It happens at every show without fail - people stand off to the side, eyeing my banner, trying to sound out the name of my studio practice with great difficulty. The Dinghy-est Girl? The Dingiest Girl? No, I am not the smallest-boat-girl, nor do I resemble an old pair of once-white socks. Perhaps a well-placed hyphen would have helped clear some things up, but oh well.
Aside from wanting to know how to pronounce it, lots of folks are curious about the meaning behind it.
The meaning of the name of my studio practice is multi-fold. My favorite book when I was seven was called “The Digging-est Dog” by Al Perkins. It’s the story of a dog, Duke, who yearns for love and acceptance and is rejected by his peers because he doesn’t know how to dig. When he finally learns, through the coaching of his owner, Duke becomes overzealous and digs up the town, effectively destroying it. His “friends” try to murder him by drowning Duke in a well (Yikes! Why did I like this?) and his master threatens to take him back to the pet store. Duke escapes and fixes the town, and spends the rest of his days happily plowing fields. The most amazing part of the story, in retrospect, is the fact that he stays friends with the dogs that tried to kill him. Dark stuff, indeed. But we can all relate to Duke in that at our core, we want love and acceptance. And for me, I just want to do one thing really well and use it to positively impact people’s lives, like Duke learned to do.
I also see the act of digging as a spiritual and intellectual metaphor. I love digging into a good book and losing myself in the story. I see digging as an archeologist might, to uncover truths, something yet unknown, revealing truths about our past that inform and influence the present. There is much potential in the ground beneath our feet - we grow from it and return to it - what could we find if we only dig deep enough?
With my pen as my spade and my brush as my shovel, and I’ll keep digging ‘til my hands are calloused and arthritic, ‘til all the stories have been told.
(So I guess that means forever)