Monday, September 25, 2006
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!)