Paintbrushes for Pens


“Poetry is beautiful because it takes us to a place we are not wanting to go to ourselves. But we are more than happy to see what another has brought back.”

I found this in an old notebook. In my handwriting. So that means I wrote it. Right? I might have, but wow. That’s pretty good. Google can’t find it quoted anywhere. (…is that because the only place Google can’t see is my notebook from my creative writing class in college? Any input on this quote is appreciated!)

Whoever wrote it, it doesn’t matter. It’s true. Sometimes it is easier to just read about what another has “brought back”. Sorting out the heart is a never-ending expedition—and it is exhausting. Nonetheless, we try. For some, the need to express emotions through words is primal. We see what others have discovered and are comforted, but not quieted. It pacifies, but does not feed. Without expressing it for ourselves, we have only half lived.

I have been such a jumble this past week. So many emotions. I slip on my rose-colored glasses and pretend I’m at an amusement park. I’ve always loved rollercoasters. There is so much to learn. Highs and lows both offer gifts. My anger shows me my hurt. My joy shows me my heart. And everything in between is beautiful chaos.

Tonight I wanted to write a poem, but words were not my friend. They bumped and jostled my heart like an old woman shown no respect on a crowded subway. They were too heavy-handed. Too raw. And at the same time, not strong enough.  I pushed them away and picked up a paintbrush. When words fail, color sings. Maybe this is why God made our world so beautiful. Because He knew. He knew. There are feelings so deep they can only be explored and expressed by color. This is a gift. God is love, and he loves with great tenderness and understanding. He speaks to us in color. Especially when our hearts can’t read the words. And we, in turn, create. We too use colors to speak to the world, especially when our hearts can’t form the words. People talk about “gifted artists”, but in reality art is the gift.

And here I’ve written a small treatise on how I have no words…..Just clearing my desk, setting up my paints, and laying out a new sheet of paper was all I needed to help smooth out a little of the jumble and “bring something back”. But I will still paint tonight. I will write my poetry with my paintbrush instead of my pen. There is so much more to bring back. It’s just taking a while to get there.





  1. I LOVE this!! I have so experienced this. While writing is my passion, at times, there are no words, they just don’t come. And I turn to making jewelry, or some other creative endeavor. We need the beauty, we need the color. Sometimes it comes in our words. And sometimes, from the paintbrushes!


  2. Beautifully written. I can not paint, so when I can’t write, I go and read what others have written instead… and then wait… and then the words come back to me. 🙂 Thank you for writing this, it is very inspirational.


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