I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family — lots of great home cooking, talking, laughing and reminiscing with my parents and godparents, whom I love so much. For those of you who have had to watch your parents age before your eyes, you know how hard it is to see them become frail with each passing year. I’ve been so busy lately raising my kids and working and moving fast that it was painful to see how slow both my godmother and father are moving these days. But the interesting thing about stopping to notice their fragility made me consider how frail we all can be at times.
The theme was reinforced by Saturday morning when both my son and I came down with a pretty bad cold. The job to care for us fell to my husband, who did everything he could to take care of our needs and keep my little one busy so I could sleep and sleep and sleep to let my body heal. By Sunday, I felt as frail and slow moving as my elders and I think it was the universe’s way of telling me to STOP and rest my body because the pace I’ve been keeping has been a tad off kilter.
Another synchronicity appeared during this time of illness. I received my complimentary contributor’s copy to Seth Apter’s new book The Mixed Media Artist. I’ve written a number of posts on this in the past few months as he’s been ramping up for it’s release. I knew the art pieces and information I had contributed, and I’ve followed the other artists he’s featured on his blog. After sleeping for almost 14 hours straight (no exaggerating), I woke about midnight and had to get up and move. In the utter stillness of my house with my family sleeping soundly, I sat on my sofa with only my reading lamp turned on and devoured every single word of Seth’s book right there. As I was absorbing it — literally wringing it out like a sponge — I had a moment where my body is present but my mind is detached and observing, almost like watching a film. I was so engaged in the complete quiet of my home in the literal dead of night by the artists profiled in his book that the experience was nothing short of profound.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I could even re-create this moment should I wish. Not often am I in such a quiet, slow moving state where I’m a non-normal version of myself. Had it been a normal day, I would have opened Seth’s book, turned to my page to look at my photo, glanced at my work, leafed though the pages to make metal note of the work and artists who intrigued me and then put it down until I could make an hour or two in my schedule that week to read.
Absolutely I would have laughed at some of the clever responses, felt a twang of this or that at other bits and pieces of insight and been inspired by some of the absolutely amazing art within its pages. Even in a normal day I would have Facebooked or Tweeted to give Seth props for a job well done. I probably would have emailed him to send a personal note of thanks and to congratulate him. But because I was taken so far out of my comfort zone and normal routine by the circumstance, I did none of that. Instead I sat down to share my experience here.
Here’s a fact. To be a working artist now in mixed media means there are some wonderful opportunities…amazing opportunities… to get your work in front of others. One does not need to solely rely on publishers and printed books and magazines for praise, criticism and feedback. Artists can reach out though Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, forums, Instagram and so many ways to create connections and get their work seen and talked about by others.
Amongst all of this is a lot of promoting and publicity. Yep, I do it too. Mostly because it’s truly an integral part of the job in today’s world as a contemporary artist (not as in genre but as in living in today’s era, contemporary times, meaning right now). But I also do it because telling stories is who I am. I love to tell people about articles I’ve read, art I’ve seen, cool people I’ve met, opportunities I’ve jumped on and some personal details here and there as much as its possible to share without being nauseating or narcissistic.
I can tell by the book Seth just wrote (as well as his first one, The Pulse of Mixed Media) that he’s a kindred spirit in life’s unfolding. This book is not about promotion. It’s 40+ people who took the opportunity to be real and honest and raw. I see it as a moment in time telling myself and others that sometimes we need to just slow down and draw inspiration in the stillness.