Flitting Around the Arts

It seems my whole creativity has been locked away somewhere, just out of reach. Like a particularly tormenting biscuit barrel that a child (oh no, Emily, whatever makes you think I was thinking of you?) can just see but is too high to touch. I keep saying, I will write, I will blog, I will draw, I will play but it’s never quite the right time for that. I’m beginning to reach it – picture a wobbly two year old stretching and balancing on tiptoes – and part of the reason for that is my recent plunge into the arts.

The Open University course I began in October – and somehow am nearly finished – is The Arts Past and Present and has been a breathtaking tour through history, poetry, art, classical studies, philosophy, religious studies, english literature, music history… have I missed anything? Probably. While the biggest gain from the course has been greasing my rusty old brain cells again, I’ve come away with a new appreciation of The Arts that I never had. I’m discovering the joy of wandering around an art gallery (including the stuff that doesn’t look like anything), reading new poetry (including the stuff that doesn’t rhyme), thinking new thoughts (including the stuff that doesn’t seem to make sense…yet).

Last weekend Beloved Husband and I went into the Laing art gallery in Newcastle. It’s the first time I’ve been to a traditional gallery and happily I had already covered and enjoyed the coursework on art history, giving me some basic skills to appreciate the paintings. I really did. It was awe-inspiring to be millimetres away from these wonderful paintings and to try to tease out what each one was making me feel. I’ll be back. Bwahaha.

And today I got a book of poetry by Carol Ann Duffy from the library in Durham. I’ve never really read her work, and I’m entirely new to poetry having blocked out GCSE English other than a few fragments of Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est. All I know about poetry is an introduction via Seamus Heaney and Thomas Hardy in my course assignment, and Stephen Fry’s rather wonderful book, The Ode Less Travelled. Oh, and I tried some Sylvia Plath but struggled a little, despite really wanting to ‘get’ her. So today I fancied being brave and trying a whole book of poetry by one author and I took home The Bees, Duffy’s first anthology since becoming Poet Laureate. I devoured it in pretty much one sitting and then started again. I loved the language, the emotions she wrought, and the pictures she made real.

So while my own creativity is locked away, I’m feeding on the creativity of others and at the minute, I’ve got a reading list as long as my arm. I don’t know how long it will take me to reach that part of myself again but I do know I’m getting there, and that along the way I’m finding new and wonderful arts to enrich my soul a thousand times more than it was before.

2 thoughts on “Flitting Around the Arts”

  1. Hi Rebecca

    I think you are doing the right thing especially with the reading. I’ve just started again and am feeling my creative juices pumping. One slight word of caution is that there isn’t enough time in the day to read all the books and write all the words and everything else so the next challenge (and my current one) is balance.

    Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘the World’s Wife’ is great too. I had the pleasure of hearing her read some from that and have a signed copy too.

    Ps. Love the comment about looking at paintings that don’t look like stuff.

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