Art of Disappearing

“The Art of Disappearing” is one of only several poems I understand and that speaks to me.

Solitary Koi • Pastel on Watercolor Paper • 10″ x 14″

With summer, unfortunately, heading to an end, this is the time to enjoy the beautiful days we have left. Vacations, time with the children, lazy days at the park, beach and pool, BBQ’s and school shopping make the days fly by without a thought.

Most people love summer and the slower pace of life. Most people. But when you are an artist and all of these additional social engagements keep you from your paint and easel, you have a real problem. The fact that many art shows happen in September doesn’t help. I find myself busy at the easel trying to get ready for two major shows while wishing I could be outside. It’s easier to carve out time for art when children are occupied by school and sports, and people are in a routine.

This poem, The Art of Disappearing, was written by Naomi Shihab Nye and found in her book: “Words Under the Words.” It does a great job explaining my thoughts and feelings about being interrupted while trying to paint or do anything else that’s productive.


The Art of Disappearing

by Naomi Shihab Nye


When they say Don’t I know you?

say no.


When they invite you to the party

remember what parties are like

before answering.

Someone telling you in a loud voice

they once wrote a poem.

Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.

Then reply


If they say

We should get together

say why?


It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.

You’re trying to remember something

too important to forget.

Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.

Tell them you have a new project.

It will never be finished.


When someone recognizes you in a grocery store

nod briefly and become a cabbage.


When someone you haven’t seen in ten years

appears at the door,

don’t start singing him all your new songs.

You will never catch up.


Walk around feeling like a leaf.

Know you could tumble any second.

Then decide what to do with your time.

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