Art in the Cracks of the Day

Driving Under the Influence of Poetry

Scribbling on scraps of paper
On the seat next to me

As my car sails down
The freeways.

Words tumbling out
Around that sharp turn.

Poems dashed off at stop lights
They will not wait for me
To sit politely at a desk.

Poems on the run.
No speed limit for them.

They race in my head
As I keep one eye on the road.

Few know of these dangers.
So, watch out for the drivers
With a pen in their hand
And a poem in their heart.


-Pamela McCauley

Pamela is a reader in the Seattle area and she sent me a couple of her lovely poems last week and I especially loved the imagery of this one.  I deeply admire people who can juggle busy lives and still make space for art in the cracks of the day.  I have made choices about lifestyle, children, and work that allow me to have a lot of space for creative expression.  I have never been one of those people who could write a novel in the early morning hours before heading off to a full-time job, or like Pamela, raise five children and still catch poetry as it sails past her car on the road. 

This speaks to me though, in a very moving way, of how we all nurture our creativity in different ways depending on our life contexts and circumstances.  I am aware that my life is a privilege, one I have made sacrifices for, but also not the right life for others who may be longing for creative expression.  So while I often think of part of my calling as witnessing to a different way of being in the world, one that is more spacious and slow, I also recognize and honor the ways creativity can flourish in all kinds of circumstances.  Indeed, I believe that all of life can be an act of creative expression and art-making, but often in those little spaces and cracks of the day, especially when we engage in a repetitive movement like driving or showering, inspiration blossoms.  For myself, I find walking to be an essential practice to nurture my creativity in large part because it allows me to let go of all the thinking that often gets in the way of my creative work and process.

What are the cracks of your day where art bubbles up and you are invited to listen to the images being birthed within you despite the busyness of the world?

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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