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  vii Foreword We never called it The Art Group. That definite article was way too definite for us. Likewise the capital letters. We called it art group, or just group. Mainly, we just said, “Can everybody meet Thursday the twenty-third? And where?” It took a while to collect ourselves, but finally there were seven of us: Donna Boyd, our musical genius; Carolyn Hisel, an extraordinary painter of light-filled rooms, mysterious landscapes, pure souls, and comical little figures; the writer/poets Susan Richards , Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, and Jane Gentry. Audrey Robinson and Judy Young were both visual artists and poets. Judy had been a student in a poetry workshop taught by Mary Ann’s husband, James Baker Hall. He introduced Judy to Mary Ann, thinking, quite rightly, that they’d be glad to know each other. So they got accustomed to meeting for lunch every few weeks, where they may have talked a little about their lives as writers , but also, most urgently, about the organization of their clothes closets. Then one day (no one can remember exactly the year—we’re guessing 1985), Judy came out to Mary Ann’s home in Harrison County, Kentucky, for lunch and brought with her Audrey Robinson . Audrey had come to Lexington with her husband, Don Robinson , from a commune in Northern California because Don needed to help his aging father run the family horse farm. She felt out of place in the horse world of Fayette County, pining for California and her lost Tassajara life. A less similar pair than Audrey and Judy Young_FinalTextRev.indb 7 7/22/19 1:00 PM viii Foreword could hardly be imagined, but a teacher at The Lexington School, where they both had children enrolled, had suggested that they might like to meet each other. Audrey told us, years later, about Judy wearing a suit to visit her for the first time. “A suit!” said Audrey, still shocked. “And heels!” Audrey was receiving company that day barefoot, in her usual shorts and T-shirt. But they learned quickly that the teacher who introduced them was right—they did have a lot in common. Both of them were writing poetry. And both were free-ranging visual artists—mainly painting for Judy and sculpting for Audrey—but both of them exploring many new art forms. Anyway, on that afternoon in Harrison County, they told us about a group of women who were calling themselves the Stuck Artists. The group had been organized by the art photographer Linda Butler (about to decamp for Pittsburgh). Well, both Mary Ann and Sue were, for complicated reasons, good and stuck at the time, so it sounded at least nonthreatening and worth a try. Their game, Judy and Audrey explained, was to pull three words out of a box and go home and play with them. And come back in three weeks with whatever they’d made of them. Play became the operative word. The idea was to let ourselves loose, and we did. We remembered how to play. We loved what we were doing. We stopped calling our group anything. We just drew the words out of a box and went home to do something with them. We—Mary Ann and Sue—both thought of ourselves, when we entered the festivities, as unadulterated fiction writers with a certain degree of accomplishment out in the world, both a little overwhelmed by what our imaginations commanded us to create. After we joined the party, we each completed novels and short fiction , propelled and liberated by this new attitude of “Just let it fly. Just get something to bring to our next meeting.” The necessity of creating something in three weeks, something brief enough to Young_FinalTextRev.indb 8 7/22/19 1:00 PM ix Foreword read in the group, directed us toward shorter forms—particularly poetry, which allowed us access to our immediate personal experience of being alive in rural Harrison County. These meetings and the ritual that governed them freed all seven of us. We had fun. We were boisterous, often raucous. Once, after a meeting at Carolyn’s house, her husband Alan, who’d been banished to his study in the basement, told her, “I never heard a group of people laugh so much. And so loud!” Carolyn said, “Now you understand why we don’t let you guys come to our meetings.” To which Alan replied, “I don’t see why you ever let us come to anything.” So...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813177854
Related ISBN
9780813177847
MARC Record
OCLC
1110689205
Pages
72
Launched on MUSE
2019-08-15
Language
English
Open Access
No
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