Did you notice? I took a little side trip this week. I decided to write haiku based on what I drew, rather than what I spied with my little eye in my surroundings.
This was kind of a big deal for me.
In Kindergarten, my art teacher made the whole class laugh at Jimmy Dolan’s drawing. THE. WHOLE. CLASS. In Kindergarten!
In Jr. High, my art teacher was the most profoundly unhappy person I had up to that point ever met. He terrified me even before he excoriated me, again in front of the whole class, for not drawing the bird to the scale of the rest of the objects in my painting. I went to bed crying, worried I would not be able to graduate.
Thus, I never considered myself a visual artist. That I do now, is largely due to the genuine enthusiasm of the person I live with.
If I absolutely needed to, if there was no other way to express what I was thinking, I would draw something. He always would say something like, “Wow! That’s so good!”
(If you’ve ever been complimented by Robin Bienemann, you know not to second-guess it because he only says what he means. And also you feel like you won the lottery.)
So I believed him, and actually, that enthusiasm helped me recover from what I had experienced in the past, to even contemplate what might be possible in the future. But aside from the rush of endorphins, I generally set his comments aside and did other things with my life.
That changed when I needed images to go with the haiku in my tiny book Reckoning (info at haikumilieu.com). The artist I had wanted to do it was not available, and I had to draw the images myself.
It has been about 6 months since I walked out into the yard, picked up a stick, dipped it in ink, and made pictures. It calls to me when I need to do it. I don’t yet know if needs to become a more consistent thing that I do.
All I know is I enjoy it, I have set it up so it is easy to do when it is time to do it, and it makes me feel like a kid again. It’s FUN.
If you told me in my school years that I would find drawing delightful later in life, I would have fallen in a dead faint on the pink shag rug of my older sister’s bedroom.
If you told me in 2019 when we started these shows that by 2021, Haiku Milieu concerts were going to be a “thing” with their own YouTube channel,125 songs so far and more on the way, I might not have fainted…but I would have had to sit down.
Friday, April 23 is the Haiku Milieu Virtu-Concert: Duos! Robin is hosting this one with me, as we are, among other notable things, a musical duo.
We asked people to do things they don’t necessarily do: collaborate to bring a piece to life. Write the song together? Ok. Don’t write the song together? Also ok. But bring the piece to life together somehow? They had to do that, by hook or by crook.
When you see these pieces, we think you will experience what I experienced in writing to my own drawings rather than photographs: the incredible freshness of grappling with the “new.” Not all of us, even in duos, collaborate regularly; few of us have made videos; and hardly any of this group writes to any prompt other than the whisperings of their own muse.
And you know what? The joy of doing something you don’t do all the time, of stretching your wings, and letting the best you can do be good enough, is infectious.
Will the Haiku Milieu Virtu-Concert artists go on to collaborate more? To make more videos? To write from inspiration based on anything other than their own artistic urgings? That remains to be seen.
What we know for sure is, they did it really beautifully for this show.
Whether you are an artist or an audience member, if you join us for the Haiku Milieu Virtu-Concert: Duos edition, you are playing an absolutely imperative role in the cycle of creativity.
You are encouraging and inspiring the creation of new things with your enthusiasm, just like Robin did with me and drawing.
Let's do this together.
We stream via Facebook on Friday, April 23 at 7:30 pm. Join us.