On a quick side note, I can’t remember if I said this or not, but I’m going to try to draw something every day, and so some of the things I draw I’ll post here for your viewing pleasure. Today’s drawing is of my backyard. It’s a gesture drawing because it was cold outside so I wanted to do it quickly. It doesn’t really show up well because my camera is broken and I don’t have a scanner, so I had to use the camera on my computer to take it. The title is “Drawing of Trees.”
While I’ve had a passion for writing as long as I can remember, I didn’t take an interest in poetry until I was in fifth grade, and even then, it was rudimentary. I had no real understanding of what poetry was. I didn’t understand how it was so powerful. The poems I wrote back then were of fictional scenarios that seemed like they should be emotional, and so, in my mind, poems about them should feel emotionally powerful.
I had no formal instruction on poetry until seventh grade, when we did a unit on poetry. Then, all we did was learn structure and form, and then craft poems that fit into these rigid formulas. My poetry still felt mellow and forgettable. I tried to make it powerful with concrete images. I started to write about real events. It still didn’t cut it.
Throughout high school and college, I had more poetry instruction in my creative writing classes and English classes, and my poetry did get better. I think this was because I started writing about myself. However, everything was masked behind extensive metaphors that made it impossible for anyone else to be let into my poems. They meant something to me, but only me.
It wasn’t until this semester, taking an advanced poetry class, that I learned what a poem really is.
Poetry, like every other form of art, provides us with a glimpse into reality. In life, we very rarely encounter reality; we’re usually caught up in our minds and so everything that reaches us is filtered. A poem is a moment of clarity, where we’re seeing the world as it actually is. If we can put that moment of clarity into words, that is a poem. I learned a similar thing in my introductory drawing class—we can’t draw things as we think they are supposed to be; we must draw them as they are. Art cannot lie. Even fiction writing and abstract paintings must contain an unwavering honesty. This is why art is so powerful.
I have a rancid television addiction that I think I’ve written about before, and this is dangerous because TV and movies are entertainment, as is most mainstream music. Entertainment removes us from reality, and the more we are removed from it, the harder it is to reenter. Losing touch with reality deprives us of the chance to gain satisfaction and happiness from life because you cannot feel fulfilled from life if you are not connected to it.
I’ve noticed that I am much more at peace and much more tuned to my emotions and my surroundings when I go without television. Meditation helps, as does yoga (or my rendition of yoga that is really just glorified stretching). Sitting and drawing while listening to classical piano music also helps. Anything that keeps you tuned into the moment and aware of all that is around you can help bring you closer to reality.