by Mary de Leon-Maestas
by Mary de Leon-Maestas

I’ve spent the past week as busy as bees storing late summer honey. First there was the annual writing conference I both help with and attend — Nimrod’s Conference for Readers & Writers. That’s a two-day gig of work (not to mention the prep!) for those of us who work it. There are writers to be picked up from the airport, taken to hotels,  then taken to the Friday dinner, then taken back to the hotel. There is more driving Saturday for the actual workshops, plus workshops to be given, facilitated, attended. There are one-on-one editorial conferences with conference participants by those of us on the editorial boards. And then there’s a lovely after party, given by one of our most generous (& accomplished!) board members.

via google
via google

It’s deeply satisfying, and bone-crushingly exhausting! Usually, however, I have a week or so afterwards when I just sleep, veg, and process the incredibly stimulating 2 days. Days (& evenings) full of writer talk: markets, how-to-juggle, schedules, agents, genres, what we’re reading. The kind of talk that feeds writers, and that we exchange far too often. Because writing is a pretty solitary activity.

But this week, I followed the weekend w/ a full day of humanities activities. The Oklahoma Arts Council was having its annual conference here in my home town, and I put on my humanities hat to help represent the sister organisation (where I get to work), the Oklahoma Humanities Council. And there was more feeding of my writer’s hunger — there was discussion of why the arts (including poetry) are so necessary. There was a reading by the state poet laureate, and a panel on why art is so necessary for veterans. How it heals us, how it feeds us…

the author's
the author’s

So that’s my past week, when I wasn’t writing, but instead was replenishing whatever place it is in us that nourishes writing. I was storing up images & ideas. I was connecting w/old friends, & making new ones. I was as happy as I get, really — other than having tea w/friends & family!

Writing will save you. All art can do that — writing is just the art I practice most. But music, metal work, embroidery & paint & clay & plaster all will do the same. If you don’t believe me, think back to when you were 7 years old. Recall what it was you loved most to do with your hands. Now: go out & buy some tools to return to that state of bliss. I promise: feeding your inner artist will heal you. Start now.



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