Coming (back) out as an artist

“Artist” was my first identity on the web. From 1998 – 2003, I scribbled poetry incessantly and read my work at open mics and poetry slams whenever I had the chance. I was honored with a handful of feature performance gigs and a place on the 2003 NH poetry slam team. I’ve been the Editor-in-Chief of two different literary magazines, and heavily involved in local writer communities. I learned to build websites so I could share my poetry, tell my stories, and visually express myself. I’ve built a lot of websites for poetry. Most of them are gone now. One is still fighting to stay alive.

Also in 2003, I made the decision to become self-employed as a website developer. This changed my relationship to the Internet pretty dramatically. My identity became “Consultant” and my work became my art. I set poetry aside, stopped performing, and threw myself into the tech industry. It was exciting and satisfying in a different way. I still love it.

sarahdopp-reading.jpgAnd now the art is back. And it turns out, it never really left — it just went quiet for awhile. My dirty, dirty secret is that I’ve been writing new stuff and performing it at microphones for the last year and a half, and not telling people about it. I was trying to keep my web presence simple.

But the problem with art is that it doesn’t like to stay quiet. It creates community, encourages conversation, and finds ways to grow. It’s challenging and evocative and compelling. It evolves in a direction that forces disclosure.

So this is me coming out of yet another closet (heh…): I’m a poet.

I write about my life. Like this blog and my twitter stream, I spend a lot of time telling my own story. My story is messy and beautiful. It’s full of joy and fear, crisis and heartache, identity and adventure, sex and relationships, family and spirituality, and lots of different kinds of exploration. Most of the stuff I write is so deeply personal that I have a responsibility to keep it away from Google’s prying eyes. But there are other ways to share.

And like my “Queer” post, this isn’t meant to be a surprise. I expect that you already know I float toward written art like a moth under a streetlight. But I need to make a statement of intention: This is who I am, and I’m walking in a direction that honors me.

On that note, I invite you to check out my new page, which I’ve linked to from my blog header. It’s called My Art.

Hope to see you from the microphone soon…

credit: photo by emchy, who also provided the microphone.

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3 Responses to “Coming (back) out as an artist”

  1. elkit Says:

    I still vividly remember the poetry performance you did at WoolfCamp – it’s one of my most treasured memories from that weekend. I am in awe of you every time I think of it – I mean, even more in awe of you than I already am.

  2. sarah Says:

    elkit, that’s amazingly sweet of you — thank you! i bet we could have a pretty colorful “who’s in more awe of whom” argument. but i’d rather just hug you.

  3. elkit Says:

    That’d be AWEsome! Consider yourself hugged, and I hope it’ll happen soon – how did you put that: synchronous, in person.