I have always been a word person.
I read a lot as a child. In the summer I would max out my library card and that of my mother every two weeks. I did all my mandatory summer reading for school. I even read the dictionary.
I excelled at word games like Boggle and Scrabble. A boyfriend in college, an engineering student, was the first person to ever beat me in Boggle. I was impressed. I married him.
I learned everything through words. In ballet class growing up, I would watch the teacher demonstrate the movement, translate it to words, then teach it to myself by my own verbal coaching. Needless to say I was not a very fluid dancer.
When planning travel, I want to go to visit places I have read about. When I visit places, I want to go read about them. I am that tourist who takes a boat tour along the Amalfi Coast, reading about the Amalfi Coast.
I talk a lot. When I was in labor, unmedicated, with our second son, the nurse told my husband, “She is nowhere near delivery; She is still talking through contractions.” He replied. “You don’t know my wife; call the doctor.” Four pushes later Andrew Henry Powell was born.
Don’t draw me a map – give me directions. Don’t show me the news video – I want to read the article. Music without words – why bother?
Most television bores me, and I have a strange anxiety about movies, unless I know the story. And while I can feel a little superior about lack of interest in those areas, I am rather embarrassed to admit that I have little passion for art. In obligatory trips to the finest art museums in the world, I have spent more of my time reading guidebooks about the art than looking at the art itself.
So it has been a welcome surprise how much I have enjoyed my friend Betsy’s blog Artstormer, recently recognized by the Nashville Scene as Best Art Blog in Best of Nashville 2012. She aptly describes it as “Flash storms of art for the visually addicted.”
If you already enjoy art you will love it. It you want to learn to enjoy art, you must not miss it.
I started following Betsy’s blog after she came and helped me get started with mine. One of her first suggestions, upon seeing pages and pages of text, was that I add illustrations. Hadn’t thought of that!
My first visit to the her blog, I saw lots of pictures. It actually surprised me . . . I expected words about art. Instead she had pictures and even videos of art. What a concept.
Visiting Artstormer is now a regular part of my week. I try to simply see the art. It is beginning to get exciting – like a whole new world is opening up. I try to drink the images in with my eyes. I struggle to quiet the running commentary in my head where I translate the images to words. Perhaps it is a bit like learning a foreign language. It is only when you quit translating and just start thinking in another language that you become fluent.
I strive to think visually, to be open to experiencing the art. But as compelling as the images are, I can only attend to the visual for a time. Like a novice swimmer, letting go of the side of the pool, I feel insecure and unsettled, lost and uncertain.
I read the blog comments.
My stability is restored.
I am back in the realm of words, where I feel in control. But I am at least beginning to wonder what I may be missing, here clinging to the side of the pool.