I Hope I Don’t Associate Art with Skunk Stink From Now On

Two White Dresses, by John Singer Sargent
Two White Dresses, by John Singer Sargent

I’ll admit it. I didn’t want to write this. There was very little laziness involved in this resistance. It was more like a heaping plop of grump with a ladleful of steaming “I’m just done” drizzled on top. I could give you a laundry list of what has wearied me this week, but that feels like a bit of an invitation to a pity party, and I prefer to make those solo events. I will say it culminated with the purchase of a giant bottle of skunk-odor shampoo. I’m. Just. Done.

So instead of doing the dutiful task of sitting my butt in the chair and getting to work, I instead sat my butt in the chair with a wholehearted intention of blowing it off, via Pinterest, and then probably a bit of Pushing Daisies.

Pinterest is my favorite way of confusing my inner critic. Some days I feel super productive planning and pinning all of the things I could be doing instead of pinning. Other days my guilt monitor is a little more finely tuned, and I pin things, knowing I will never, ever actually make that thing I think is so great, because I will likely spend my upcoming free time, well, pinning. Tonight my plan was to go full-on defensive and just skate around the Humor and Geek pages. I was seeking out a little endorphin rush. I call this, “Desperately Seeking Sillies.” I needed a good hearty chuckle. (Two words: skunk shampoo.)

My doses of Pinterest, be they heavy or light, are always administered via iPad. I don’t actually like it on the computer. It’s too much all at once and it feels like opening a soda that has been shaken. My first impulse is to get it as far away from my person as humanly possible.

So I sat down with my iPad in the same green chair I imagined my character Arty had been sitting in, waiting for me, not so very long ago. (I Apologize, Arty) I opened the app, and, sweet mystery, my “art person” had been pinning.

This is a person I do not remember following on purpose. I don’t ever click that little “follow” button. That still feels to me like inviting myself to a party, or asking a stranger to see their diary. So this person must have been part of the package given to me when I signed up. But, like a favorite classic movie found when flipping through the tv stations, whenever this blessed person has been pinning beautiful works of art, old and new, and they show up on my home page, I always emit a quiet, “Oh!” And then I smile. I look. I fold these images into my heart and my head. I linger. I forget things like skunk shampoo.

My imposing lump of grump was beginning to dissipate, and my natural reaction to these works of art were words. They were words of gratitude and speculation on the quiet understanding that art begets art, and all of it felt like a train pulling into a final destination. There’s been some wandering, some waiting, some boredom and glassy-eyed stares directed at a screen or out a window, but with those inspiring images laid before me, the conductor has called and the doors have opened. It’s time to get up and move to where I am supposed to be now, where I have been waiting to go all this time.

Grateful for Pinterest, for my art person, and most of all for the brave artists who originally dreamed up the works, then followed through with their creation, I closed the app. I put on some cello music, because listening to the cello is my auditory equivalent to viewing a Van Gogh, and I started to write.

I wonder, how can I most easily collect the things that move me this way, when they are both tangible and intangible, and stretch across so many mediums? First, I have to make room: make room in my time to find a museum, to discover the art section at the library, ask my friend the cellist for some suggested listening, carve out a special shelf on my bookcase for writers whose words are faithful to move me. And then make room for the aftermath. Hungering for inspiration, then merely accepting the glimpsing of it without allowing for my own response is like staring at meal when I am starving, and expecting to be fulfilled.

What moves you? Have you made note of it, and then what have you done about it? What words, what movies, what works, visual and auditory, inspire you to pause, then pivot you in a new direction? Shouldn’t we have more of them? Shouldn’t we hunt them down? Let me never take beauty for granted! Let my eyes stay ever open, and seeking, even when they are filled with skunk shampoo.


3 thoughts on “I Hope I Don’t Associate Art with Skunk Stink From Now On”

  1. When asked what moves me, the first thing that came to mind…my grandchildren, Theo and Chloe. I sit in awe of Theo as I listen to him communicate (with a grasp of the English language beyond his years, as he always has), to watch his energy and his love for his visiting relatives, oh how I hope that never ends! But most of all, when watching him on rides at Busch Garden so wanting his sister Chloe to be having fun, and so protective of her, my heart swelled with pride when I think how much he has learned from his differently-abled sister and how he loves her. I have never been more sincere than when I told him he is such an awesome big brother! And then of course, there is Chloe herself! Does she move me? Beyond tears! She will lighten up any room with her unconditional love and heart warming smiles and giggles for her friends, the world. She has taught us all lessons on what special really means, and how the Lord is using her to minister to others. And unlike others, she doesn’t even stop to think about, it just is…..Chloe. Have I made a note of these two wonderful creatures that move me? My mind is full of my precious moments of them. And yes, I should have more memories and moments with them, and pray that I do!

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