Honorable Intentions and Wu

Jornada de una casa a hogar by Maritza Davila

Language makes beautiful music. And when it is spoken with an accent, it becomes even more evocative, and words, because they are singled out in the cadence, and sometimes even misappropriated, have an even more distinct and lively meaning.

Heading home from the Midsummer Night’s Dream production by Ballet Memphis, we discussed how to best offer advice or to coach an artist in a  constructive fashion. I asked Maritza Davila, because she teaches  at the Memphis College of Art, what she tells her students.

“Sometimes a student will come to me and they will tell me, ‘I don’t know what to do!'”, she answered. Maritza has a lovely and emphatic Puerto Rican accent, and her response was equally so.

“I tell them they and their work must have a sense of purpose, and a clarity of intention.”

“A clarity of intention.” Now that really grabbed me.

Clarity is such a marvelous word.  As for intention, I like it, too,  as it goes beyond motivation, and describes something ineffable. We all have something we want to do, would wish to do, or desire to do. Intent alone is not enough, you will wash around willy nilly until you figure out what it is you want; it is clarity that  refines the focus of ones energy.

Maritza also says she tells her students to do research, which for some reason surprised me, but it makes sense. One reads in order to write, so I imagine the same must be true of creating prints. One must know what one is going to create, and not all of that  can come from personal experience.

Teachers who live amongst us  are a gift, not only to their students, but to all of us. They add to the sea of knowledge and beauty that the rest of us swim around in.

The direction that Maritza offers her  students is good advice, and I think that there is proof of it in the amazing success I have experienced with the Wu Food Project.