pittsburgh, particularly the University of Pittsburgh where she earned her Master of Arts in Linguistics. She lives in Scranton with her handsome husband, Pete, and their horde of cats: Napoleon, Gimli, King Ajax, Sam, and Dean.