Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Art and Conversation

I've been working in the studio the last few days - reclaiming it, in a way. I moved some things out of there that go into other rooms, and made room to actually work on my art in the studio. It has been far too long since I've been able to do that. It feels good to be able to create in there again.

When I bought my house, one of the "must haves" on my list was room for a studio. I was really fortunate to buy a house where the upper floor, at one time, was a separate apartment. Of course, this meant there was a kitchen up there and fortunately, it was still extant. So, it was the obvious room for a studio - running water, cabinets, and a nasty old tile floor I can slop paint onto without worrying.

It has been a real joy to be able to work in there and I get so much more done. But since I got the floors refinished a couple of summers ago, I have never fully reclaimed the studio space. It was one of the places I stuck furniture because I didn't have the floors in that room done.

But it is great to have access to my "toys" again. I love these little bottles of paint. They're cheap - about fifty cents each when on sale - and you can have tons of colors on hand. I use them for any number of things. I have "real" paint tubes, too, and use it as well - but these little bottles are so nice to grab and try out on various things.

Tonight was Creative Sisterhood and it was a really nice evening. We will soon celebrate our fourth year together as a group. It's hard to believe it has been that long, but it has. I was thinking the other day it was three years, but it's not - it will be four years on September 3.

We have gathered every month except one since then, for the purpose of sharing our lives. We have experienced some major milestones in that time.

One of my topics for tonight is that I am craving "real" conversation. I mentioned to Martha how much I enjoyed talking with her nephew, Michael, at the wedding. We talked for probably 30-40 minutes and covered a ton of different topics - interesting topics. We talked about travel and science research and math theory and  religion and philosophy in that time.

I was struck, once again, that my conversation with twenty-something men is often more interesting than my conversation with men closer to my own age. There are certainly exceptions to that, but they are rare. Conversation with forty-something men generally centers on things like children's soccer games. As I put it to a girlfriend, there's too much soccer and too little substance.

Do people just stop thinking/pondering/questioning when they get over 40? Surely not. I haven't. But it is becoming more and more difficult to find someone near my age that can talk about something abstract. I can find it in people older and people younger. But in people my age it seems nearly invisible.

Martha mentioned being in a conversation with someone once she had just been introduced to. They asked if she had children or grandchildren. When she said no the person asked, earnestly, "what do you talk about?" I would like to know what this person talked about before they had children and/or grandchildren. Surely they had conversation prior to that. Surely they had interests.

I know other people my age care about things like travel and math and philosophy - surely they do - I just don't know how to find them. The only times lately I've been able to have these conversations is when I've been with someone who's much younger than me. Is that just coincidence? Maybe. I don't know. I just know that I haven't ever had a conversation with anyone over 30 about theoretical math. Probably no one over 25. Is that something we "mature" out of?

I am really trying to figure this out. Partially I simply don't meet many people my own age. I don't know where they are, but not where I go - and I'm not talking about meeting men - I mean I rarely meet anyone my own age. People older and people younger, but not my age. Aside from Greg, I can think of two people I know who are within five years of my age. Two.

Where are the rest of them? What are they doing? Probably at soccer games.

And if I could find them, would we be able to have a real conversation? I guess that remains to be seen.


Anonymous said...

I love your ponderings about conversation. It bothers me that women, especially, can't seem to find anything to converse about except their children. I'm a mother - have two daughters - but quite honestly, even though I love them, they are not my entire identity and I get tired of talking about them. I may seem cold-hearted to some, but my goodness what happens when my kids leave home? Do I stop existing and suddenly have no purpose! No Way!

Patsy Terrell said...

I think it's wise to have other interests. You're right - that your children will grow up and leave home. I never understand how people can have their entire identities usurped by motherhood. Obviously, it's important - and I want people to take it seriously - but if you're successful as a parent they will leave home and make lives of their own. It seems your approach is a logical one!