Ploughshares' Spring 2012 issue is a stunner. From Jamie Quatro's story "Sinkhole" to Andrew Meredith's nonfiction "The Removers" and I can't leave out Mary Jo Bang's poem "Practice for Being Empty," this whole issue is a fire giving life to a tired campsite.
Lauren Groff's essay "Swimming: A Plan B Essay" is a brilliantly written piece comparing the process and passion of a swimmer with that of a writer. Groff writes, "Full immersion, of course, is the highest level of anything." If this essay doesn't inspire one to write, I don't know what else can. I hope you are as moved by it as I am. This one's going on my office bulletin board.
I've been a "shadow artist" too long. It wasn't until I began reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron last week that I discovered the name for it:
"Artists themselves but ignorant of their true identity, shadow artists are to be found shadowing declared artists."
"Creativity is play, but for shadow artists, learning to allow themselves to play is hard work."
The good news is, I've been working on emerging from the shadows, but I'm not out yet. I still have some work to do. It's one day at a time. Here are some lines from this inspiring book that are helping me to move along in the direction I know I want to go:
"Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves."
Art is faith. I'm a believer.
What is art to you? How have you emerged from the shadows?