Practical Art

Bruce's media cabinet is inspired by his favorite furniture designers, Greene and Greene. The pottery is by Greg Verdon.

My husband makes beautiful furniture. He built his first piece when he was twelve and he’s never stopped pursuing his passion for design and craftsmanship.

By day, he’s an accountant and he works hard at a job he enjoys, but every weekend, he tries to spend an afternoon in his woodshop so he can indulge his creative side. Since his free time is limited, he doesn’t work fast, but he makes progress. His media cabinet took 300 hours to build, spread out over two and a half years. That’s a long time to spend on a project, but the result is splendid. And it’s useful.

I have to admit that sometimes I’m jealous.

When I finish a novel or a story, I have a file on a disk or a stack of paper. I can’t decorate my home with it or store things in it. Is it of any use if no one reads it? If I never publish it, was it worth my time?

Then again, I spend hours in dance class practicing steps that will never be performed on stage. I delight in each small improvement in my technique. Dancing better this week than I did last week may seem like a small reward, but it satisfies me and the pleasure of dance inspires me. I profit from the physical exercise as well as the creative stimulation.

The time I spend writing provides similar benefits. When I take a  class, I learn new ways to shape my words to better express the world of my imagination. The more I write, the more capable I feel. It becomes easier to solidify my thoughts on the page.  Even if I’m the only one who reads my work, my brain is stretched by the process of writing.

I’m happier and healthier when I’m dancing regularly and writing  daily. Those activities help me to be my best self; to be a better friend, daughter, sister and spouse. I do hope that something I’ve written will one day be published. Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing, improving my technique and filling my heart with the joy of words.


Filed under Art, Creativity, Dance, Writing

20 responses to “Practical Art

  1. What a beautiful entertainment unit your husband has created. Took him as long as it takes some people to write a book. Which just goes to show you, you each are contributing to the world in your own way. You’re following your passion, and, in the end, that’s all that matters. Staying true to yourself. If you ever have a dance recital, let me know. Would love to see you dance! (Could be a fun outing for the She Writes group, tee-hee!)

  2. I agree with you. My goal is to get my book published, but the creative process itself is all about the journey. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. And by the way, I envy people who can dance. I took a salsa class and it wasn’t pretty. I was an aerobics instructor most of my adult life, so I’m used to big muscle movements. Not good on the dance floor. Thanks for an excellent post.

    • It’s easy to get frustrated in the writing process and forget why we write, but at least we have our writing friends to remind us that the journey is what matters.

  3. Love this Shary. What a beautiful piece Bruce made. I love your introspective, honest voice. It is wonderful that you and Bruce are both able to pursue your creative talents. It is rewarding to be able to create something tangible from the intangible. You are talking about fine tuning that creative process, as well as learning to love and honor the results. It is a part of the sacred aspect of you, that which is unique to you and you are brave enough to share with the world and we are better for it. So thank you for taking the time to hone your skills and share with all of us. We are richer for being able to experience it.

    • Thanks, Kim. I know how lucky I am that Bruce believes in my writing and he appreciates my support of his wordworking, too. I can’t imagine having to fight the inevitable self-doubt that comes with the artistic process without a supportive partner who understands the need to devote so much time and energy to our creative endeavors.

  4. I agree with Monica – follow your passion and you will always be happy in that way. We all express ourselves differently, writing or woodworking. But it’s all the same passion. That entertainment unit is great, by the way!

  5. Shary, I had a friend who self-published a few years ago (romance) and she was picked up by a publisher. That continues to happen all the time, so be encouraged. Saying that to you helps me also because I’m not yet published either. When I used to paint at home and thought of selling my work, I thought ‘Who’s gonna buy this? I could be wasting my time.’ But I sold hundreds of pieces, so there’s a market for you, as I found with my art.

    Your husband does fine work, by the way. It’s a great skill to have.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I’m just going to keep working at it. Also, your art is wonderful, so I’m not surprised that you found buyers.

  6. Your husband is truly talented, and his piece is beautiful. But how would any of us have known that unless another talented person, ahem, you, wrote about it in a way that made us appreciate him as an artist and loving husband. Nice Shary!

  7. Thanks, Susan. I’ll be sure to tell him that he owes me for the promotion. 🙂

  8. Karen

    I’m looking for an entertainment unit. But, I don’t think I want to wait two years for it. Nor, do I suspect that I could afford it.

    I am enjoying your beautifully written blog.

  9. Anitra

    This is such a nice pair of metaphors: your dancing and your writing. Does your writing ever feel like graceful steps? Does your dancing ever feel like, hmm… maybe a dance is a discrete, rounded-off expression of thought like a paragraph.

  10. Shary, aren’t you a lucky lady to have a man who can make such a beautiful piece! I think Monica said it best when she said you have to follow your passion. Life has taught me that when we do exactly this, we are happier, healthier and more fulfilled. I’m convinced that being a writer is part skill and part luck. Because we can’t control the luck part, it’s best to work on our craft diligently. It’s what keeps us on our toes! 🙂

  11. Thanks, Bella. Good advice… follow our passion and work hard, while we hope for good luck. Fingers crossed (except when I’m typing!)

  12. Pingback: Why Writing Matters | Shary Hover