Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

The Santa Gift

on December 28, 2010

Every year, my Mom always says there is a “Santa gift.”  I am too old to believe in “Santa”, but I do believe in the “Santa Gift.” It’s a gift that shows up under the tree, and when opened, the person sits back and there is a moment of silence. The same person does not receive the “Santa gift” every year…which is even more a part of the mystery. What is the Santa Gift? The Santa Gift can be a variety of things, and it’s only a “Santa Gift” to the person receiving it. The Santa gift usually has to do with timing and a variety of elements aligning together for one particular person. This year, the “Santa gift” came to me and was a mixed media art piece by Portland artist, Bonnie Meltzer.

I saw Bonnie’s work in the Tenino Art Gallery about two years ago. At the time, I picked out a piece I liked, but when Mom went to buy it, the piece had sold.  I remembered Bonnie’s work, but not the particular piece. And this was the first piece of “Santa timing.” Because the original piece which I chose had sold, my Mom asked the art gallery owner to pick out another piece for me.  Now, this is not always easy to do–pick out art for someone else. However, when I opened it, I was struck with two things:

I do my own mixed media art and am very drawn to this medium.

But, even more important is this piece represents to me the juvie kids in the poetry workshop. Mixed media art is taking found pieces and altering them to be something else. When the kids and I write poetry, we take our life experiences, and turn those experiences into poetry. Each year, the youth’s poetry has been published in a chapbook by the Miller Trust Artist Mentor Exhibit Program. The youth who are published in this book see their talent used to help others. They see how their stories can reach others–both teens and adults. We take those poems of life experiences and alter that experience of what once was perceived as a negative experience. We turn that experience into something which can be used to inspire and reach others.

I hung the mixed media art work in my office, and when I look at it, I am reminded of those “trouble” boys and girls who bring so much inspiration to my writing.




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