Monday, June 9, 2014

Studio Ink: On handwriting and open studios

photo by by Martin_Heigan
"Under the trees light
has dropped from the top of the sky,
like a green
latticework of branches,
on every leaf,
drifting down like clean
white sand.

A cicada sends
its sawing song
high into the empty air.

The world is
a glass overflowing
with water." 

 — Pablo Neruda

There was a widely circulated article in the New York Times last week "What's Lost as Handwriting Fades" concerning educational development  and handwriting. In this digital age, handwriting is barely taught past first grade and researchers are finding there are consequences to creativity and memory retention. This doesn't surprise me: when I need to memorize something, I often write it out first...and then work on writing it out from memory. I also note that when I initiate writing something by hand it has a different quality, is more immediate and authentic somehow.
Neruda, as sensitive a human being and poet as they come, held a similar mind on the power of handwriting, choosing longhand over the typewriter:

"Ever since I had an accident in which I broke a finger and couldn’t use the typewriter for a few months, I have followed the custom of my youth and gone back to writing by hand. I discovered when my finger was better and I could type again that my poetry when written by hand was more sensitive; its plastic forms could change more easily. In an interview, Robert Graves says that in order to think one should have as little as possible around that is not handmade. He could have added that poetry ought to be written by hand. The typewriter separated me from a deeper intimacy with poetry, and my hand brought me closer to that intimacy again." —Pablo Neruda, The Art of Poetry No. 14, in The Paris Review
No surprise that Neruda thought about handwriting down to the color of his ink. Amid his epic, prolific and influential life, he often chose to write in green ink, "his personal symbol for desire and hope" and call for abundance.
The glass overflowing world makes for busy weekends around here. Amid it all, I noticed a slew of artist Open Studios signs all over the East Bay. Open Studios always remind me how much art is being made all the time. This year 400 East Bay art studios are throwing their doors open for two weekends of art share. Check out this map of possibility HERE.
Studios are some of my favorite places to be, be they visual art, music or yoga related, and I'm in at least one each day. This weekend we were in the music studio again, finishing mixes on the KCDC project. More to share on that in a bit. In the meantime, here's a Neruda-inspired tune by Brazilian Girls:

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