I’m always looking to grow and develop—as a business professional, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and as a normal woman who deals with anxiety. For years, I have been thinking about doing some art therapy. Why not? I love art, and I’m a big fan of the pop art and modern art world. But I had doubts about whether or not it would be helpful or fun because, while I’m crafty, I’m not arty.
Lichtenstein is arty. Richter is arty. Rauschenberg is arty. Ruettimann is childish.
But I’ve been working with an analyst, lately, and I’m caught up in a loop about how much words don’t matter. Words are everywhere, and they have no meaning. William S. Burroughs would “cut up text” and rearrange it to find and create new meaning. Cut up my words and another HR writer’s words, and you have nothing. What’s the difference between Schooling, Bersin, Lauby, McClure and Miller-Merrell? Well, Josh has a great platform. Beyond that, sometimes our community feels like a copy of a copy of a copy.
But what if words had weight and heft? What if writing returned to a more physical act? What would that look and feel like? I was curious. And I thought art might help me make sense of my writing.
While in Seattle, last month, I bought some glorious and heavy paper. I went on eBay and bought a typewriter, too. Not a fancy typewriter or anything hipstery, but rather, something cheap and sensible. Then I sat down and started typing out my thoughts. I captured my quick, internal reaction to weightless, meaningless things I’ve seen on the internet.
Here are some examples.
My observations about this endeavor? Well, I had to be present in mind and body to type, which is something that surprised me. Typing is hella physical. Typing—unlike “keyboarding” on my MacBook—requires an intense focus. The moment my mind wandered, even in the meta-act of thinking about what I was about to type, I made a typo.
I learned an interesting lesson by doing these exercises, too. Art therapy isn’t art. That was sorta liberating because I could be a nerd and just experience the act of making sloppy, weird mistakes on a typewriter. However, doing these exercises made me realize that my writing could be art. I could go back to writing things that matter. Using words with heft. Making a mark that cannot be erased.
Art is possible. It’s within reach. I just have to stop hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh on the stuff that doesn’t matter.
Wow – I love this! Something I’m gaining from my own artistic practice is a reconnection to the physical elements. Love the separation between keyboarding and typing, and the paper and the work on it makes a super combination.
I’m loving the patterns created by the text on the pages.
It does feel freeing, for that moment, when you can just let your mind go and type out anything that comes too it. Think of all the free space you just acquired!