I am just about finished with cleaning my studio. I try to do this before starting a new body of work. In the cleanup process I find all sorts of things in chaotic piles. There are materials, ideas sketched on scraps of paper and poems that have somehow fallen under the work tables.
I’ve worked in my current art studio long enough to have a range of art from different periods stored in it. (You can view examples of my art at ZeorlinArt.com. Some pieces are incomplete but still merit clogging up prime studio space. But good intentions eventually crowds an artist right out of the studio. When I decide to deep clean I take a more hardened “slash and burn take no prisoners” attack. Once the purging is over it frees my mind, body and soul. I just try not to go to extremes and jettison things I would later regret. Once the fire is going it is too late to back out. I have done this.
I came upon a few boxes of my poetry books I wrote and included in past art exhibits. I’ve written three books about 5 years apart. The titles are “Around That House” (2004), “Going Somewhere” (2009) and “Not Memorized” (2013). Those books hold selections of poetry starting from the late 1970’s and going to just last year. The first two books are soft cover and the third is a digital book.
Thumbing through the soft cover books made me realize how I experience reading books and even magazines. More specifically, I enjoy the physical nature of holding words on paper, flipping pages and carrying a printed mass around. A digital book does not offer this physical experience. I momentarily considered producing a paper version of the digital book but will not follow though. Few people read poetry by well-known poets so the odds of selling a poetry book by an obscure poet is not good.
Eventually we could be in a time of few printed books. We will probably become accustomed to digital reading devices and the physical experience of reading a book will fade away. It also seems the way we read is changing. We tend to have less attention and allow more distractions into our daily life. We spend more time sending short messages from smart phones and viewing images of things friends are doing. Many of us drift for great lengths of time on the Internet. We seem unable or unwilling to go deeply into much of anything. How many bloggers will actually read down to this sentence? And to those of you who do, thank you. But in one sense, what is the purpose?
I think it comes down to seeking ways to bring substance into daily living. There is not one vital source for information, content, meaning or “inspiration.” And those who follow daily routines at work and home will even walk past opportunities that lay right in front of them. It is not easy to seek ways to keep looking with new eyes when many eyes focus on electronic screens.
I am abandoning this screen and heading out to the studio. I need to make more smoke!
Look into the sky and see if you can read my signals.