Friday, May 4, 2012

Creativity...from where does it come?

A friend of many years asked me recently about the source of my creativity. I had never thought of it in quite that way. I am from a creative family. My grandfathers, father and brother are Irish storytellers, my father a carver in bone, my brother Jerry a self-taught artist along with my mother. My brother, Pat is incredibly poetic, even though his dyslexia is a haunting factor. If he had patented all of his metal fabrications, he would be famous for them.

I loved the beauty of words on a page,  even before I could read. Coming from a creative family is a factor. Living in the beauty of the Western United States for most of my life is another.learned early to look for the first crocus of spring, to listen for the first cricket, and to be outdoors at the time of sunrise and sunset. I developed an artist's eye, to see beyond a stand of buffalo grass to what lay beneath, and what over eyes had observed similar grasses.

I have always encouraged students to honor their own creativity. We don't have to be artists, or dancers, or writers to be express our creativity. It can be in the way we dress, the way we decorate a room, or plant a garden. We all know people who live creatively, who are different from the norm.

Dare to be different. If colors are drab according to fashion, wear brights because they suit you better. You don't need to be stylish if you don't like what style is. Be you, but first you have to discern who you are, or who you want to be.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Poet Laureate, Silver City; Grant County, NM

I have been selected as the inaugural poet laureate for southwestern New Mexico. I cannot tell you how humbled I am by this two-year appointment. I feel as though I am back in my Montana one-room school, and just received a gold star for the week. I am especially pleased to be able to use the post of poet laureate to enhance the awareness of the literary arts in our area.

I anticipate encouraging other writers, particularly those who were as insecure as I was about showing my poetry to anyone. The idea of reading it aloud terrified me. I hope that beginning poets will contact me, and that I can meet with them individually, or plan workshops that will leave them feeling more confident. Needless to say, my own poetry will be richer for the experience.

I am looking forward to meeting the other poet laureates in our state. There are now four. Only a short time ago, there one in Santa Fe. A poet laureate was selected in Albuquerque this week. Unfortunately, the poet laureate of Las Cruces died recently.

I will be writing more often on my blog, and poetry will be a frequent topic along with a few comparisons of poetry revision and pruning in the garden.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who Would Read Them?

Today I burned the syllabi for the last graduate courses I taught. It was hard to see them go. I will not be teaching counseling or education courses again, even if I am asked. The time it would take from my present undertakings would be difficult. It means I will never sit in a seminar room again with a group of students I am intent on awakening to the subject at hand. The fun of seeing them involved in their own learning, their own core beliefs, their own reasons for wanting to be teachers or counselors. I wanted to teach until the day I knew I should not, but it doesn't work that way. Other factors got in the way of continuing to keep alive the part of my career that I loved most.

Syllabi were my opportunity to exercise a bit of creativity within the academic mold. Some of them were for courses I developed. It is interesting to contrast what was happening in 1971 with my new doctoral degree in hand, and an opportunity to broaden the thinking of Western New Mexico University students. I put on my ERA bracelet and wrote a rationale for a new course, Psychology of Women. It was  met with the expected firestorm of university committee thought. Why a course for women if an equal one did not exist for men? I explained that all psychology of the time was psychology of men. And so the course was finally approved, and I was overrun with interested students. The first course, upper division and graduate level had sixty students sign up for it. Even divided in half, it would have been too large for the discussion groups which were at its heart. Students were organized into smaller groups of ten, and so began the discussion of how it is that men who are capable of great love for women are not capable of an equal amount of respect.

Today, more than forty years later, I hear Rick Santorum, candidate for president, speak about why women should be in the home, chained by that devil birth control.He just won in two Southern states! In my blog tomorrow, I will go on to pursue another course I developed, Psychology of the Chicano, and a discussion of minority status including that of women. Maybe I do need to save those syllabi from the fire!