This Is My Home, This Is My Work, This Is My Life…
In her beautiful poem, “To a Serious Woman,” Judith Sornberger sets these words as a mantra between friends reviewing their lives as artists who cherish their work and also cherish the thorns and blessings of every day life that animate that work.
I was thinking about Sornberger and the poem as I looked around my tiny studio/home this week after a visit from someone I used to know who made it clear through his silence and sly jokes that my tiny place hardly rated as a home in his vocabulary.
But I was also thinking about it after the opening reception Friday evening for my solo show, a happy event where the slight sting of my visitor’s remarks disappeared when one of the guests, who has seen my place many times, pointed out to a small group that my apartment was “the most wonderful place, filled with color and art. Everybody loves it.”
Perception is everything.
We artists rarely lead ordinary lives or live and work in ordinary places. No, let me amend that – we rarely lead the lives that magazines and media have come to pronounce as “ordinary” (aka “acceptable”). And we often don’t work in them either.
Most of us are simply toilers in the vineyard who make do (a lovely, old-fashioned phrase) with what we have. When we can afford studios, we rent them. When we can’t, we work at home. When we can dedicate a room in the house to our art, we use it. When we can’t, we work in the living room. Or kitchen. Or a corner of the bedroom. And we don’t care much what anyone else thinks about it.
Our not-caring is not a pose. It’s simply who we are. I know home when I see it and I see it in my tiny art studio with a bed. This is my home, this is my work, this is my life.
The reception was great with friends, strangers, artists, jazz mavens and a few stray writers who wandered into the studio expecting poetry.
Robert Henri writes in his The Art Spirit that “Art should be persistent; exhibitions should be small.” We were right on the money with the opening. The crowd was just right and a good time was had by all including Tanner, the gallery dog who visited my earlier show at the HYPE Gallery in North Park.
Now, back to work – painting and following up on new contacts with trips to the beach sprinkled into the times between.
As Mason Williams once sang, “Isn’t life the perfect thing to pass the time away?”
5 thoughts on “Knowing Home”
Judith – I’m so delighted to hear from you. Your poem has touched my life so often and touched the lives of others, too, as I often bring your work to the other part of what I do – teach poetry. You’ve reached many more people than you can imaging and your book of poetry has traveled many miles with me…I never leave home without it…
Love and blessings, Molly Larson Cook
Sorry–I think I left the response about “To a Serious Woman” under the wrong blog post!
I loved finding my poem “To a Serious Woman” referenced in your beautiful blog post. What a joy to know that someone is reading that poem and finding meaning in it for her own artistic life!
If you ever make it to San Diego, I’ll clear off a couple of chairs and put the kettle on!
Molly Cook, you truly are a Renaissance woman! I can imagine your home is lovely and welcoming, just as it was here in Corvallis. Small/shmall–just means less to dust!! If I’m ever in San Diego I fully intend to stop by for tea! (To put that in perspective, I can’t remember the last time we went to Eugene, let alone Portland…)