Monday, December 05, 2016

Seven Weeks of Whitman

I'm doing a round of "The 42s" from my Head, Heart and Hands: Developing Your Creative Voice workbook. I'll blog bits and pieces and this and that and random thoughts here now and then. (I wrote more about the workbook here.)

A bit of background about "The 42s" and my current inspiration.

"The 42" is a framework for a daily practice to focus, refine or develop a skill or an idea. The framework is seven weeks — long enough to discover potential and possibility, but not so long that it feels monotonous. I suggest taking one day off each week. Seven weeks minus one day each week will result in 42 completed tasks — and new insight into your creative voice!

In the workbook, there are separate suggestions for head, heart and hands. 

I'm embarking on the "head" version which is basically a research project. I'm studying Walt Whitman's Song of Myself... and other related stuff as it arises.

Last year a line from the poem kept creeping into my consciousness.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

I made a quilt with the quote. 

And another quilt inspired by the first quilt. 

I keep hearing it. It's even the title of a hot new non-fiction book.

Just today Lin Manuel Miranda mentioned the quote in the context of a new rap album.

So, I'll spend the next seven weeks reading Song of Myself, making a few notes, learning more about Whitman and discovering other bits of art and pop culture that are inspired by "multitudes."

I started with a trip to the library where I picked up this stack.

That fat anthology has the unabridged version of Song of Myself. It's 47 pages long. I decided I wanted to be able to make notes, so I ordered this version from Amazon. Only $2.50! It will arrive on Wednesday, so I'll read from the book until then.

I read the first two sections this morning and wrote this line down to remember.

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I also read a biography written for children. I got to this page and wondered who the illustrator was.

It's the brilliant Brian Selznick who I've written about before. See!?!? These are the kind of weird, wonderful and unexpected connections that I just love.

I'm not sure how this research will find its way into my work. Maybe it won't. That's fine. But I was really eager to wrap my head around something new. I needed to escape a bit from social media and words read only on a screen, and everything about 2016. Song of Myself was written in 1855. I am sure I will find it relevant to my life today. 


Joanne S said...

I think you have already discovered that in 47 days you will be uncovering (unravelling) quite a few connected or disconnected things relating to the original thought. I love that you found the reference to a rapper. And, of course, I am always in love with your bowls.

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Six degrees of separation. Today I brought out your mug for the holidays, and I have a Whitman anthology on the shelves beside my chair. I Sing the Body Electric

Margaret said...

Aha! Early this a.m., reading SAQA Yahoo posts, I found myself wondering about what could I have enough curiosity to explore in depth? Not fascination (as in tree bark or stands of trees) but curiosity...and realized I'd dipped my toe into it when I did a piece based on Tim McGraw's version of "Humble & Kind". Now to ponder till I get past Christmas, make notes as they arise...and get into it in the New Year! Thank you!

Charlotte Scott said...

I just bought your book through Etsy and am looking forward to working through it come the new year. You've got me thinking already.

Lucy said...

I just ordered your workbook. My painting instructor asked us what our creative goals are for 2017. Mine is to be more disciplined (spend more time being creative) and to work towards finding my style. I need a funnel or lens to pull my creativity into focus! Right now I'm scattered all over the place. A strange path lead me to Deborah and her work and I think her teachings are just what I need at this point in my creative journey. I'm looking forward to the next 7 weeks!