27 October 2014

On writing more

Lexie recently posted about wanting to write more, to utilize blogging as a platform for maintaining a writing practice. But also wanting to write about everything. Not wanting to compartmentalize her relationship, her job, her bits of consumption ;). And I find myself thinking the same exact thing. I want a blog that's full of me gushing about grad school things, the museum world, the weird things Andrew and I do on a regular basis (we are weirdos pretty much all of the time).

It such a strange thing to want a space where I can talk/type and get my thoughts and memories out. I've taken to saving my best writing for my Writing for Exhibitions class, go figure. And one thing I've really taken from that class is that writing must be a practice. Being a good writer is like working out, it involves exercising a muscle.

Lori Waxman (on the left), performing 60 WRD/MIN
On a recent visit to our class, Lori Waxman of the Chicago Tribune and SAIC spoke to us about an ongoing projected titled 60 words per minute, in which she wrote criticism for artists as a performance piece. At Documenta (13), she set up a booth with a computer (connected to a projector), and she wrote. Artists visited her with their selected portfolios, and in the span of 30 minutes, she analyzed their work, and wrote a critical review of their practice and oeuvre. While she wrote, the projector placed her words and process into a public domain, giving you a peek into her writing style and practice. Over the course of three months, she wrote some 250 reviews, all of which were published in the local paper. But what Lori told us was that this practice was no small feat. She wrote and wrote and wrote, working her muscle until it was strong and almost a little robotic. She gave back to the community she was temporarily a part of, serving up reviews and criticism for artists who simply wanted their work to be looked at.

I think of Lori's 60 words per minute project and I am both overwhelmed and inspired. Writing is hard. Writing takes time and energy. Finding the time and energy to write for myself, for my blog, for my classes, for my hobbies, for my internship - well, it's a lot. But never once do I finish writing something and feel as though it wasn't worth it. Writing is taxing but it's a way for me to express myself that has somehow become my predominant mode of expression. So often friends and family ask me if I'm still painting, if I'm still taking photos, and sometimes I just want to shout NO! For now writing is how I want to work things out. Writing is how I want to process my life and work through what's happening to me. It feels so good to have reached a point in my mid-life-era where I am confident in so many of my skills and abilities, but making the time for the big ones is the next challenge I want to embark upon. Emma is trying her darndest to keep painting and keep blogging, and I'm hoping to make some space for my words over here. Girl, you continue to inspire me!

Signing off with love and admiration for all of you writers and makers out there, Sandy.

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