© Another Day in the Country
Weekend days tend to be “movie days” for me. Going to a movie is a treat, a reward, something to look forward to. Sometimes the movies we see are thought provoking, sometimes shocking, sweet, funny; but always an adventure.
This time I saw a film called “Patterson,” about a man who lived in a town by the same name and was incongruously a poet.
Incongruous because the man was not, from all appearances, a literary sort. He was a bus driver who did the same thing almost every day of the week — getting up, going to work, fulfilling his shift, be kind to people, walking home, tending to the dog, going by the bar to have a beer.
The film was slow, repetitive, somewhat mundane. Eventually the routine was predictable, and all the time I watched I half expected something dramatic to happen, but it rarely did.
And through it all this man watched, observed, absorbed life going on around him and wrote poetry in a little book he carried with him.
The poetry didn’t rhyme, like poetry often doesn’t, however, the words were strung together like a necklace. Carefully chosen words that conveyed meaning by being picked from all the other words available and clumped together on the page into poetry that had a unique rhythm, a new idea, a way of singing.
All this going on in the mind of a man who goes through life unnoticed.
I also love words, so I loved the movie and delighted over the mundane things that sparked his creativity. I’m sure some folk would think the movie boring. Not me.
On the way home from the theater I started thinking about where creativity comes from and how it is expressed and how unexpectedly it appears.
My third grade class in art is learning how to draw a cylinder. We are drawing fruit jars and attempting to duplicate curves to show that the jar is round.
“And now you can fill the jars with things you like,” I told them. “These are canning jars.”
I explained how I canned tomatoes from my garden and made pickles and pepper jam, saving them for winter. I don’t know how many of their mothers can, so this was an interesting concept.
“It’s a way of keeping food,” I explained. “For this project, let’s pretend you can also keep things you like that normally wouldn’t be found in a canning jar.”
I inadvertently opened the door to guns and chainsaws, jars of camping supplies and bacon, sitting on the pantry shelf beside flowers and rainbows.
It’s okay, this unbounded creativity, because every week in class we repeat the mantra, “I am an artist,” and who knows how their artistic side will show itself in the span of their lifetime?
Maybe they’ll become sculptors like my friend Michaela who discovered clay after her child was grown and now has a one-woman show appearing at the Sandzen Gallery in Lindsborg.
Maybe they’ll design gardens or houses. Maybe they’ll become dentists and ply their artistic talent on teeth, as one of my young students already has done. Or maybe they’ll raise cattle, live on a farm, and paint pastels in the evening, or write songs and sing them to you in their spare time.
My friend Phyl was an art teacher, too, and her passion is creating crosses out of found objects, which is a fancy name for junk.
Friends bring her fodder for her creativity — parts of an old piano, discarded door keys, nuts and bolts, old hardware, sticks and stones which she carefully categorizes and sorts into brand new toolboxes with wheels.
Who knows what artist lurks within the people in your world who look on the outside just like anybody else — the bus driver, the farmer, the cook — but on the inside they see, record, create, remember, write down, and sometime share, their unique view of another day in the country.