I just read a piece on writer Jodi Picoult in the latest issue of Oprah magazine, words that made me drop it and run out here to my ‘puter to write.
You can read the complete introduction here.
In essence, she says book, a work of fiction, does not stand on its own, nor does it tell one “truth”.
There is the writer telling a story, but there is also a reader connecting to it in their own unique way, bringing their own truth to it–their past, their thoughts, their future.
A good story may not make you change, but it will ask you to consider it….
Change a word here and there, and I realize she could be describing any artist.
“It’s my job as a[n] writer/artist/jewelry designer/singer/dancer/painter to tell you a story that’s going to take you away from whatever you’re doing….and make you ask yourself…..”
In Ms. Picoult’s mind, she wants you to question your assumptions about yourself. “Why are my opinions what they are?“, she asks you to ask yourself. Why do you think what you think?
I realize I, too, want my collectors and followers to ask themselves these questions. In fact, the same questions I ask myself when I’m stuck:
Why do I think I can’t be a bigger person, a happier person, a better person?
Why do think I cannot achieve great things?
Why do I think I cannot be the artist/singer/dancer/writer I was meant to be?
What can I offer the world? How can I be the change I want to see it it?
The things I make are proof I can think big, I can be happy, I can be better. I can achieve great things, and I can be the artist I was meant to be.
These little birds, these bulls and bears, these horses and fish, and bones, shells, stones, are what I have to offer. The stories that come to me when I make them, they are the change I want to be.
I may slip-slide away from time to time, but when I come back to this work, I am back to myself–my best self.
When I make my jewelry with animal artifacts, I like to think that each artifact I make is a little totem, an animal spirit that speaks to someone, a certain someone. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched someone search my offerings in my booth, and suddenly exclaim over one particular piece, one special horse or bird or bear. That one!)
I see each little critter as a spirit guide, leaving my world, going out into that person’s world. Something that inspires them, supports them, celebrates their spirit. Urges them to dream, to leap, to fly.
For some reason, I see the wall hangings as the crowbar Ms. Picoult refers to, “…that slides under your skin and, with luck, cracks your mind wide open.”
Because I’ve seen that in my booth, too. Someone entering, sometimes in awe, sometimes in idle curiosity, browsing, admiring, looking–and suddenly, a certain wall hanging simply grabs them emotionally, spiritually, and takes them away to another place.
My husband pointed this out to me, how one piece will catch someone’s eye, and they stop. They move in a little closer. And then they do a little head tilt, which means, an artist friend once told me, their creative/emotional/spiritual right brain is whirring feverishly trying to process this wonderful new thing.
I love it when that happens.
Awhile back, a beloved customer asked if she could come to my studio for an hour or so, just to hang out. “I won’t be in the way,” she said. “I just need a little ‘mental vacation’, and all I can think about is your lovely studio.”
Of course I said yes, and she came by and browsed and poked around while I worked.
She then shared a wonderful story with me. She’d attended a conference at a local college, attended by people from all over the world, of every color/tribe/culture you can imagine. “As colorful as New Hampshire gets,” she said wryly. “It was amazing, the power and energy in that place.”
One speaker, a woman, gave a moving speech, and afterward, my friend met her briefly just to say thank you.
They ended up talking for a few moments. Then the woman saw my friend’s necklace–a horse necklace I had made. She reached out and touched the pendant gently and said slowly, “This little fellow is wonder-ful!” With the emphasis on “wonder”, my friend said.
“She knew your work was special,” my friend said. “She knew.” My work crossed every line of distance, culture, color and creed, and spoke the same language of a kindred heart.
I love it when that happens, too.
Stories. We all got ’em. Good ones, too.
Start spreading them out into the world.
Can you tell I’m getting my mojo back?