Lately, Jeremy and I have taken to reading out loud to each other.
Our first endeavor at this bonding activity failed (we tried to read a marriage book– booooring!). But recently, we’ve taken up a few of C.S. Lewis’ classic fantasy tales, namely The Great Divorce and his space trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength).
So far, we’ve gotten through The Great Divorce and Out of the Silent Planet, and we’re half-way through Perelandra. And we’re eating them up!! We’ll sit in our faux-leather love seat, enraptured by the other’s words, and when we’re not reading, we’ll be discussing what we just read, what we think will happen, and how we hope the series never ends! (Sadly, they always do though…)
What I like so much about this activity is that though we are engaging in an activity that involves engaging with an art form, it is so unlike our art forms. I cannot, for the life of me, write fiction, let alone fantasy. And Jeremy works with metal, wood, and computer screens– very different from Lewis’ writing style. Moreover, Lewis’ books are so overtly philosophical (unlike our art work tends to be), that we find ourselves being led into fascinating conversations about the evil in humankind, the intricacies of creation, and the closeness of heaven (closer all the time). It’s like a good date night, wrapped in a tidy paper cover.
We find that stretching our minds by trying new mediums, whether through experiential, hands-on learning or through viewing and taking in the work of others, lends itself to stretching our own art. I paint a crude picture and get an idea for an essay I’m working on. Jeremy watches a film about angels that inspires a new found object piece.
Has this been something that you also, artist or no, have found about yourself? Does trying new things that you are not traditionally drawn to or good at stretch your thinking and help you to become better at what you love to do?
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!