“Orch Pugin”: An Appreciation

Thanks to Harvey Taylor once again for his comments : ‘art’ is, essentially, communication…
the poem in a notebook, the photo on a memory card, the guitar in its case, etc, etc–don’t they yearn
(allright, metaphorically), to come alive, with appreciation?

One of the definitions of “appreciation” (I just checked!) is to increase in value, as money “appreciates” when invested. I like that connection to art. I agree that poems, photos, music “increase” with an audience.

The date for my piano recital has changed from May 30 to Saturday, June 6, 2015. I’m hoping that whoever is around Milwaukee that afternoon can come to “increase” the work that I’m doing!

I continue, on these last bright days of autumn, with “scrub work”: working on the most challenging passages from all four “new” (to me) piano works. There is definitely satisfaction in seeing the smoothness take form over time—similar, I imagine, to seeing a sculpture emerge from a block of wood or stone. With my shoulder now in better shape, I can put in more time and effort without pain (though I still have to be careful to take frequent breaks).

The book rejection has been softened by having several poems recently accepted by various journals. It is something like having a slot machine pay off every so often: it keeps you plugging away!  One of the poems was one that I wrote, partly on a whim, because of the contest prompt at Zo Magazine. It didn’t win the contest but will be published, along with other “runners up” next January. The poem was a different kind of thing for me because it was a response to a specific painting. I did some research on the Peruvian painter, and then incorporated references to several Peruvian dances in the poem. It occurred to me while writing it that, without the Internet, it would have taken much longer.

The other is a poem I wrote many years ago. I thought of it when Persimmon Tree called for entries from women in the upper Midwest. So I called on my farm roots and re-worked an old poem called “Chicken Dinner.” It was interesting to me to see how easily I could see, at the distance of several years, what needed to be changed/deleted/added.  As I tell students, never throw anything away!

As I grow older, I seem to trust my critical vision more, at least when it comes to writing. However, one never knows. When I take my week’s work to my piano lesson, or a poem to my writing group, there is always something that I overlooked. Again, there are times at every stage in the creative process when we need the input of others.

This last weekend we celebrated my husband Steve’s birthday. Two of our daughters, son-in-law, and two grandsons attended.  One of our daughters has recently returned to piano lessons. She played for me a wonderul piece she had memorized, but then apologized for its not being note-perfect! I disabused her of that goal quickly enough! 

Seven and four, our grandsons have blessedly not yet been burdened with too much self-consciousness about the value or perfection of what they produce creatively. Birthday gifts drawn with markers flowed; books of them, some with written descriptions, were stapled together and presented right along with all of the “bought” gifts.  When I ran out of old songs to sing while we were topping and tailing green beans for the birthday dinner, my grandsons each spontaneously produced original songs about “a tree under me” and about a flower picked for a mother. Partly wishing I had a ubiquitous tape recorder whenever something magical like that happens, I could only listen and appreciate what they brought to my attention.


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