Sunday, January 3, 2016

Criss-Crossing Artistic Boundaries

Hello friends and happy new year! I hope that this coming year is a healthful, joyful, and abundant one for all of you.
The path of life is windy and breathtakingly beautiful
A new year brings the opportunity to reassess our lives, dream up new goals, and realign our path to meet those goals. Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my creative journey. I am very grateful for this opportunity to further my writing, and I hope to keep doing so in 2016. But the more I associate with the word “artist,” the more I realize that there’s a lot more to my artistic expression than the written word.

Lots of artist dabble in other art forms. In an interview I heard recently with writer Maggie Nelson, she talks about the dance world she inhabited for a long time in New York City. And it is no secret that my friend, the jazz singer Cecile McLorin Salvant, makes visual art aside from creating breathtaking music. In fact, her gorgeous artwork decorates all of her CD covers! This makes me wonder what other artists cross between art worlds, because I am sure there are many.

Dance is something that has been in my blood since forever – since before my mother put me in dance classes at the age of seven, and long after I got too cool for costumes and dress rehearsals. Sometime around high school, my hobby switched from dance to photography when I started learning to develop photographs in the darkroom under the mentorship of one of my favorite people, Ms. Colette Stemple. Moving back to Miami in 2012 rekindled my love for dance as I started attending salsa socials and Vixen dance classes several times a week. At USF, I dance at least two or three nights a week – anytime I get the chance, basically – and I always squeeze in a dance class or salsa night anytime I’m in Miami. All the while, I’ve never stopped taking (a million and one) photographs everywhere I go.

View from Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this except to say that I want to honor these other forms of artistic expression in this new year. As fate would have it, two of my photographs have been accepted for The Fourth River’s climate change issue forthcoming this spring. Not to mention, I'll be taking a visual narrative class this spring with graphic novelist and fellow Miamian, Jared Rosellรณ! So I will certainly be dabbling in visual art, whether I want to or not :)

On the dance front, it looks like I’ll have the chance to get the group fitness training at my university’s gym that will allow me to teach my very own dance classes! This would mean shadowing a favorite teacher and coming up with my own dance routines – something I haven’t done since I was a little girl dancing around my bedroom!

I don’t want my writing life to get watered down by any means – I hope to have a second (or third?!) completed draft of my novel by the end of 2016 as well as several more polished personal essays. But I am looking forward to the ways leaning into these other art forms might enhance or at least influence my writing practice.

Every now and then, I think about this amazing young woman (video below) and her "Creative Compulsive Disorder." Whatever it is you're making, it can never be a bad thing to create!