Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
January 4, 2009 


A Note from one in the Audience

Today at Books and Books in Coral Gables artist-author Laura Cerwinske spoke to a small crowd about her passion for creativity as her Spirituality. Her message, in a nutshell, is that we are here to express ourselves and the more creatively we do this, the closer we come to a state of grace.

She is like a painting herself - silvery hair, short and wispy. Coral-red tunic blouse over rich brown Capris, a large bead dangling from each lobe, a wide shell bracelet dyed bright turquoise. She has an easy smile and moves comfortably in her skin.

She believes that all of us are born into acceptance, but are affected, afflicted, by criticism and the judgment of our culture and those around us. I couldn't help thinking of the brutal criticism I had witnessed during some of the critiques of BFA students in their final thesis class. As I watched the toll it took on them, I instinctively felt I could be destroyed by them, that somehow the judgment of the faculty might wither my muse and paralyze my soul.

After she spoke, the artist invited us to sample a selection of confections. The creator of these sumptuous delicacies, a local entrepreneur, was there in the crowd. The treats were so tasty I went back unabashedly for seconds, and then thirds!

I keep thinking about what I have learned of creativity. Remembering how it feels to finish a good piece of writing, satisfied with every word on a page. To see the lines I've drawn in charcoal or ink take the shape of what I see. To watch a fine piece of pottery emerge from the kiln marked discretely with my bamboo stamp. Even legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi, master of calligraphy, painting and sculpture, advised his martial arts protégés (circa 1600) to explore all forms of creative expression. He believed it was crucial for their total development.

Laura Cerwinske believes that the processes of "uninhibited self-exploration" have the power to transform. Her paintings "About Faces" and "My Life in Dogs" are on display now at Books and Books. And her books, prints and Radical Writing course are available on-line through her web site.

- Pat S. Milone