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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Writer As Artist

I've never had any artistic ability. None whatsoever. When in college, I had to take a class called "Art For The Handicapped Child." It was a required course for Special Ed majors. The instructor was an older woman who rarely smiled or had a kind word. We were working with clay, creating animals, I think. She walked by me, stopped and said, "That would be fine if a blind child had done it." Cringe! What I needed was help not criticism. 

I could not draw or paint or model clay very well but I could paint my world with words, and I did. Unlike most college students, I reveled in writing papers for my classes. I didn't start writing other things for a good many years but I always had the desire to write. I tell young would-be writers today to act upon that desire. Don't let life get in the way as I did. 

Artists of all kinds--sculptors, painters, musicians, writers--bring so much to our world. Think of the many hours of pleasure you have had when admiring paintings and sculptures in a museum, or at a concert or in reading myriad books. These many artists enrich our lives and soothe our souls. It always saddens me when I see budget cuts needed and the arts is one of the first groups to have funds slashed. Granted, they are not a necessity but they offer so very much. 

I once wrote a poem that placed in a writing contest that speaks to the part the arts play in our lives., especially writing. Read it and think about how all of these artists have touched your own life and, if you are a writer, how you have made a difference in the lives of readers. All artists speak with a different voice. As writers, ours is with words. 

Artists All

Painting with oils,
watercolors brushed across paper,
clay molded by loving hands, 
marble chiseled to exquisite form.

Artists ply their trade
by the golden light of day,
by the velvet depths of night
with passion and joy.

One more artist joins the ranks.
The writer brushes words over paper,
molds a story bit by glittering bit,
chisels a novel to survive the ages.

Life stories are gathered
from country roads to city streets,
written from the depths of a heart
bursting with intensity and rapture.

Artists all, masters of creation,
be they painters, sculptors or writers,
leaving footprints on canvas, marble and paper--
heartfelt tributes embraced by mankind.
                                           ---Nancy Julien Kopp

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