As I type this post, I’m relishing having time for creative work of all sorts. I spent a few hours this week playing with poster design for a friend’s band – the one in which my partner Mick plays saxophone. I’d forgotten how much I like doing this kind of thing, playing around with page layouts and borders and fonts and soft edges on photos. My challenge is always not to overdo any special effects, to remember that one font is all that should be present and it sure as hell shouldn’t be comic sans. My son the artist has made sure I know these things.
My friend and off-and-on poetry/art collaborator Constance Brewer and I have also renewed our commitment to working together on some poetry this year. Somewhere along the way during the pandemic, my desire to work on poetry left me and I knew it was time to just let it be. That was a good decision; this is a welcome shift at what feels like the right time. I’m a big fan of taking breaks to regain/realign perspective and refill my creative reservoir. And I’ m grateful for other creative friends who understand the way creativity ebbs and flows.
What do others do to fill that reservoir? In the past, I’ve recharged with travel, reading, hiking with my camera, cooking, going to the movies. Sometimes a long conversation will do it, but not always given my tendency to be quiet when I need to recharge. Often, time just sitting outside somewhere without people is enough.
That said, I’ve been thinking about what 2023 might look like for creative practice and inspiration. Where to get it. How to keep it going. Doing band posters and collaborating with Connie are a start. There are already two trips on my 2023 calendar, one to Seattle and one to France. I got a new camera in the fall, so am thinking about where to hike when the weather is warm enough that cold fingers aren’t an issue. And there are assorted art surfaces in my basement waiting for me to put paint on them. There are ample opportunities to learn and create.
This is as close as I ever get to anything designated as a resolution.
In other news, I was invited to contribute a poem to a SongSLAM team in the SongSLAM Minneapolis that took place at the Ice House on January 6, 2023. Twin Cities musicians/composers Melissa Kristin Holm-Johansen, Scott Senko, and Bryon Wilson chose the poem Fall Farmers Market from my chapbook, How We Learned to Shut Our Own Mouths, as lyrics for their composition.
Here’s the poem:
Fall Farmers Market by Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Splotches of red, green, purple, orange and yellow Monet together until I put my glasses on, grocery list in hand, morning air crisp, clear. Farm trucks form two parallel lines, back ends facing each other, tables straining beneath this morning’s harvest. I can’t resist the warty pumpkins even though Halloween is over a month away. Nor can I pass up perfect purple eggplant, cherry tomatoes of red and gold, shiny orange peppers, earthy inky beets with bits of dirt still stuck to their skins. I dream of baba ghanouj, vegetable kebabs, sheet pans of roasted goodness. In this moment, pandemics seem far away, cruelty impossible in the face of such abundance. All I want is to cook for everyone, show them the many colors of love.
And here’s an audio from the rehearsal:
The team placed third in the competition. How cool is that?
Not a bad start to 2023.