Post Date: November 11th, 2011
Now the road I want to travel’s a little driveway made of gravel
On a shady Piedmont hill in Caroline
Where the trees sway in the breeze whispering sweet melodies
It’s the closest thing to heaven in my mind
When I met Gregory Lewis Hawks in February of 2005, I’d just stopped a traditional line of work–teaching–and taken a risk to do freelance curriculum work and write my novel. Not an eyebrow was raised from my suitor on the topic of pursuing my art, as my husband-to-be, a country and bluegrass musician, had one album to his credit and another in the hopper. When you marry an artist, here are some things you never have to explain:
- I need to be alone with my art. (In his line of work, it’s said Alamance County-style, as in, “I wish everyone’d just leave me alone so I can pick.”
- It isn’t right! There isn’t enough time in the world to get this right! (In our house, a Saturday morning is happily spent facing the demons of a wayward song or manuscript.)
- I’m crazy to be an artist. Why am I an artist? (When certain bills come, we shake our heads and then remind ourselves we’d not be able to sleep at night if we took a job just for the big money. Not that anyone’s offering that, but you have to console yourself somehow as you’re paying bills in an economy where wages are stagnant and artists never made much anyway.)
- Nobody cares what I do! (When you spend years making a piece of art, you start to lose it somedays, thinking that no one will ever hear it, read it, care about it, nor understand why you took so long to birth it.)
Of course, someone does care what I do–a lot. That’s my husband who believes in me, who’s patient with my artistic frustrations and moods, who gives me my own verb (“are you deadlining?”), and lets me face the process, day after day, in my office alone, with writers’ groups, with an expensive coffee and sweet habit.
Besides understanding my need for space, Greg thinks like I do, in ideals, possibilities, arguments, wishes, and dreams. He makes art because he wants life to be better, sweeter, more blessed. Life is a rhyme and a pun and a lyric; it’s an image, a snapshot, a line of verse. Our conversations about people and politics and ourselves all spring from this artistic view–a spiritual view that claims man was made to create. I never have to explain the passion so consuming. I never with him have to shelve the dream.
It’s rare in this life to find soul mates–friends, family, or lovers who let you be exactly who you are. When we find them, we need to celebrate them, every day. What I have I didn’t always have and won’t find everywhere.
Thank you, my sweet husband, for building this artistic haven with me and giving me all your love every day. Happy anniversary.
- Who gets you and your dreams? How do they give you license, space, and support?
- Write that person a love letter, a thank you card, a poem, or a lyric of thanks.
- Whose dreams do you support? How
- If support is lacking in your life, visualize the people you need and want in your life.
- What is the biggest need you have right now in order to pursue the artist’s dream? What are 10 ways you can fulfill that need?
- In your writing, are your characters pursuing their dreams, or are they stymied? Why? How?
- If your characters lack dreams, give your protagonist and a secondary character each a goal that is an impossible dream, something they gave up when they were 16, 25, or older. Why did they give up such dreams? What were the obstacles? Is there any way they might try to get back to these hopes?