Last night I had the pleasure of teaching a Blackout Poetry workshop at Flint Public Library in Middleton, Massachusetts. I was invited to celebrate National Poetry Month at Flint by my lovely friend Jessica Lynne Furtado, another very talented artist.
There are a lot of positive aspects to being a creative, but one of my favorite is seeing others who are new to an art form let go and starting making. Without a doubt, every time I begin a Blackout workshop, there will be a handful of participants who view my work and decide "I can't do that." And without (another) doubt, those same participants will be heads down, working away, taking chances, and making their own poems within minutes of getting their hands on the art supplies.
I think it is easy to assume that all artists are very protective of their crafts. Really, at least from my perspective, I'm much more protective of my products, but I love to share my various crafts. I especially love passing on a form of art or writing to younger workshop participants because kids tend to dive right into the work more freely. But watching adults release the tension of their days at work or driving kids from place to place is incredibly gratifying. Remember what is was like to make things "just because"? Or what it was like to stop thinking so much about "doing it right" and just start doing? As "grown-ups" we sometimes forget the satisfaction of acting without direction or control over every part of the end result. But with Blackout Poems, the control lies with what is placed in front of you, and definitely not within your power as the maker. This letting go of control has allowed me to be more free in the rest of my work outside of Blackout.
Here are some picture of the fun we had in our workshop. Every time I conclude an event, I can't wait to get back to the office to start making again. After working with this group, I have a busy, creative week ahead of me!