I Give Up

untitled, 1991, ceramic objects

This past weekend I surrendered.

The word conjurs up images of an army hoisting a feeble-looking white flag

And bearing the weight of defeat.

Perhaps, a better word for my actions might be “YIELD.”

I yielded to the fact I can no longer produce art

In the forms it has chosen to arrive

During my thirty year career as a fine artist.

My art-making has been labor intensive

And not….

But I have always had the solace of a ‘thing-in-form’

Which somehow magically appeared

At the end of a string of inspiration, action and completion.

I DID something!

I MADE something!

There is a mark here where there was none before.


A great deal of my ‘I AM-ness’ has been derived from a long identity as an artist.

This past weekend two good friends helped me achieve

Another kind of work-in-form

Which far surpassed any fulfillment

I have achieved to date.

I packed up my remaining private collection of art (not all)

And the works fidgiting in the cavern of a storage unit.

My two ‘girlfriends/sisters/family’ helped me orchestrate a spectacular event

In which my remaining work was hung, leaned, propped against the walls

Of a gracious home.

Invitations were sent to collectors

With a real time and date

Inviting them to come by and help me release this long and lovely art-making career

I’ve utterly adored.

You can be sure

That in the hours before the appointed time

My cheeks were wet

With heavy tears

As I did the interior wiggling around

It takes to let go.

By the time we opened the gate

I was sitting there

On the lovely patio

Surrounded by a lifetime of giving birth to beauty.

I felt so beautiful, myself,

As I welcomed the art-lovers

And watched them choose parts of me

To take home and love.

In the end,

I felt no regret.. no clinging.. no ‘if only’s…’

Really, my willingness to surrender this beloved identity

Gave rise to rooms within my self

I’ve yet to choose furnishings for.

They wait patiently

Until my eyes adjust to the light.

This new space in me has a quality of infinite generosity;

It isn’t even hankering to be filled!

And I have left behind a good deal of fear.

So- I won’t have a sculpture or painting

To offer you.

It seems my very life has become the art.

I wonder if, in my smile

You can feel

The tears, the relief, the vulnerability,

The solace, the fear, the faith

It takes to step forward

Once again?


6 Responses to “I Give Up”

  1. Judy on August 21st, 2011

    “The solace, the fear, the faith
    It takes to step forward
    Once again?”

    … the courage

  2. Laura Hegfield on August 21st, 2011

    Oh sweet friend, such a time of tenderness and inner expansion. I know it is not at all the same, but do not forget that your writing too is artistry. You have changed mediums, but your work will always add beauty to this world…pieces of YOU for others to love, for you to love.

  3. Peggy Nelson,MS,OT on August 21st, 2011

    your words touch hearts…. is that not art in one of its finest forms?

  4. Donna on August 23rd, 2011

    What a bittersweet hallmark moment of your life.

    Glad to hear you openly await the unfolding of the next chapter.

  5. Doreen on August 27th, 2011

    I feel numbness and pain from MS yet/still/again. So I typed in the googe bar ‘igive up with MS…and your poem came up.

    It brought tears to my cheeks. I, too, have had to let go of so much in the past year…my little 16’ skiff where I used to go out anf fish and lobster and just be free on the ocean…many of my personal treasures from my home…and now my home itself. I have worked so hard my whole life and still do, only to need to release so much because of the fear of not being able to do it all. I have my home on the ‘market’. Waiting to sell and move into a confining condo.

    A free spirit going into a box is what it feels like.

    I know it is for the best, but I just haven’t done that ‘internal wiggling’ as you call it in order to elegantly let go just yet.

    But I will. I have had to let go of so much more than this in my past. A 4 y.o, son to leukemia, a father, a mother and a husband.

    Thank you for sharing yourself with your poetic, artistic words. You have helped me today.

    Love & Hugs to you and yours – Doreen

  6. Kayla on August 30th, 2011

    This event, this post, this mentality – all so beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.

Leave a Reply