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Making Art

"Sunrise from the Deck" © by Michael Gold 2024 with permission.  Michael began his artistic career as a painter and became a well known documentary and portrait photographer. "I paint with my camera," he once told me. 



The world is a sphere. There is no East or West.

― Ai Weiwei, Weiwei-isms


Your life is already artful-waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art.

-Toni Morrison


I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.

― Georgia O'Keeffe





At different times I've written in different genres, sometimes simultaneously. I might be writing a poem while finishing up an essay, or attempting my first murder mystery while on assignment for a magazine. Every genre and every subject stretches and inspires me. I never stop. Every day, I try to express ideas with the tools I have available—notebook and paper, my computer, my phone, my chatterbox brain struggling to make sense of my life, ordering it into sentences and stories.  In the  first scene of the Netflix documentary, American Symphony, about the musician and composer, Jon Batiste, the camera lingers on his sculptural hands hovering over the piano keyboard. His eyes are closed until a note or a melody surfaces, and he begins to play. He is patient and attentive, as is the filmmaker, whose tool is the camera. And the viewer must remain patient also. "Nothing that surrounds is object, all is subject," the surrealist poet André Breton wrote. Once we are engaged with a work, if we are open to receive it, it becomes ours.


All art making is experimentation, a challenge to conventional expectations in its singularity, more so when an artist has long experience and control of his/her/ their craft. I don't think for a moment that as professional, accomplished writers, photographers, visual artists or musicians we should repeat ourselves if we have found a winning money-making formula. Nor that we should impose new ideas on a devoted cohort of fans if they are unwilling. There might be appreciation, disdain, or confusion when new work is presented that departs radically from what we have done before. No matter. We press on with our muse and our purpose. Our creative impulse effloresces and a creation has reached fruition. Let it be shown, read, performed, or played without censorship or restraint.


This post is dedicated to all the exiled Russian writers and artists—and to Navalny whose defiance inside a despotic regime was a creative act. May his courage inspire all of us in our efforts to celebrate and protect life and freedom.




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