Me + Nina = TLA

Art by Saint Maxent

By Natasha Ganes




Sometimes when I want to write, but can’t think of what to say or how to say it, I grab a pen and some paper and start to draw.  Except I can’t actually draw, so what comes out is a series of amateur doodles. The daydreams of a preteen girl: tiny daisies, 3D boxes, blocky-looking peace signs, random design scribbles, sometimes a mushroom with eyes or an octopus. I’m always one sketch away from my initials and those of my current crush stacked inside an inky heart proclaiming we = TLA.

The practice clears my mind, and eventually I’ll tap my limited list of doodling resources and start to write. Of course that’s not to say what I write is any better than my drawings, but it does seem to be a process of sorts that works for me. And it makes me wonder if the reason for that is because the acts of writing and drawing are so closely related. I’ll go a step further and say that all artistic creation is similar regardless of the end result. After all, I don’t just imagine I can draw to inspire my writing. Sometimes I pretend I can sing too. Noise canceling headphones and an iPod help to encourage that fantasy, especially if you shut yourself in the bathroom for better acoustics and belt out Nina Simone to an unwitting audience made up of your annoyed neighbors. Mournful, off-key warbling goes a long way in the creative process: nothing will get you in the mood to write a prose poem like wailing to the walls “I want a little sugar in my bowl.” Especially if you realize that, like Nina, you really could use a little sugar in your bowl. In fact, it’s been so long since you’ve had any sugar that if you quit singing and start writing you’ll have a chapbook worth of poetry within an hour.

Although distinct in their own ways and expressions, the arts work well together to generate inspiration. If I want to write a short story, I draw (see above). If I feel the need to create a poem (see below), I impersonate Nina. I don’t always require the use of one art to create another, but it helps and I love that about the art community. Me + Nina often do = TLA.


So the Story Goes

by way of Missoula,
she’ll get there someday.

To catch him,
mold him, shape him.
In pain by way of love,
so the story goes.

He doesn’t listen to their lies.
He lived it enough,
learned what she meant,
nodded instead.

Des Lacs by way of Corona,
he’ll meet her there
someway. Someday.


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