Paint by Word

7149966049_9b7a43b2a9_mMary Laura Philpott, in her 28 Brilliant Creators post, reports Pulitzer prize winning novelist Jane Smiley would tell her 30-year old self now, if she could, to stop worrying.

For those of you who are at least friends with me on Facebook, you would have gotten notifications that my birthday was last week. I have been told I’m 43. It’s hard for me to remember my age. I have to do the math, or have someone else do the math. My age is just not that important.

But, I actually worry a lot.

I worry about my kids. I worry about the electric bill–I’m always turning off lights. I worry about rent. I worry about my job, and I am an adjunct instructor so I work on a contract basis semester to semester, and if my classes don’t hit enrollment numbers then my pay drops, I worry about my non-existent 401k, and I worry about how I’ll afford next month’s dance classes for my daughter.

And so my worry always centers around money. This is a hard hump to get over.
Tweet: And so my worry always centers around money. This is a hard hump to get over via @SteveBargdill

We talked in class last week about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid. The pyramid is kind of set up like a video game–you advance through the levels. Once you’ve met the requirements of simply breathing and eating, you can then move on to shelter and clothing, then love/belonging, esteem, and finally you are self-actualized.Maslows-Hierarchy-of-Needs

Maslow set the hierarchy into a rigid unmovable pyramid. But in class, we talked about how the pyramid wasn’t built of stone but built of water–that the levels were fluid and movable and mixed with each other.

I think about Picasso who lived in abject poverty yet created with abandon. Certainly, he was self-actualized. How can I paint with words in the same way?

Friday: Justin Treasure and David Sadaris on reading out loud.


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2 thoughts on “Paint by Word

    • I don’t believe I’m Christian anymore. But when it comes to the idea of worry, and why we worry, I often think of Matthew 6:26-34:

      “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

      I often wonder exactly what that verse means. Countless have less than I, and those who worry about the cleanliness of the very water they drink.

      So much exists that we cannot control, and what we can control is often confused with what we cannot do anything about.

      It’s a hard line to walk and still attempt to create, to be artists in our own rite and rights. So much is about living in the moment, being present for yourself and others.

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