In her letter, Eavan Boland speaks to a nameless, faceless
poet, and sets out to describe what it is like to have carried
the weight of a poet's pen. A renowned poet, Boland has the
authority to write her letter. And here I am, a poet and artist
who sits down once a month to emulate her in a small way. Her
model was Rainer Maria Rilke, whose Letters to a Young Poet
is a classic text for poetry.
It seems that some of us have the urge to teach and to share
what we have learned about our craft and process. I believe
that an urge to teach may be the answer to why I blog. Teaching
was my profession. When on-line courses were first being discussed
in department meetings, I was puzzled. Teaching implied the
presence and response of students I could see and hear, students
whose interactions with each other were exciting to watch, students
whose thinking-out-loud statements and questions were back-lit
by their facial expressions. Teaching was a living art.
Then came that day when the bulging briefcase, the cramped
office, and lively classroom were not part of my intellectual
What would I do when I had the urge to teach? I love to write.
I love to make art. I love to reflect on my process, whether
it be in the studio or at the keyboard. My letters to you every
month give me the opportunity to respond to my urge to share
what I am learning, in case you might find it useful or interesting.
I make up my own course of study. I am constantly on the lookout
for a new idea, a fresh insight, a question I can step into
every month. Soon after www.paletteandpen.com
was launched, my web manager, Patsy McCowan, "You know
what you're doing when you write Judy's Journal? You are writing
a blog!" It's funny how something that I have done since
October 2004 is rooted in memory with that statement.
Happy New Year! Remember this, as you struggle to maintain
your creative self: Art may not help you to make a living, but
it will make your life worth living.