Monday, September 25, 2006

McElligot's Pool

There's a Dr. Seuss book titled "McElligot's pool" that we picked up from the library this week. A small boy is fishing in a tiny pond, in the middle of a pasture and is asked why on earth he's even bothering because there is only junk at the bottom. This delightfully imaginative child explains all the possibilities that could lie within this small pool. It MIGHT be connected to an underground river that flows underneath the town and out to sea.

He goes on to describe the colorful creatures that he could come in contact with: "I won't be surprised if a dog fish appears! Complete with a collar and long, floppy ears! Whoofing along! And perhaps he might chase a whole lot of catfish right straight to this place!"

At the end he declares: "Oh, the sea is so full of a number of fish, if a fellow is patient he might get his wish! And that's why I think that I'm not such a fool when I sit here and fish in McElligot's pool!"

The main character in this book is a true creative spirit. The creative side of us can see possibility everywhere. Even within the mundane or everyday objects and places there is possibility. It is that possibility to grasp a new idea, a new sight, sound or taste that keeps us poking and peering around the next corner, fishing for material in the strangest of places.

I see art in the street, in bathrooms and quiet puddles. I see it in the sky, in people's eyes and in dead birds. We are a type of fisherman, but it's not fish we're after, it's ideas, new material, inspiration....

There's a huge, swirling sea of ideas all around us if we see the world with an artist's eye. At an ATC trade in May I had the privilege of trading with a *young artist. He drew an interesting design on a blank card with the words inscribed "Art is art to those who see it". Smart guy! He's already figured out what so many miss...that art is a way of viewing the world, it's a shift in vision that allows us to find inspiration everywhere.

You've probably got a McElligot's pool right in your own backyard. Don't let the naysayers convince you there's only junk at the bottom, you'll never know what's possible unless you muck around for a bit! Let's go fishing, shall we?

*ATC created by Frederic Camden, traded May 2006 in Peabody MA (all of the Camden kids are really fabulous artists!)

1 comment:

laura said...

a friend of mine in college got me an old old copy of mcelligot's pool. i've got it somewhere here, in a box...somewhere. i love dr. seuss.

another friend of mine is fond of saying that how you live your life is a form of art. i tend to agree. i often get caught up in thinking that i'm not a "real" artist, pure self-defeatist crap. but i finally was convinced by my very smart friend that my ability to see an old piece of furniture in a garbage heap by the side of the road and take it home and fix it up and use it is a form of art. that getting up each day and doing what needs to be done to make my life flow like it does is art.

we finally got to go see "pirates of the carribean" last week (it came on at the $3 theater..yippy) and i could hardly pay attention to the story for being so inspired by all the settings, make-up, special effects, etc. it was beautiful and i left with a feeling of awe and inspiration. it hasn't left me yet, and that alone was worth my $3 ticket.

art is everywhere, in every thing i look at. in college i drug these old blown up tire scraps into the art annex to use for sculpture supplies. my teacher sighed, he said he always hated seeing them on the road and now they were taking over his space. but he learned to see them the way i beautiful.

i like these eyes that i see the world through. i don't know if i'll ever find the inner strength to say right out loud "I AM AN ARTIST!" but i do know that i've made some good things, started a nice little family, and have a couple of people in my life i am proud to call "friend." and i don't know about anyone else, but that is a beautiful thing...a life blessed with the art of choosing to live in beauty.