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September 7, 2006

artist's way guided intent (september)

by gl. at 3:39 pm

cranberry lemonade marked the return of the artist's way guided intent this month, but it was the darjeeling tea leaves that had more of an impact! in addition to other divination aids like pennies, fortune cookies & tarot cards, they formed the basis for short writing prompts that led to poems about possibility.

[tea leaves in my cup: click the photo to see a charming collection of other cups]

for the first prompt, "the most basic possibility is binary," i said, passing around pennies. "yes or no, heads or tails." when i asked the penny if this is what i'm meant to be doing with my life, it came up heads: yes. for some reason that surprised me, and by the end of 5 minutes i had concluded with a sentence about wanting a future without feeling so beholden to others (an odd thing for a facilitator, perhaps, but bear with me).

right on cue, the fortune cookie fortune i picked said, "isolating yourself from others will not prevent you from being hurt." ha! what serendipity! so i wrote for 5 more minutes about how i could achieve balance, how i can maintain both solitude and service to others.

satisfied at the progress i was making, i turned over the random tarot card i picked. the devil? what? after all that? i was angry; i hate it when someone (even a card!)thinks the worst of me because i try so hard to do the right thing. so i spent 5 minutes looking at my flaws and what i do that could cause others to demonize me. i chose to use it as an exercise in looking at my actions through the eyes of others to evoke empathy. i'm not well-acquainted with tarot meanings, so its interpretation as a card of power & desire was lost on me. (sven got the "star" card, btw. i was so envious!)

but the tea leaves were a mystery for me. in order to write about them i had to begin at the most immediate level: a descriptive response, writing simply about the visual characteristics of what i was seeing. other participants described the tea leaves as their favorite inspirational component, so while it didn't do much for me, the intent to provide different stimuli for different people worked.

after the writing prompts we had some time to write a poem based on one or more of the prompts. this is a poem about possibility, even though it doesn't sound like it:

Same time tomorrow

Desire and despair are two sides
of the same coin:
I want to be good
I want to be possessed
but I am a princess in a tower
with DSL.
Keep time from slipping through my fingers
tell me each tea leaf matters
the pattern clumps, then crumbles
a flash of birds across the sky.

september 07, 2006

sharing our works didn't go as smoothly as it does w/ visual responses, in part because when we discuss visual work i have a pretty good structure that reminds people we're not here to "fix" the art of others or judge its aesthetics, but rather our goal is to help the artist find meaning in it. so the responses got a little out of hand at the end, and because i'm still sick i don't have my authority voice (nor do i like to invoke it). we had a couple of writers who were vocally disappointed that they had come to the guided intent that featured a literary exercise when they were looking for more visual stimulus, but i feel strongly about offering a wide range of visual, literary & expressive art offerings, and all i can do is tell people not to come to the ones they think they won't like.

i can hardly believe it, but our next two events are already full! september's open studio has a waiting list, and the next guided intent in october (abundance via blind painting!) filled up the first day it was announced. also, it looks like an artist's way creative cluster will form tuesday evenings. hooray!

posted by gl. | September 7, 2006 3:39 PM | categories: artist's way, writing