A few days ago as I scrolled through the pages of one of the many blogs I follow, yet another post led me to an artist new to me; and a wellspring of inspiration I otherwise might not have found. While visiting artist Deb Riley’s site, I followed links to a post she wrote about 103-year-old Japanese artist Toko Shinoda. This incredible woman works with a centuries-old Chinese art form: sumi ink paintings and prints. Her art merges traditional calligraphy with modern abstract expression, which immediately grabbed my attention. However, Toko Shinoda’s personal description of her work was what inspired me most. She states, “Certain forms float up in my mind’s eye. Aromas, a blowing breeze, a rain-drenched gust of wind…the air in motion, my heart in motion. I try to capture these vague, evanescent images of the instant and put them into vivid form.”
It was impossible for me to read Toko Shinoda’s words and not write poetry. It continues to amaze me that I started this blog because I was in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed by my illness and the strong pain medications I need to manage my pain. Even though my pain and illness stubbornly persist, my heart and spirit are positively affected each time I connect with posts shared by other bloggers, in this endless universe of talent and creative storytelling. Surprisingly, this space, meant to be a place to purge – somewhat coherently – all the things that are too hard for me to voice to anyone close to me, is transforming me with each post I read and write.