Time is Not Sad — We Are

About a month ago I created this art piece at a “crochet” gathering at my friend Brenda’s house. I learned to knit one hat in college over 20 years ago, but never picked up knitting needles again. At Brenda’s, I tried my best to crochet, but my hands and mind weren’t quite on board. I was able to make one string of crochet loops and my mixed media mind took over. There is a certain impulse or urge I feel in my body about creating mixed media works. I think it’s the impreciseness of it, the different textures interconnecting, and surprise meaning created by unusual juxtapositions.

I pulled out a large envelope of collage materials, scissors, glue, pens, and needle and thread and went to town in an old notebook. This is the piece the emerged from that art-making session:



For a month, I’ve been staring at this piece, curious. Why is time not sad? I kept asking. That bit of text was cut out of some poem or magazine article and called me to use it. Art-making is mysterious this way. So this evening, while dusting off my shelf where this piece sat in waiting, I spent some time with it and this line emerged in my mind: “time is not sad — we are,” and then this poem flowed out, as if the art piece was making the call and the poem was giving the response. Here is the poem:


Time is not sad – we are.

It’s an emotionless tick-mark passing

through an invisible scrim.

We are sad because it doesn’t bend

for us, makes no special accommodation,

doesn’t write a letter of excuse, gives no

pardons, makes no concessions or apologies,

never moves up our appointments, delays

our arrivals, suspends our goodbyes.

In fact, it doesn’t even know we are here –

such an absent companion – and still

we obey its laws, follow its cycles,

and surrender to its every minute,

our bodies pressed into it, leaning forward

as if walking into the wind, eyes watering.


The moral of the story is this: trust your creative impulses, let your work develop for you — it will always have a message — and try allowing one art form inform another, as if in dialogue.

Wishing you creative bursts of insight,





c. 2017 Courtney Putnam – all rights reserved in all media

1 Comment

  1. Yes, Courtney. I am in total agreement about the linkage that happens, when we pay attention. It also seems to be imperative that I do not let the distracting incoming take over my mind. I won’t hear the inspiration if I am being bombarded by a book or movie, no matter how wonderful they are. So thanks for the reminder that even dusting can be a time when my brain is free to hear my inner voice.

Skip to toolbar