Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure
Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.
I really hated this prompt. Not just disliked, hated. As in, I turned off the computer after I read it the first time and walked around muttering to myself. Ah conflict! Good for the soul, right? Wrong, it’s not good for the soul and it gave me a whopper of a headache, so I simply refused to think about it for a while.
Three days later: How do you pick your most prized possession? What does that say about me as a person if I can pick a possession that means more to me than anything else in the world? Disclaimer: If you found this easy to do you are a much less conflicted person than I am and I admire you greatly.
If I pick something, do I want everyone to know about it? (Someone from this blog site would divine where I live from this post and race to my house to steal my treasure. Aaargh.) To make it worse we must write a LONG piece about this. Now I’m sweating. I must write a long read about something I can’t make up my mind over………and then I thought of it.
My most prized possession is not a possession at all. I think of it as a fleeting gift. My most prized possession is my ability to communicate. That sounds really self-serving when you write it down, but not if you realize that communicating is a gift you have to keep perfecting your entire life. I look at what I have done so far and it all revolves around some sort of language.
As a teacher I communicate to my students with words and with body language. Specifically, I teach children to experiment with visual language: color, shape, form, line, space, value, texture. I teach them to not fear the mistake, which can lead you to your visual voice. I teach them, “Each art work is talking. It is speaking to you from the past or predicting your future. Listen.” I believe that art combines the best and worst of all communication we have to offer as a species. Art serves it up for us; a mirror that is loving and provoking, whispering and shouting for us to pay attention.
Before I came back to teaching I worked helping a very intelligent woman who handled the marketing for a furniture company. She taught me about marketing language, which I define as the fine and sometimes delicate skill of making somebody want whatever you are selling at the price you are selling it. In that world I found out that photography is a language too. Product photography can make anything enticing, a cautionary lesson for this photo-shopped, image-driven world, that I now pass along to my students.
As a child and now as an adult I love music and art. There are things that words can not communicate. Deep emotions come to the surface when I listen to music and performing in band-I was a flautist as a child-taught me the power of group communication. To listen deeply and join in a common language. Music is the language of the spirit.
For now, the art that works its way out of my fingertips is a twin to the students I teach, young and simple, but profound nonetheless. But there it is again, the idea that the gift needs nurturing and grows as I grow. I wonder what my art will be when it is fully grown?
Now words have come back to me. A blog that started as a teaching assignment has become something more. Excuse me mister, but at my ripe old age of 58 I have a few things I’d like to say and I hear the clock ticking. I’d like to communicate. I can’t wait to see where this prized possession, this gift, this journey takes me.