Friday, February 19, 2010

The Artist's Way

Some weeks ago (my memory is really bad since pregnancy), my dear friend and much respected writer, BFP, wrote something along the lines of saying that she was less interested in "activism" and more interested in the lives and journeys of artists.

That struck me. For numerous reasons.

The first thing that struck me is thinking about my blogging life. When I first began blogging four years ago (yikes! has it been that long?), I remember wanting my "writing" to FIT into the feminist blogosphere. I read many blogs then, wanting to understand what was important to the "Feminist Community," and, truthfully, always struggled in that genre.

I struggled because writing is, essentially, an extension of one's self. What interests me is what I will write most intimately about, what I love is what will illuminate the page (or screen) with my words. Making my writing fit is like trimming my own self, trying to make ME fit.

What I was always interested in were topics like God. Addressing sexual and gender violence in our everyday relationships through deconstruction and critical questions of gender norming. Family. Humor. And love. Always love. These were my interests.

I didn't know it then, but my writing came and continues to flow from a very deep, supremely sensitive place where I process my memory, my life experiences. Of course, current events and news are always interesting, but the writing I connect with is the writing that comes from LIFE, my life. And I'm always interested in how others live or lived their lives.

How did Gloria Anzaldua live with diabetes? How did my mother live through immigrating to this country on her own? How did my cousins live through the passing of both their parents? How did my 8th grade science teacher feel when she decided to get teeth braces at the age of 48? What is it like for young women of color writers in the US?

These were my questions, they weren't "feminist," I suppose, but they came from a very real place that questioned the systematic punishment and guardrails around women.

Feminism exists for all of us to live richer, deeper, more fulfilling lives. Feminism exists for us to question what we want to question and to live as we want to live. The lives of artists, the lives of those who create are lives that are often imbued with resistance; they live counter-culturally. Artists, the souls who create something out of nothing, those who build from ill-fitting pieces possess a strength that reveals itself in their life choices.

I no longer worry about whether I or my writing fits. Rather, I focus on whether or not I am truthful, committed to creation and relationship, and love. Always love.


  1. Thank you for writing this. It speaks very loudly to me. :-D

  2. Twice today I have reflected upon the fact that I've written online for 10 years. Perhaps it is the entry point, that impacts. No se. I did it not as an activist activity pero actually to escape the activism, well actually to write on the ways that activism was hard for me as a single young mom and then the activism found me again. So writing was not an issue of fitting pero rather since I didn't fit anyway, I wrote.

  3. wow yall are just all in my head right now

  4. As an visual artist, I used to be hesitant about doing work that was personal in nature. Now I find that that was just outside pressure not to be too "emotional" or self-indulgent. I definitely think all the questions you mentioned are feminist in that they recognize women's experiences as important and worthy of focus (including your own). Thank you for writing this and continuing to make art that people can connect with.


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