Over the weekend, I put together an Art Resume for myself as part of a grant application I’m completing. I’d never done an Art Resume before. I have a variety of resumes, and until recently, I thought everyone did.
So I started asking around, and I found that my friends with “practical” careers have one resume, while my “artsy” friends have multiple. (That’s one distinction, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. One missing piece is whether these friends are comfortable in a job that serves them well or whether they’re still looking. Some of us are always looking. But that’s another blog.)
My list of resumes: The Secretary highlights my office manager experience along with the secretarial and personal assistant work I’ve done. The Bookkeeper talks up my work and knowledge of payroll systems and accounting. The Writers (a whole family of these resumes) focus on the different kinds of writing I’ve done from journalism to fiction. They’re all resumes about me; all include the same employers and the same timelines, just highlighting different skills. Over the years, the Writers are the only ones I thought included anything important.
But this Art Resume is my own artistic Curriculum Vitae, a sprawling list of writing I’ve published, awards and honors I’ve received, talks I’ve given, degrees I’ve completed, and continuing education in all things written, imaginative, travel- and language-based. Unlike the Secretary and Bookkeeper resumes, this one includes anything that feeds the soul. It’s a comma by comma breakdown of lifelong learning, artistic endeavor, broadening of the mind, and taking things in through all senses and turning them into something tangible and creative. Unlike the Writers, which are bullet points of my written work experience employer by employer, this Art Resume is me on paper–not just what I do, but a picture of me as a person, what speaks to me, what drives me. It illustrates heart of what I’m about.
Follow me on this: Since Upside Down Kingdom came out, I get asked more and more about my writing process. Lately, my writing process is something I call Waiting for the Love. I figure out what I have to say, and I say it. When re-reading, sometimes it says exactly what I want the first time. Other times, it’s just words on a page. They’re spelled right, lined up in full sentences, they impart a message, but there’s just no love. Skeleton, no flesh.
So, I leave them and I write something else. I re-visit, minutes or months later, and this time as I write, I feel the excitement, saying something new and relating it to the bony framework I’ve already written. Flesh. Then comes the moment when I ask myself, “Can I really say this?” This is the moment, regardless of whether I’m writing an Art Resume or a poem or a blog about making reservations at Söntés, where I feel as though showing this piece to another person would leave me exposed. That’s The Love: I love what I’m writing about, CVs and poems and reservations alike, and I can pour my heart into them.
When you ask a poet, by training, to write a technical manual in human-speak, like the Service Training Book I wrote for Söntés Restaurant last year, you get poetic tips along the way, things like “Always smile when you answer the phone. The person on the other end can hear it.” It’s absurd to think you can hear a smile. But with those small words, you instantly know the elevation I’m talking about.
That’s similar to The Love. You know it when you hear it, when you read it, when it walks in the door.
My resumes to this point have all been skeletons. Framework. This new Art Resume, my little art CV, has not only been a wonderful walk down memory lane, it’s been a walk finally feeling the wind in my hair, smelling the flowers along the way, absorbing the sunshine, and tasting the wine. It’s a portrait of me, with love.
Join me this Friday, June 7 at The Salon in Rochester for the Cracked Walnut reading. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, available on Amazon.