How does exploration in the arts light me up?
I believe that what we talk about, see, and read becomes a part of us. It has the power to diminish or enrich our lives. That's why I enjoy engaging in thoughtful conversations. The arts are often my doorway into such conversations.
The arts have influenced my poetry and fiction, the way I design and decorate my home, and the ways I frequently go in search of new forms of imaginative expression. They also have comforted me through challenges and losses, deepening my self-awareness. Perhaps most of all, they have provoked my curiosity, which has led me to more adventures and awe-filled moments. Essentially, the arts have helped me search for answers and meaning in life.
"So, all of a sudden in Europe 500 years ago, the theater and painting and sculpture all becomes somewhat irrelevant because it's not dealing in the truth the way science deals with the truth. Please!"
Barry Lopez, "A Conversation with Pico Iyer and Barry Lopez" (January 16, 2015, Key West Literary Seminar)
My parents took me to my first play (My Fair Lady) when I was three years old; I still have clear memories of the scenes, music, and costumes. My mom and I saw a Van Gogh exhibit when I was four; his "Bedroom in Arles" left a vivid after-image, still present in my mind. These were just two seeds for my life-long passion with the arts. Whether absorbing an art installation in Santa Fe, viewing a Chicago (still my heart's hometown) photography exhibit and mural strolling, or just catching a new film in Albuquerque (my current hometown), these experiences always expand my awareness, as well as challenge my beliefs and assumptions. I like to approach the arts with an eye toward helping others better incorporate them into our daily conversation and living. Couldn't we all use a little more inspiration? If you agree, I hope you'll visit my blog pages.
Janet St. John is a poet and fiction writer who has taught creative writing and poetry. She founded and edited a literary journal, has been awarded writer residencies, and has published poems and short fiction in a variety of literary magazines (see Writing).