October was a wonderful month for me. First of all, I kicked Facebook to the curb. Posts were getting histrionic about the mid-term elections and there’s really no way to inject sanity into a superheated emotional environment like that. Rather than let that kind of poisonous rhetoric infect my mind, heart, and soul, I bid my contacts adieu, and turned it off.
Then, I got onto a plane and flew to southern California to the fire-free zone of San Juan Capistrano and attended the Creative Church Conference that is put on by J. Scott McElroy’s New Art Renaissance and hosted this year by Saddleback Church. It was fabulous.
It was if I’d found my long lost tribe. A group of creatives of faith gathering together for fellowship and collaboration. Words cannot describe how happy I was to be there. I’m still processing the different stories I heard, workshops I attended, and meals I shared with some wonderful people. Race, gender, nor age mattered - we were all God’s creatives. Enjoying Him and one another, as well as each other’s gifts. At the end, one young woman and her team created a Treasure(ish) Hunt that involved found pieces, installation, interaction, and contemplation ending in a gathering together to create a new installation and break bread with one another. Creativity and community joined as one. It was brilliant.
Connections were made and many of us are keeping in touch in hopes of reuniting for future projects and for fun. In fact, I just received a text from California as I write. I feel so loved.
Once home, I came down with a virus that knocked me out for a bit, but I was still able to attend a calligraphy workshop taught by Julie Wildman and hosted by Pendragons of Kalamazoo. While not feeling my best, it was a great workshop and very worthwhile.
Midterm elections are over - except for some recounts. I’m back on Facebook but I’m being more judicious. While I’ve seen some beautiful sentiments shared on friend’s pages that I considered reposting, I felt that if I did that I’m just preaching at people. Honestly, who likes being preached at?
Information (be it about politics, gun control, immigration, or quotes from the bible) rarely transforms people, but experience makes knowledge real and concrete. I’ll be exploring how to create works of beauty that will engage people’s hearts. As usual, I have no idea what I’m doing.
Which makes this a great adventure.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.