How times have changed

October 3, 2010

There's a tradition here at Hambidge that each fellow signs her name, plus her medium — whether she’s an artist, writer, composer, etc. — on the cutting board in her studio. It's fun to look at the boards and see who has worked in your studio years before you arrived.

Son House cutting board.

Last year, I blogged about how I wasn't sure how to describe myself. Was I a journalist or a writer?

This year, without hesitation, I called myself a writer. Journalism is still a huge part of my identity, but I now feel like I'm more than a journalist. I'm more creative than I was two years ago when I left my reporting job, and calling myself a writer reflects that. Now I self-identify as both a writer and a journalist.

Yet as I packed up my studio, because today's my last day here, I realized something else: I now also think of myself as an artist. I don't paint beautiful portraits or turn shredded paper into sculpture or make music from chords. But after two years out of the traditional workforce, after giving myself time to find the creativity that was buried deep inside of me and bring it to the surface, I now consider myself an artist. I write more than news stories or narratives. With my words, I create a form of art.

Oh! And remember that diva opera singer I included in Friday’s post? The one that was made here at Hambidge by Atlanta sculptor Michael Murrell? She's coming home with me! In case you forgot, here's what she looks like:

Opera singer, by Michael Murrell.

I love this piece. I love her because she embodies the creativity of Hambidge; she shows that you can go walking in the woods, pick up a piece of wood, and turn that wood into a masterpiece. I love that Michael saw an opera singer in a dead piece of wood, and that he transformed something dead into something that's so alive. I love that this diva has her arms raised to the sky, proclaiming her freedom, because that's how I feel when I'm here.

Most importantly, my opera singer reminds me of this: Even when someone or something looks broken or dried out or rough around the edges, somewhere inside there's a diva.

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    7 Replies to “How times have changed”

    • Andi says:

      I hope that you were able to accomplish everything you wanted to during your 2 weeks. What a lovely and inspiring post this was!!!

    • Heather Rae says:

      I love your opera singer! How awesome that you get to take her home with you. You are most definitely a journalist, a writer and an artist. I didn’t used to consider myself an artist either, but in the last year, I have really come to see that writing is truly an art. You are so right about that. 🙂

    • Lanham True says:

      I’ve found that continuing to hang around artists of all stripes (post residency) is really helpful. During times of low writing motivation, going to the museum or a gallery can be incredibly inspiring, too. Also: That’s an awesome opera singer sculpture!

    • Andrea says:

      Holy cow! This is an AWESOME description of why you love the piece of wood. You’re right, the creativity has been unleashed! Yay!

    • Cate Bres says:

      Love the Diva! And your blogging about what the writer’s colony is like. Wish you had more time there! So excited for your new opportunities though and can’t wait to catch up in person! Congrats on all of the success that has so deservedly come your way! Keep up the hard work friend! Miss and love you! See you on the dance floor in a couple weekends….wooowhooo!

    • Marianne says:

      I love you claiming the name ‘writer’ and I love your diva. She’ll be inspiring me even from afar.

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