This is a question I am getting asked, in various ways, lately.
How come I am suddenly an artist not a writer? (Although actually writing is a form of art.)
Sometimes I sense disappointment in the questions, but usually it is simply confusion.
The writing isn’t gone, as such. But it is no longer my primary form of expression. I still accept writing commissions. I have an editorial business where I help other writers’ words to shine.
But yes, I have shifted to the visual arts – to picture, image, using various materials.
My life has changed phenomenally over the past two years. I am no longer who I was.
Central to this and to its expression has been discovery and creation with non-verbal art. I love the freedom and the play I can experience with colour and texture. They feel more fluid, less didactic than words. It gives me the ability to discover and create but not be pinned down.
I love the thrill of colour, the openness to interpretation, how it makes me feel.
Art makes me feel free. Writing is, and always has been, more complicated, for me. I am burned out on words. My words. As I have made enormous changes in my life, these reflect deeper changes within myself. Although, if I am honest, it is like I am discovering my true self for the first time. I have always struggled to find her, let alone express her. Now, at last, I am beginning to know her.
I can’t explain her, and that’s the point. I lived so much of my life looking for explanations, finding the right words to say what I wanted to say but failing, pinning down meaning, trying to work out what was right and good.
I have let go. And that letting go was sharp and traumatic and terrifying.
But I have landed in a soft, tender place, where I feel safe to be me. And safe to say how I feel. And not be squished into being something I am not.
I don’t know what will happen with the writing; I am obviously writing NOW without thinking about it. I think the new me (or possibly the true me that was locked inside) is finding the best ways to express herself. And art chimes so powerfully with her.
Art brings me joy. Pure, luscious joy. And I need joy.
She will write, this Me I have found. But how and when and in what way I don’t know yet. She will sound different. She has shed her skin. She is less dogmatic, more playful. The butterfly of her heart is no longer pinned down.
The question is less ‘what happened to the writing?’
And more… what happened to me?
The answer to that is vague and cloudy but it is genuine. Some parts of the story are too private to share here but they are still intrinsic to making me who I am now.
From the ashes, the Phoenix rises.
I was already writing about beginning again.
And then I did.
And it’s hard and it’s tough and there’s a lot to work through. But I am myself. And I like myself. I am learning to recognise my value.