Advice From The Poet: On Creating Art & Community

I came to San Miguel de Allende via Wonderland and Oz…

It was at an eclectic gathering comprised of a handful of locals, a few European and North American ex-pats, a fistful of fellow travelers, some missionaries and several artists and authors at a bohemian house party in an artsy community along the Mexican hillside that we all converged one January evening in the new year of a young millennium for a Poetry Reading.

It was amidst that memorable menagerie surrounded by the scent of bougainvillea, faint cologne and warm bodies cooling like stale toast as we assembled comfortably under the high boveda ceilings that this girl from Ontario first met The Girl From Ermita and the Poet who penned her story.  He was a humble and wise man of many years; with witty and potent words, and when he spoke the mighty pen of a poet pierced my soul.

I had been asked to read a few of my own original poems to ‘open’ for the distinguished Poet who headlined the evening.  Having reluctantly agreed to the proposal, and leaving my introverted-self bound and gagged in the guest quarters with my passport and luggage, grabbing my travel journal my inner extrovert dabbed on some lip gloss and slipped into a loose-fitting top, linen pants and a little self-confidence before joining the others and taking my seat near the window.  As a hush fell over the room I began to read.

Then, after closing his eyes and listening intently as I read my selection of poems, the award-winning Poet slowly opened his dark shining eyes and nodded his approval along with the sound of softly clapping hands and light finger snaps as I deliberately closed my poetry journal, thankful that my part of the evening’s performance was over.

Later the Poet took me aside, looking directly into and through me with his small dark eyes dancing he politely praised my poetry and presentation, sincerely urging me to

  • Keep writing (poetry)
  • Connect with other artists & writers
  • Listen
  • Share our stories
  • Because what we do (as writers/artists/poets) matters

His words were heartfelt and so I took them to heart and kept writing.  And writing.  And reading the lyrics and letters, psalms, proverbs, poetry and prose of others, praying, meditating and then writing some more. I was grateful for his wisdom, attention and interest.  And knowing that the artist’s life can feel somewhat isolated at times, I received his encouragement to connect with the hearts and minds of those with shared sympathies.  Thus creating a sense of purpose and community that transcended our small gathering in an upper room nestled within the hum of art and life in that Mexican village, reaching forward into the future to the present.

The words of a poet never leave your heart the same and you are never lonely in the company of their shared imagination.  Together you imagine the impossible and dreams become realities as you read and listen and speak these poems like prayers and possibilities.

From the pages of my travel journals and pieces of poetry stained with peppermint tea to the writing of this post; from a room filled with artists, musicians, writers and travelers to the creation of this eclectic community of everyday creatives, seekers, faith finders and modern day mystics, poets, prophets, philosophers, church drop-outs, opt-outs and Jesus followers, thought leaders, alternative educators and unschoolers, religious renegades, gospel lovers, grace givers, folks looking for artistic renaissance, creative community, spiritual reformation, or a love revolution, kind hearted readers and furious scribblers, life’s travelers from around this global village, the other side of the world and just around the corner-

There’s a place for you here.  Please join me!  I’ve set an extra place at the table for you; there’s a seat near the window, fellow traveler, I’m right beside you.  This is where we break bread together, drink our fill of whatsoever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy…  and raise a glass to finding our way forward and learning to live loved.

© Una-Melina // Worthy Books & Things, 2014.

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  • Copyright

    © Una-Melina // Worthy Books & Things, 2012-2017.

    All rights reserved.

    Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/website’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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  • An award-winning poet and freelance writer, Una-Melina is the creator and curator of Worthy Books & Things, an online community interested in Faith, Culture, Creativity & Family where she fearlessly blogs about her life, art, faith, family, and ministry.

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