Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hey there~ if you're lookin' for me, I'm hanging out at my other blog...over here.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

NO, don't tell me it's really true!

Have you ever read this book? It used to be one of my FAVORITES! Well, ok, it still is. I read it a million times as a kid and now I read it to my niece and nephew who love it too.

If you don't know the story, I'll give you a brief synopsis. It goes like this: Grover doesn't want you to turn pages because he thinks there is a monster at the end of the book. He ties pages down, builds brick walls, begs, pleads..."STOP!!! PLEASE, whatever you do...DON'T turn the PAGE!!!" Poor old Grover is scared...but when we get to the end Grover finds that he was scared for nothing--there's no monster at the end of this book--just lovable, furry old Grover.

Ok--so I admit it. I've been feeling a little bit like ol' Grover. So much so that I haven't even read the last chapter because I've been wanting to save it for a less busy time when I can savor it. ha!

But despite my best efforts--we've arrived (as a group) to the end of the book. And surprise! There's no monster, no real ending--just a bunch of artists who have become friends.

This morning I finally cracked open chapter 12 and was happy to find a creativity contract (page 202) to continue doing morning pages and artist's dates for the next 90 days. YAY! Duh--what a great idea. Not that I haven't thought about doing it on my own, but actually committing to it makes a difference for me.

The Artist Way has done some pretty incredible things for me in the past 3 months which include:
  • I quit smoking (after being a smoker for 15 years)
  • I changed my diet--started eating healthier, more organic--and lost 7 lbs.
  • I started getting real with myself--in more ways than one.
  • I met an incredible group of women and found an inspiring, supportive network of friends.
  • I realized that I thrive in supportive environments--and that non-supportive environments are bad for me.
  • I realized that I need to be true to MYSELF.
  • I quit trying to be someone I'm not.
  • I got more active.
  • I started WANTING to write (and DOING it). This is BIG! Because of experiences in Grad school, I've struggled with it (and myself) for a long time.
  • I started setting more realistic goals for myself rather than the ridiculously unattainable goals I had been setting before.
  • I've become more accepting of my body.
  • I've started spending more time with friends.
  • I'm happier, and therefore, my relationship with my husband has gotten better.
  • I've started taking the things I need to be a happy and successful artist seriously.
Now that I look back at it, I'm amazed that all this happened in 3 months. I mean, Holy COw!

And technically, I'm not quite finished. I'll go back and do chapter 11 and 12 over the next couple weeks. Then I'll keep going for the next 90 days...and then maybe another 90...who knows. But what I DO know is that I'm incredibly thankful for stumbling onto Kat's blog and finding the rest of you in the process.

I'm probably not going to continue writing on this particular blog because I have another "regular" blog...and, as I mentioned in my last post, I can't keep up with both. But I will say that this blog has empowered me to say things that I would have never said before. Before, I was trying to play a little bit harder edge in life. Why? I don't know--maybe because I like to pretend I'm a rock star (haha!) or maybe because academia doesn't like softies. But fuck 'em. Cynicism will only get you so far. This blog helped me get real with both myself and others. It helped get me back to center.

Because I don't want to lose touch with any of you, I hope you'll add my Diary of a Self-Portrait blog to your sidebar links. The address is: http://ravenn.blogspot.com

And I promise to add your links to that site soon.

For me, maybe that has been the real "Monster" at the end of this book--that I'll lose contact with you by moving back to my other blog. My fears probably make as much sense as Grover's--and hopefully, I'll be as happily surprised. Anyway, I like Tess's suggestion to "have a remedial AW group for skimpers, skippers and out-right cheaters (like me)! We can make up for lost chapters and stretch it out for weeks!" ha! What a great idea!

It feels like graduation day (except that I'm still in my pajamas)--and I want to give you all a great big hug--but, alas, you'll have to just pretend that you can feel it. These past 3 months have been down-right incredible and powerful. Ok--but I'm starting to sound like an info-mertial--so I'll end with saying:

THANK YOU FRIENDS!
and please stay in touch!

love,
Jessie

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Geek 1 and Geek 2 have a conversation:

Today I'm a little bit sad because we're nearing the end of The Artist's Way. But every time I try to write about this sadness, it goes away.

me1: Now that we're almost to the end of week 12, I'm afraid we'll all go our seperate ways and forget about each other. The thought of this makes me feel really, really sad and a little bit lonely.
me2: This is just the beginning. We've spent the last 12 weeks getting to know each other under semi-structured circumstances and now...whew! now is just the beginning. The more I learn about these new people in my life, the more I realized how infinately complex we all are.

me1: I don't know if I'll keep this blog or not. I created it so that I'd have a seperate space to explore my thoughts and feelings. But I have another blog that I've kept for several years. I can't keep up with both. I'm afraid that if I don't write here anymore that I'll lose many of the connections I've made during the course of aw.
me2: The strange thing that's happened through aw is an explosion of new connections. Some of those connections are not even through aw, but through someone else, through someone else, through someone else. There are a large handful of people that I feel especially connected to...and when it comes down to it, they're the ones that matter. Connection works both ways--I think if I feel it, they must too. Even if I go back to only writing on my other blog, I'll make new links for those that I don't want to lose touch with. Anyway, I think in many ways, we've become like a tapestry--beautifully woven together.

me1: One of the best things about this aw group is the incredible doses of SUPPORT. I've begun to realize how important that kind of environment is for me. When aw ends, will I still have that?
me2: The support doesn't end with the book. I am grateful, SO grateful, to have become a part of this community. And the cool part is that it only continues to grow.

me1: But, technically, I haven't really finished! Life got busy with school and I feel like I really skimped on the 11th chapter and do not doubt it will be the same for this week as well.
me2: I'm gonna backtrack. I fell behind. I admit it--but I'm doing this for myself. There were several weeks that passed by without me. I couldn't keep up. But this is important to me. Oddly, there have been times that it was even more important than schoolwork. This has, on several occassions, led to problems with time management. But--wow--I needed this. Have you ever heard the phrase: "I finally got my shit together and now my ass is falling apart"? Yeah, I got my shit together by going to grad school and working towards my life and career goals...but then my ass fell apart in the process. Turns out, I have a lot of cleaning up to do--and that's why the aw has been important enough to occassionally put other things on hold. It's been worth every minute of grief. Actually, it's resolved a lot of grief.

me1: I've become a complete and utter geek.
me2: I've always been a geek. What's new?

me3: Yes--definately a geek.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

late night at the office...

Outside my door the halls are dark and empty, but I'm here for a late night and hopefully some focus. I came here because campus is always luxuriously quiet on Sunday evenings. I'm plugged into my ipod trying to plan class and write an essay simultaneously. But then "Maria" came through my headphones...from Willy Nelson's The Great Divide album. Transported. I'm transported instantly from this big green desk on the 3rd floor of Hagg Sauer to the middle of nowhere, North Dakota. This song reminds me of the bike trip I took a few years ago from Minnesota to the Rockies (against the wind). It reminds me of little towns marked only by a grainery and a bar. It reminds me of our bright blue tent set up next to the swings in "city" parks with populations of less than a dozen. It reminds me of standing on top of jungle gyms in the dying light of an endless prairie--which was the sort of place I would seek out each night to write. I brought a little rinky-dink tape player with me on that trip--and, with the music playing loud enough, I remember feeling like I was going to explode and dissolve all at the same time--like sky.

It was wonderful.

Strange how easy it is to be in two places at once.

I pull myself back to work--but reluctantly.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

what day is it?

good god, the days keep flying by. i'm finding it hard to keep up. i haven't blogged here in several days and i've only read half the chapter for aw. school, these days, is demanding my full attention.

however, the good news is that i've fallen in love with words again. they've begun to take on a new form--like music. this morning, after a long sabbatical away from (early) morning pages, i got up at 5am and wrote. i was tired, but it felt good. i missed it. it was dark outside, but the moon hung half full and perfectly clear above the rooftop next door.

tonight, my mind feels like tumbleweed.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I Heart Chicago

The view from our room...
The river was right outside our hotel.
Our first night in Chicago included strange March lightening storms. In the rest of the mid-West tornadoes were raging.
Chicago is a city of art. Should it surprise me that I fell in love with the place?

But I'll admit, the trip wasn't all fun and games. Actually, at times it was quite frustrating. I was glad I decided to take Tuesday afternoon to wander the city on my own...because, really, it turned out to be the most fantastic part of the trip. Luckily, I was able to check my blog and read a comment left by hobess, who reminded me that the magic bean (aka "Cloud Gate") was located on the corner of Michigan and Randolph. Since I was on my way to the art institute I made sure to take a route that would lead me to this sculpture that I've been fascinated with since I learned about it in an art history class a few years ago. Thank you hobess--it was incredible!!! I saw it in the distance and couldn't help but be overcome by a huge beaming smile. It was the first time that I felt like I could really take a deep breath in Chicago. Among layers and layers of buildings, in the middle of it all is this giant, shining egg that opens up into sky, reflecting everything. The openness of space created by the reflection was enough to crack me open...and it made me want to sit there all day.

Yep, that's little ol' me in the big city... feeling perfectly content.

...and this is my reflection in The Bean.

I couldn't help but take loads of photos...it was too much fun!
Can you see me?

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa: The Magic Bean


Ok, but the real reason for my excursion was The Art Institute of Chicago. I walked in and nearly wet my pants because in the first 20 minutes I saw Caillebotte, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Picasso, Daumier, Van Gogh, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Dali, Diego Rivera, Georgia O'Keefe. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

To see their work in the flesh and blood absolutely floors me. These are the artists that I've studied, looked up to, read and wonder about. But pictures never capture half of it. To see the colors and brush strokes hanging on a wall just inches from you is something that text books and magazines just can't do justice.


When I reached the room full of Gauguin paintings, I felt my whole body relax and another smile take over my face. This one, "Day of the Gods," is my absolute favorite painting. I have it hanging in my studio to inspire me on a daily basis. Oh, to see it in real life! There is a calm quality to Gauguin's Tahitianwork that none of the other European artists of the time seem to capture. The lifestyle of the people he lived with is absolutely present in his work. I wished there had been a bench in that room. I could have stayed there all day too.

Eventually I made it to the Girodet Exhibit. My god!!! I need to write more about this in a post all its own. Never have I experienced such an alter-world of art. Such powerful work--it was silencing.
I fell in love with Chicago and can see why so many of you left comments on my last post about how much you love this city. It is a city in the most extreme sense...but so alive and full of art...not to mention, everyone was so incredibly FRIENDLY!!! Needless to say, I had a good time and even though I missed my husband and my wolfie and my cats...I'm glad I went. I'm also glad I took that afternoon to myself. I felt like a local--and, I must admit, I enjoyed the feeling immensely. I miss Chicago already!

But it feels good to be home too. I've been getting more attention from my husband and animals than I know what to do with!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Little mouse goes to the big city...

Early tomorrow morning I'm headed for Chicago--a twelve hour drive, but oh, getting away for a little while is going to feel soooo good...even if it is to work. Maybe just maybe (hopefully!) I'll even get to spend some time at The Art Institute of Chicago. We'll see. No matter what, I'm sure I'll eat some wonderful ethnic cuisine. But internect connection? Oh, the adventure of it all! :)

updates and check-ins

For the past 45 minutes I've been working on updating my sidebar links. I find it impossible to get through all the blogs and so I was attempting to streamline the links by getting rid of any that haven't been updated in the past month. BUT--it's taking forever because I'm using the ol' copy and paste method. The code that I originally used doesn't show individual links...so I can't just go in and add or delete (or can I?). Also, I really like the *musing* code...and alas, I don't know how do add that if I start over.

Sometimes I feel like a computer genius--other times, like today, I feel my technological handicaps. Oy!

Anyhoo--
As for the "check-in"...I am realizing that I have been a very, very bad girl these past couple weeks. I only did my morning pages twice this week, partly because I've fallen out of the habit, and partly because I've needed more sleep lately. I just haven't had the time (or maybe I should say: made the time). I'm still struggling to kick this bug. I feel a million times better, but every time I get the least bit tired, I feel it trying to show its ugly head again. I usually get up at 5am to write...but lately I wake up with a sore throat and congested...and I'm beginning to realize that I need to take my body seriously. I guess I'm still recovering.

I have, however, decided NOT to beat myself up over my non-accomplishments. It only makes things worse. Anyway, even though I haven't been doing my morning pages as diligently as I would like to be, I am still writing, reading, blogging, thinking,and art-making. AW is never more than a half a thought away. Starting this week I am going to get back into the groove with my mp's. I do really enjoy them. Anyway, I'm headed to Chicago tomorrow--I think it will actually help my journal writing. A change of scene always seems to do that for me.

What I'm finding through AW is that I'm learning how to take care of myself and the artist within me. I am beginning to feel like a protective mother...and have started to nurture the aspects of myself that are in the most need. I put my hand out to shield myself from anything that could be potentially destructive to my artistic growth. I am protecting myself with love.

Lately I find myself becoming more aware of what I want and what I need to make it happen. Compassion? Yes, this week I have discovered compassion. In learning compassion for myself, I am learning how to clear a space for creative productivity.

This week feels like a definite turning point in the block I've been experiencing with writing. And as cheesy as this sounds, I'm learning how to love myself again. (oh god that sounded SO CHEESY!!!--I'm a GEEK! *lol*)....which is another thing--I've begun to allow myself space for play and creative thought. My world had become frightfully linear. It feels good to dismantle some of my old fears...and to let the river flow once again.

This week, for me, has been about giving myself creative space...and treating that space, both internally and externally, with love.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

the domino effect

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
~Anaїs Nin

It's interesting how helping myself helps my teaching too. Today I felt like we were all in it together. But the best part is that I think my students felt it too.

on support and shaking creative blocks:

It was a stop - you - in - your - tracks beautiful day complete with a fresh foot of heavy, melting snow and 34 degree sunshine. I slopped around town in my boots instead of bothering to dig the car out--and my wanderings brought me on a mini-artist's date to my studio where I spent some quiet time alone and in peace. I wanted to give myself some down time to reflect on the incredible advice I received from all of you on my last post about being blocked. I have taken your words to heart. Today I made a collage of your comments that I'll leave next to my writing space to refer to whenever I feel stuck.


Your suggestions have reminded me that, yes, I do have it in me. I have a lot to say about India--it's just a matter of getting it onto the page--and giving myself the space to do it without beating myself up every step of the way. Anyway, this is MY thesis--it is MY work--it is MY story. Fuck 'em. What does Cameron say? "Don't let the bastards get you down!" That statement feels a bit harsh and angry--and confrontation isn't the approach I'm looking for. However, I do deserve to enjoy my work. Ok, so fine...I am hereby starting over! Thank you for all of your good suggestions. I've already started putting them to use. Tonight I took a break and had Indian for supper. I read Anne Lamott. And I keep thinking about what IF I wrote letters to janabanana and sky, what IF I wrote somewhere less intimidating--in a notebook or on a blog.

Anyway, I feel your support. And thank you. It's having this wonderful effect of keeping my head above water...and I'm feeling the block beginning to lose it's hold on me (ha! like a disease to be cured of!). Thank you. I'm not kidding--thank you.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

On Being Blocked:

Last night I went to bed early after not being able to write. Of late, I have been newly inspired to take back my writing life after watching some incredibly thought provoking movies--Capote and The Dreamers. I went to bed early because after sitting down to write, nothing came. Like every day--nothing came.

I've been wanting to write about this for awhile now, but rarely have it in me to do so. Right now I'm supposed to be working on my thesis. I am half a semester away from graduating with a Masters in English--except for months now, I have been unable to write. Last semester I produced a couple strong pieces that I am happy with, but other than that--nothing--nothing other than blogging and journaling. To be honest, this is becoming both discouraging and frightening.

This degree has challenged me more than I ever thought possible. The funny thing is that applying for the position was a relatively last minute decision--I wanted the teaching experience that came along with it. Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate the complete and utter hell I would go through to get to the other side of all this. The artist within me has struggled deeply these past 2 years to succeed in an environment that often feels contrary to who I am and who I want to become.

In last weeks reading, Cameron wrote, "...academia harbors a far more subtle and deadly foe to the creative spirit. Outright hostility, after all, can be encountered. Far more dangerous, far more soul-chilling, is the subtle discounting that may numb student creativity in the academic grove." There is one person in particular that caused me to lose my self-confidence in a way that I never thought possible. And now--I am trying to heal the damage that has already been done. Using Cameron's term, he is my "creative monster"--and a very ugly and vindictive one at that. And what does he matter? He doesn't. Except that there are many, many more like him to be encountered in my future.

I chose to do an creative thesis because I feel like I've stuffed myself numb with critical and theoretical writing. The part of me I value the most is my creativity. And so it only makes sense to foster that creativity, to give it the time and energy and attention it desires. For the my thesis I plan to write a collection of essays on my travels in India and will also be studying the role of travel writing as a sub-genre of creative nonfiction. I find both topics endlessly interesting. BUT--I am the QUEEN of BLOCKED. I have not been writing and, to be honest, it is eating a hole inside of me.

I came home last night completely inspired to write. When the words did not come I felt myself sink. It was a dark and hopeless feeling that started to swell. The darkness was ugly enough to send me to bed several hours earlier than usual. Why? Because I can't write and it is making me afraid that I will never will.

I strongly related to Cameron when she acknowledged that "[c]reativity cannot be comfortably quantified in intellectual terms. By its very nature, creativity eschews such containment. In a university where the intellectual life is built upon the art of criticizing--on deconstructing a creative work--the art of creation itself, the art of creative construction, meets with scanty support, understanding, or approval. To be blunt, most academics know how to take something apart, but not how to assemble it."

Granted, there are several professors that I am in contact with who fully support my creative endeavors--for them I am thankful. But the problem is that I find it impossible to play these two opposing roles at once--that of an academic, and that of an artist. They are not the same roles.

And I don't know how to be both.

The truth is that I love teaching writing. It is my passion. I wouldn't bother with this degree except that it allows me to teach. I am passionate about teaching writing because I am passionate about words. I just hope I can get through this and still have myself intact. I want my writing self back; I want my artistic self back--fully, completely. When Capote said in the movie: "It's the book I was always meant to write."--I felt my heart crack open. Right now the book I am meant to write is about India. Not writing it feels like quicksand. But I feel caught between worlds. There is a wall in my brain that I can't seem to break past.

And I am tired of being only half a person.

I want myself back.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blue and Green

Although normally I am attracted to the warm colors of red, orange, ochres, and fuscia--lately I find myself drawn to cool blues and greens. A breath, the sky, the air. Surface diving, a wave, catch me. I drift on barely visible evidences of being, skipping like a light weight stone across places that I find comfort and inspiration...softly.














Green

The ported fingers of glass hang downwards. The light slides down the glass, and drops a pool of green. All day long the ten fingers of the lustre drop green upon the marble. The feathers of parakeets—their harsh cries—sharp blades of palm trees—green, too; green needles glittering in the sun. But the hard glass drips on to the marble; the pools hover above the dessert sand; the camels lurch through them; the pools settle on the marble; rushes edge them; weeds clog them; here and there a white blossom; the frog flops over; at night the stars are set there unbroken. Evening comes, and the shadow sweeps the green over the mantelpiece; the ruffled surface of ocean. No ships come; the aimless waves sway beneath the empty sky. It’s night; the needles drip blots of blue. The green’s out.













Blue

The snub-nosed monster rises to the surface and spouts through his blunt nostrils two columns of water, which, fiery-white in the centre, spray off into a fringe of blue beads. Strokes of blue line the black tarpaulin of his hide. Slushing the water through mouth and nostrils he sings, heavy with water, and the blue closes over him dowsing the polished pebbles of his eyes. Thrown upon the beach he lies, blunt, obtuse, shedding dry blue scales. Their metallic blue stains the rusty iron on the beach. Blue are the ribs of the wrecked rowing boat. A wave rolls beneath the blue bells. But the cathedral’s different, cold, incense laden, faint blue with the veils of madonnas.

~Virginia Woolf. "Blue and Green" from Monday or Tuesday.

Paintings by Ginger Mongiello
acrylic on canvas

Checking in on week 8

What do you mean checking in?! I haven't even finished reading the damn chapter! Oh, but I'm going to. Reading is my favorite part of all this. Right now I'm working at the gallery. There's a new show up and I am feeling in love with it--it is butterflies! Beautiful colors. I walked in and instantly felt at peace. There is so much emotion in this show. I forgot my camera today, but can't wait to post some of the images to share.

Anyway, AW has fallen by the wayside these past 2 weeks. This past week I've only done my morning pages 3 times. I have to remember to give myself a break though. I'm still coming out of being sick. I can see already that I've lost the habit of getting up early, going upstairs, and writing--no matter what. I'm going to have to retrain myself. I miss it...and I look forward to getting back into the groove. I've been neglecting that part of myself. When I do sit down to write I feel overwhelmed by a flood of thoughts that I want to get down on paper, but don't have time for. I feel the same here on my blog. I can't seem to keep up with myself.

I actually did go on my artist's date this week...although I didn't call it that at the time--actually, I went on two and I wrote about it yesterday--going shopping for some new clothes and getting a hair cut. It was money well spent and it felt good taking care of myself in that way. Clothes and hair doesn't change anything on the inside, but it sure feels good on the outside. In a way I feel like I'm preparing myself for the next stage in my life...and I am looking forward to this change. Not to mention, when I got my hair cut, the stylist gave me an incredible scalp massage as she washed my hair. It was so relaxing, I felt like I was in heaven.

As for synchronicity--this is something that I've been having a hard time writing about all along. This week, like every week so far--I've experienced incredible amounts of synchronicities--so many, that I find it difficult to know where to begin. In the past 3 hours the synchronicities in my life include this incredible art exhibition of butterflies and a phone call from my landlord.

significant issues? Would I be repeating myself if I mentioned that I'm finally starting to feel better? Or maybe that falls under synchronicity since week 8 happens to be about recovering a sense of strength.

And my husband and I finally decided what our next step into the future will be. We're moving. Definitely. I find myself having visions of myself and us in this new place. And I can't wait. These imaginings have a way of coming true--with uncanny consistency.

Ok--but I'm going to quit this post here. There is just too much to say. I'm just writing...not trying to be perfect or interesting. This is it. These are my scattered thoughts--but only the surface of them. There's more. I feel like I'm going to spill over.

I am.

Friday, March 03, 2006

rambling thoughts on my way back to normal.

Yesterday was my first real day out of the house in the past week. That's not counting the 2 doctor visits and the 4 hours of working at the gallery. Mind you, I don't normally spend much time at home--so a week of almost solid staying-at-home-time is almost unheard of for me and, well--I think it was a bit too much, but...

I successfully made it through my 8am class without crumbling into any coughing fits. My voice still sounded weird (high, thin, and cracking), but I was impressed by the amount of pity it drew from my students who sat sweetly and intently listening to me talk. Of course, that didn't last--about half way through the hour they reverted to their normal, relaxed, talkative selves. Needless to say, I survived. I also realized that I was feeling more guilty about canceling class than necessary. Freshman college students DO NOT MIND having an 8 am class cancelled. Silly me. As though this should come as a surprise! And I also realized, dang, I think I kinda missed them!

To be honest, I still felt like hell. But it just felt good to be out of my sweat pants and talking to people. Later on I went out to lunch with my husband and afterwards, even though my head felt like it was going to explode, I couldn't bring myself to go back home again. So I did something I don't do that often and went SHOPPING. Yes, I felt like I needed a pick-me-up and ended up finding a very cool green suit, a whispy fuscia shirt, a chocolatey brown pair of slacks, and 2 very comfortable but stylish shirts--all on sale. My professional side needed (needs) a boost to say the least. I went home tired beyond belief, but happy with my purchases.

I spent the first half of the night in a coughing fit, but this morning, when I woke up, the first thought that came to my mind was: "It's gone! Whatever it was--it's gone!" Weird. But it's true. The sickness seems to be gone. I'm still stuffy and congested and existing on DayQuil...but the worst of it is over. I celebrated this morning with more girlie activities and got a haircut and coloring today. And now--I'm a NEW WOMAN! Well, mostly. I look better anyway. And I definitely feel better.

Just in time to battle a leaky roof. Did I mention that I love being a renter? No, I mean that. The roof is leaking and even though that really sucks, it is NOT my responsibility. We shoveled it off and are hoping that will take care of it, but... I really kinda like this house...but it's old and I'm not sure I'd want to own it.

Let's see...what else? Oh I don't know. It's such a strange sensation to feel like I have a brain! It's almost the end of the week and I still haven't finished reading Chapter 8. I'm going to-- shortly. This chapter "speaks" to me--and I want to write more about it later. It feels like a lot happened in the past week...I mean, I feel like I missed out on a lot and as though I have a lot of catching up to do. But I am so grateful for missing out too. Is that weird to be grateful that I got sick? Yes, I'm sure it is. The thing is that I needed to be kicked on my ass to realize a few things about myself. I feel like, for a moment, I really lost control of my life. I want to start over. The life I was living before wasn't worth it. It was a life that made me sad and angry and depressed and confused. It was the kind of life that stole away my spirit and my self-confidence. Fuck it. I don't want that kind of life.

This one's better.

ps.
My husband just added The Bee Gees Love Songs album to my computer. Right now I'm listening to "Too Much Heaven." What is it about songs from childhood that feel so good as an adult? ooo-I love it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Look what came in the mail today!!!

How exciting to check the mailbox today and find a package from Melba! I knew it was her the instant I saw it because I recongized her handwriting. I know that all of you exist in the flesh and blood, but it's so cool to get something in the mail with real live handwriting and stamps--all lovingly wrapped in cellophane and hot pink tissue paper--and if that weren't enough, even a little personal note on the inside. And how perfect that there should be a butterfly holding it all together!

Today is the first day of March and it's also the first day that I've started to feel better after a long week of being sick. Spring feels like a definite possibility...and along with it, some much needed new beginnings.

Thank you Melanie!!! Your gift made my day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A few pages of journaling from the past week:

I've been a little delirious and maybe I shouldn't even post these thoughts. But oy, it's all part of the journey--so here it is.

Calm your body and listen.


Joy Eliz gets credit for the "tea art" inspiration. I drank this cup of tea shortly after enjoying her artwork. And well, it "spoke to me."

Tuesday, Feb. 28th
“Meditate by enjoying yourself and letting the universe fill you.” ~from a wise tea bag.

It’s taken this past week of extreme sickness to remind myself of this—although I must admit to myself that I’m not sure exactly what it means in the day to day activities of life. There’s a part of me that wants to discredit the idea because it’s not very realistic, because it doesn’t “pay the bills.” But there’s a more important side of me that knows it’s possible because it is nothing more than a state of mind. I drank this cup of tea while I was working at the gallery. I was sick, but the sun and the quiet and getting out of the house for a few hours felt good. When I read this quote my mind is immediately filled with an image of me sitting on the front step of the house in the sun. It’s summer. I’m drawing in a book and laughing with someone. It’s a moment of pure bliss because it’s not meant to be anything more than it is.

recovering a sense of connection: a collage

It's taken me awhile to post this, but a few days ago I made a collage on the coffee table.


I found myself drawn to images of butterflies and moths, motherhood, and far away places. It seems silly now to try and explain it since in many ways I suppose it speaks for itself. My life feels like it's in the middle of a transformation-- a bit between worlds, like a moth in her cocoon. I was a little surprised by the beauty and richness of color of the images once they were assembled next to one another. Since I didn't glue my collage down, it lasted only as long as I had it on the table. But I've been carrying those images and colors around inside of me ever since. I think of it at odd moments as I drift off to sleep or look out the window. Life, like the collage, is only temporary--and it's up to me to create the life I want, to put the pieces together in a beautiful, or at least interesting, pattern.

Since moving a few months ago we've had 4 orchids bloom in our new (rented) house. We now have only a 1/4 of the window space and half the light, but for one reason or another, the plants we were able to keep are practically growing out of their pots. Someone once told me that a plant will only bloom in a happy home. In many ways, selling my house felt like nothing more than loss. But I'm beginning to realize that this is my-place-of-in-between, the place where my stunty little wings start regaining their strength. Tomorrow, anything is possible. And what that notion leaves me with is an incredible sense of abundance.

The mango is one I bought last week after being inspired by Greenishlady's post. It took awhile to ripen, but I finally ate it yesterday--and it was as good as I imagined it would be. Juicy and succulant, it dripped down my fingers and chin and reminded me of India. It was worth every penny.

My collage is now safely tucked into an envelope in my journal--to remind me of all these little revelations.

Here's to all of us...that we may live our life's many dreams and continuously discover a sense of connection.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

i've built a new home on the couch.

Although it's possible that I am but a random victim of powerful germs... I think it's safe to say that my body is trying to tell me something and it has been yelling it in my face for the past 5 days. 5 DAYS! I don't remember ever being this sick (except when I came home from India 9 years ago). This is bad--so bad, that I'm actually looking forward to going to the doctor again on Monday morning. There's more I'd like to say and images I'd like to post, but alas, it will have to wait. The only reason I'm sitting up right now is to let my sinuses drain.

Ok, but enough whining. Thank you all very much for your very kind and healing words. They are better than sleep, peppermint tea, and chicken soup combined!

Friday, February 24, 2006

I've been taken over...

...by sickness. Day 3. Yesterday I called in sick for the first time in 15 years (since high school). And let me mention that I NEVER get sick. I am a firm believer in mind-over-matter and I've gotten pretty good at using my brain power to overcome any impending illnesses...but this time I got my ass kicked. Now that my headaches finally gone, I just want to lay on the couch and read books that have nothing to do with school. However, I am starting to panic. I am falling further and further behind... and there's nothing I can do about it because right now I am spending the majority of my energy on things like breathing.

On the flip side--I have had some worthwhile fever-induced epiphanies. But let's face it: being sick sucks.

My life involves too much stress.

you know, it's funny but...

ever since i made that jealousy map...i haven't felt jealousy about any of those things. how incredibly liberating is that?! maybe it has something to do with acknowleging those feelings in the first place, maybe it has something to do with turning negative reactions into positive ones, or maybe it has something to do with realizing that lots of people feel the same way.

well ok--it's probably a combination of all of those things.

by the way... i just want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone that's been posting photos of their journals. You are all VERY AMAZING!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

trekking the jealousy map...

This is my jealousy map. It looks pretty neat and tidy in grid form--but in reality it's not always as manageable. Jealousy sucks energy out of what could otherwise simply be encouraging. Cameron writes: "Green is the color of jealousy, but it is also the color of hope." In writing out this map, which I did originally in my journal, it became ridiculously obvious to me how easy it is to solve any problems of jealousy (or for that matter, many of my problems in general). I look at the action antidotes that I wrote and am thinking: "oh, DUH. Why didn't I think of that before?!?"
Funny thing, is that I really love the people I am jealous of. It should not surprise me that it's because they're inspiring.

WHO

WHY

ACTION ANTIDOTE

name goes here

Her ability to organize, get things done, and accomplish the goals she sets for herself.

Start working.

name goes here

Everyone gushes over her blog posts even when it doesn’t say much or make sense. (I feel mean for saying that. She is incredibly heartfelt, sensitive, and caring. She draws people to her like a magnet--myself and others too. Maybe that's what it is that I'm really jealous of--her magnetism.)

Be real. Quit looking for validation through blog comments and appreciate the comments I do receive.

name goes here

Her ability to just sit down and write anywhere.

Go sit somewhere and write.

Natalie Goldberg

Her confidence as a young and relatively inexperienced writer to write a book about writing (Writing Down the Bones)

Quit worrying about what everyone else thinks and write what is important to ME.

Nancy Michael (my English Professor)

Her incredible intelligence, memory, and ability to articulate.

Listen closely and learn from her.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What do you write in?


Today begins with a new journal. A CLEAN SLATE. New journals are like new socks--because they feel sooooo good. This is another book made by the same artist as the last one, Terry Garrett. What makes this one special? oooh...just look at all that BLANKNESS...even the cover! It makes me look forward to filling it up and making it "me."

After reading a comment from Jana, I started thinking about what the rest of you are writing in. I know some of us have included little glimpses into our creative work spaces by posting photos of our studios and desks and views out windows... it makes me curious about what your journals look like. Of course, the contents are personal...but what does the outside look like? Do you use a spiral bound? Or a computer? Or a sketchbook? Or a composition notebook? Or something you made yourself? What do you use? If you're willing, post a photo of it on your blog. We don't get to hang out with each other in the flesh and blood, but it seems like a person's journal says a lot about them. Leave me a comment or a link so I'm sure to see your photo if you post one. It would be fun to catch a glimpse into your morning pages life. And please, don't think your journal needs to be fancy or jazzy or anything in particular--I find even the most simple journals interesting! A journal is a work of art just by being itself. :)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

good books...

I love this book. It makes me wish I didn't have anything else to do--because I'd make art journals all day, everyday.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1568984456/
103-6433592-3123860?v=glance&n=283155


...and it just gave me an idea. For now I'll keep it tucked in the back of my brain to incubate...a little egg I'll keep safe and warm until it's ready to hatch. :)

looking back at week 6

It's after midnight and I should be in bed because in a few short hours I'll need to get up. The sub-zero temperatures did a number on both my husband and my cars. His car needs to be towed because of a gas leak. Mine, who knows, but it will have to wait until Monday to be serviced. Cars and ultra-cold do not mix. Needless to say it is causing a bit of stress--stress that neither of us need right now. Between that and family and travel--tomorrow is spoken for. This, right now, is stolen time. I drink chamomile tea to ease the knots running up and down my back.

This week I felt really focused with aw because I kept finding abundance every time I turned around. It was nice to notice all the good things for a change--and a perspective I'll try to maintain. However, looking over the "tasks" I see that I really wasn't as focused as I thought because I did notta-one of them except #8: make a change in your home environment. I think I did my morning pages 4 or 5 out of 7 days. It's felt spotty this week because I haven't been getting out of bed as early...because I've been staying up later that usual. I find that I don't like to write my morning pages when I'm tired. And I'm a morning person--so when I say I'm tired it's because I'm honest-to-god tired and writing is not a magical antidote for it, even if I wish it was.

When I look at the "check-in" I'm bummed that I didn't use any of my mp's to "think about creative luxury" for myself. But whatever I did, I must have enjoyed it because my journal is almost full already! And I only started it a few weeks ago! Granted, it is made out of thick water color paper, but...the end? Already?! I like journals like that. I get to the end and move on before I get sick of myself. Anyway, lately I've been missing the dedication to my mp's like I had in the first couple weeks. I want it back. It was the one moment of the day I could count on. Yes, I want that back.

As for the artist date--well, I got a passport application but it's still sitting in the front seat of my car. I've sorely neglected myself this week. And it shows in my tired eyes.

As for the rest...I'm afraid it's going to have to wait. I'm fading fast. Hopefully that means I'll sleep well. I feel wore out.

g'night.

and happy week 7--Recovering a Sense of Connection--it comes with perfect timing.

Friday, February 17, 2006

speaking of babies...



My wolfie, Anu, is one of them. Today she is getting spoiled.

if you keep looking, it never stops: abundance in deeply frozen minnesota mornings


I've decided to dedicate this week to noticing abundance and then sharing it with you. This morning it is -46 degrees f. But I woke up in a warm bed in a warm house and now I sit here with a soft blanket wrapped around my legs, my cat's warm body resting at my feet, and a frothy latte in front of me. These are things worth being thankful for.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

cute babies and biology

Between this and this I found myself sitting here surprised by tears. Not sad tears, but the kind that sometimes spring from nowhere--an overflow of love and emotions. Today my husband and I went to Target for a few necessities. And then, like always, as we walked past the baby section, I stopped to hold something up and go: awwwhh. And we smile at each other and he says something like: "Put it back; it won't fit you." But as he walks away he's still smiling. And as I slip my arm into his, I am too. It's just that, sometimes, waiting for the "right" time feels like waiting forever. But those dang cute babies--they're everywhere!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More abundance: beauty and love

this is Viscosa, my little Mexican beauty.

A Sense of Abundance




"Clearing: Any new changes in your home environment? Make some."

For the past two days I've been working at the flower shop to help for Valentine's Day. As a gift to myself I brought home one of my favorite plants, a hyacinth, to scent my writing room with naturally creative inspiration.

But first I cleaned and decluttered and even moved a rug that was at an angle under my desk. It's been bugging me for several months because my chair kept getting caught funny on it and was annoying. So anyway, today, on Cameron's advice, I've made a few simple changes to create room for positive energy and a little more productivity.

"True life is lived when tiny changes occur." ~Leo Tolstoy

Sunday, February 12, 2006

make it a date: the necessary paperwork

Since I'm behind on "artist dates"...this week I have one date already planned: to RENEW my PASSPORT! It expired this past August and well, duh, if I'm gonna go anywhere, I'll need a passport. This is the week I get proactive.

Everyday art

I am very inspired by this . #1) because I love Frida and anything that has anything to do with her. #2) because I am intrigued by Diego. #3) because it reminds me that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

I am also inspired because it reminds me of an experience I had a few years ago while preparing for my Senior Show. I worked day and night, night and day. I lived and breathed painting. Even though it was a requirement to graduate, it was probably the most important show I'll ever have: after all, it was my first solo exhibition. Not to mention, through painting, I was telling the most important story of my life. The exhibition was titled "Portraits of India" and was mostly large pieces, oil on canvas. The biggest measured 5' x 6'--and I painted almost the entire thing with a #2 size (tiny) paint brush! I was obsessed with detail and perfection. But my painting instructor, Carol, was wonderful. She was there for me everyday with advise at every turn. But mostly I wanted to be left alone. Carol and I would have daily or weekly critiques of my work. There was one piece in particular that came out faster than the rest--a painting of a young Indian woman breast feeding her baby. Carol, being the good teacher that she is, was trying to find things to say about it to make it better. I felt like such a beginner! But at the same time I was pleased with the way this one had turned out. Carol took her thumb nail and showed me a spot where the ochre colored background did not perfectly meet the orange colored sari. Ok. I remember thinking--OMG, she is more anal than me! Needless to say, I spent a lot of my time doubting myself and wondering if it was good enough--with all of it. At the time I had only been painting for a year, but I wanted it to be the absolute best work I could produce.

The next week we went to The Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis. I found a Georgia O'Keefe hanging on the wall--it called to me. It was beautiful--stunning actually. I got closer and closer and closer until--OMG (with eyes just inches from the piece)-- OH JOY!!!! THERE WERE MISTAKES IN HER PAINTING! SHE IS NOT PERFECT!!!! I found several spots where I could actually see BARE canvas!!! I was so inspired! GEORGIA O'KEEFE IS A REAL PERSON!!!


"Oriental Poppies" by Georgia O'Keefe
Oil on Canvas @ The Weisman Museum


Needless to say, I never did fix that part of my painting that Carol had pointed out to me. It wasn't to rebel against her--she's one of the best teacher's I've ever had. Rather, it was in celebration of the fact that, yes, even famous artists are not perfect. And that means that it is ABSOLUTELY possible for ANY ONE OF US to become the next Georgia O'Keefe!

sorry for the poor image quality
(it's much darker than the original--especially at the bottom),
but this is her. These days she hangs out in my writing room--
she's smiling at me right now.
"Didi" Oil on Canvas


Sometimes I think we are too hard on ourselves. I know I am. And to be honest, I love O'Keefe even more for her imperfections. Thanks Lauri for reminding me about that.

(also a dark image!) the 5' x 6' example of OCD at its best,
"Hotel Sapna" Oil on Canvas



In the gallery
"Meme" on the left, "Didi" on the right


This one was part of a series of oil on paper.
I was trying to loosen up my style and quit being such a perfectionist!

Anyway......................
Whew! I sat down to write about my week in review and look what happened!

oh well. It gave me a good idea for my next artist's date. I've skipped them for that past 2 weeks. Technically, I've only went on one (which was time spent in the bathtub with a glass of wine). Maybe I should make it up to my artist with a weekend trip to Minneapolis--for some more ART INSPIRATION!

These days it's getting tough to keep up with the aw. However, I keep doing it because it's becoming painfully obvious to me that it's doing me a lot of good. Actually, at this point, I can't imagine stopping. If I did I'd feel like I was giving up on myself. I want to write more. But maybe I'll save it for later when I need a break from my work.

Here's to week 6!

Friday, February 10, 2006

AW Meme Tag

Four wishes, dreams and desires
  1. I wish we (hubby and I) could get into any MFA program we wanted--the best program in the best location--but also the one we'd be happiest in!
  2. I wish we had incomes above the poverty line.
  3. I wish I could have another dog.
  4. I wish I was almost done with my MA work so that I could breath a little easier.
  5. To travel! (sorry, but the fifth one is important too. :)-)
Four Imaginary Lives
  1. woodland fairy (hey, why not?!) :)
  2. professional travel writer--getting paid to travel to far away lands.
  3. a painter with a huge warehouse loft studio and TIME
  4. a mother--will the timing ever be right?
Four things I should change
  1. the ridiculous expectations I place on myself everyday
  2. the amount of nonnecessities I own--I should go through my stuff (and be ruthless!) in order to make room for travel!
  3. my weight (and this is something I'm successfully working on)
  4. my level of self-confidence. I need to get over whatever it is that broke the self-confidence I once had.
Four people I admire
  1. Mark Christensen--a creative writing teacher. I admire his ability to care for his students and to create a nonintimidating writing environment.
  2. Carol Struve--my old painting professor. I admire that she allowed herself to be real. I learned a lot from her. Not just about painting, but about being an individual and an artist.
  3. Nancy Michael--a current professor that I have. She is the smartest woman I have ever met!
  4. Vinny Marianiello--my husband. He is a perfect combination of intelligence and creativity. He's also the most multi-talented person I know.
Four things I like about The Artist Way
  1. The sense of community--new friendships, support, creative connections, inspiration
  2. Writing morning pages. It got me thinking outside the little box I had built around myself and has caused me to "wake up" in more ways than one.
  3. The "tasks." I find myself doing a lot more artwork in my journal and I feel a great sense of satisfaction in doing it.
  4. Reading. One of the most enjoyable things I do all week is sit down and read the chapter. During that time I feel a deep sense of peace and much needed introspection.
Four things I still hope to get out of the Artist Way
  1. Am I blocked? YEs! I hope that this will help me to get over whatever it is that's cblocking my writing so that I can write my thesis--a collection of creative nonfiction essay on my travels in India.
  2. New friendships that last beyond the 12 weeks of the book.
  3. A deeper sense of self.
  4. To trust myself--and learn (again) to follow my heart.
TAG: (only if you want, that is) :)

In search of my authentic self via the right questions...

Cameron suggests: "...ask for answers in the evening; listen for answers in the morning. Be open to all help." Until now I've been a little afraid to put all this out there because once I begin actively pursuing an answer, I have a feeling that it might just come true. Needless to say, my dreams lastnight did not reveal anything directly. So today, in my journal, I worked on trying to figure out which direction I'm trying to go in the first place.







For now I'll let these collages do the talking (click on each to enlarge)--cuz it's time to get to work on the present--so that whatever is in store for me in the future might actually have the space and opportunity to happen!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Appreciation

Today I read a blog that reminded me to stop and pay attention, to notice things I take for granted with appreciative eyes. And after reading I noticed that my body was trying to tell me that it needed a break. So I took a nap. I slept hard and now I realize how much I needed it. Later I took a walk in the snow because I didn't want to miss my opportunity to appreciate its beauty. It was relatively warm out and the exercise made me feel good. I loved the way my boots felt swishing through the snow so easily and the occasional patch of ice underneath, smooth as glass. I loved how happy it made my wolfie-dog when she'd run towards me and get surprised with a face full of fluffy snow--over and over. The air and the night was wonderful--and exactly what I needed.

Then I read this and realized that good things have been happening since I woke up this morning. It's good to be reminded that, in many ways, we are responsible for our own realities--and often, it's just a matter of perspective.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

small accomplishments

There-- I did it. Finally. I updated my blogroll. And it only took a month! Still a few blog links to add, but around here it's just one small copy and paste and a time.

This morning I did the list from aw, I wish_________________...
The first thing on my list (since I was trying to write without censor) was: I wish the laundry was put away. Well, all be damned--it worked! I ended up spending the morning folding, hanging, and putting away a month's worth of laundry. Wow, that's TWO things I've gotten done today--I'm feeling so accomplished! :)-

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Checking In: Week 4 (and a little of 3) in Review:

A few pages from my journal that I am inspired to share...

Stop searching
happiness is inside of you.


My favorite place is winter.


And more than a few rambling thoughts...


These past two weeks of journaling and doing the aw have been intense. I find it difficult to write about any one thing because it feels like there are so many things changing at once. So let’s start with something easy: I wrote 5 out of 7 days this week. I can’t remember Wednesday and Thursday I opted to sleep in (getting up at 5:45 am instead of 5—is it even sane to call that sleeping in?). I was exhausted and knew if I didn’t sleep I would pay for it the rest of the day.

This past week was hard. “Reading Deprivation” was kind of a joke for me even though I took it seriously in cutting out non-essential reading. My essential reading still consisted of endless hours of homework (Literary Criticism—not even close to “light” reading) and a stack of my student’s first research essays. The student essays are a slight mess and helping them learn how to cite sources is taking hours and hours that I hadn’t anticipated. But I find it impossible not to help them. Research writing can be horrible enough, but being left in the dark only makes it worse. Anyway, this is my chance to prove to them that writing—yes, even researched writing—can be incredibly satisfying. With this first paper it is important to me to show my new students that I care and that I take their words seriously. Needless to say, reading deprivation took the back seat majority of my week.

HOWEVER, cutting out blog reading was LIFE ALTERING enough. GOOD GOD! I caved in a couple of times—ok, so I’m not perfect. Reading blogs is my link to the outside world. Usually it is just me and my computer and a long list of things to do. Blogs are my down-time, my breaks, my breathing space. Needless to say, my days took a different course without all the extracurricular reading. The first two days felt like a week. I felt disconnected, cut off from people. My world felt small and a little lonely. I started to feel thankful for blogs and for the extent that they keep me in touch with friends. Before, I felt sad that my life felt more real in the blogosphere than it did in real life. But after this past week, I realized that, until I graduate, I don’t have time for much of a social life anyway--blogs keep me connected.

Not reading or posting also gave me time to think. The thing I keep thinking about the most is: Where am I headed next? What is my heart trying to tell me?

Aw has been a strange experience for me this time around. I did it a few years ago…but it didn’t feel anything like this. I feel raw. And I like feeling alive again. But DAMN! Last week I was SO INCREDIBLY ANGRY! And no, it’s not because Cameron said that I might. The anger started even before reading the chapter and only escalated throughout the week. I kept asking myself: why are you so angry? What are you mad at?

And finally I figured it out one day as I was walking down the stairs. Duh. Two weeks ago I decided to take control of my life. In the past year and a half I've gained 20+ stress-related-pounds and (was) a smoker. To say the least, I felt like hell. But I had been feeling like that for a couple years. Doing all this journaling and introspection (re)opened my eyes to the potential in my life. I wanted (want) to be healthy again. I was sick of being tired all the time, of headaches, depression, coughing, fat rolls hanging over my jeans… Yuck! I felt like shit! So one day I realized that I was totally capable of feeling better, but there was only one way to do that: and it would require (OMG) CHANGING my habits. Ok. I made it through day one (kinda). Day two was a complete success. Day three I was PISSED! I mean—come on—those were my vices I just gave up! Without food or cigarettes or television or enjoyable reading material to sedate myself with--there I was--face to face with myself. I felt like I was standing on the lip of an active volcano!!

And this week—well, this week I have calmed down incalculably. For the first time in years I make it through an entire day without feeling tired. I haven’t had one headache. I run with my dog because it feels good.

Yeah, did I mention that this aw thing is a little intense? I mean, really!! It’s weird. Very. And dang, I feel like I could write forever!

My life has cracked open like an egg. Do I dare even ask what this next week will do to me?


Spiral Serpent

I-Ching Mandala Oracle Serpent
(I am afraid of snakes. But I believe they have something to teach me.)

Original linoprint by N. Kirsten Honshin


"Within the sacred serpent spiral
the circulation of the light
embracing and passing through the darkness
a pattern is revealed
in reflection

As a mirror
we come to a greater understanding of ourselves
As a source
we can view the infinate processes of the individuality
of the universe."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Actually...

not reading blogs is harder than quitting smoking and going on a diet combined. Who knew?

I just want to say...

...that it is very difficult to be on a blog-reading diet.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

But I have so much to say!!!

This morning I went out for coffee and a date with my morning pages. There are a lot of things I want to write about here. But alas, I don't even know where to begin and in honor of Week 4 I am not going to do any unnecessary reading...and, of course, if I blog it will only lead to temptation. Soooo....

I wish all of you doing the AW a wonderful week. I look forward to catching up with all of you next week.

Until then.... happy journeys. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I Yam What I Yam

1. My favorite childhood toy was... Like everything else in my life, I didn't have just one favorite toy. I guess that's a pattern in my life--it's what makes me a "good" Sagittarian. I liked sitting in my dark little closet and playing Simon Says. I rode my Big-Wheels with the best of them. I loved my books....(and the list goes on)...

2. My favorite childhood game was... I spent a lot of time alone as a child, but one game I especially liked was pretending that I was a run-away orphan. One of my favorite stories was The Boxcar Children. I think I might have been a born traveler. Sometimes I miss the imagination I once had.

3. The best movie I ever saw as a kid was... The Dark Crystal. I must have been about 7 and was tagging along with my sister and her friends to the movie. It was sold out but our babysitter's (who we still think of as an extra grandma) son, Davey, worked at the theater and let the whole bunch of sit in the stairway leading up to the projector room. From the dark staircase we watched a magical world unfold--I've always loved that movie since.

4. I don't do it much but I enjoy... biking (for this, I look forward to warmer weather), swimming in the river (this makes me miss my friend Josh), singing (did I mention that I'm not very good?--especially when I have an audience), horseback riding (where do I find a horse? I could line something up. It would just take a little initiative!)

5. If I could lighten up a little, I'd let myself... DANCE!

6. If it weren't too late, I'd... Too late? It's never too late!

7. My favorite musical instrument is... Oh--here's that problem with not just one again! I love the cello because it gets me from the inside out. I love the banjo because it can't make a sad sound. I love piano because, for me, it is the most expressive of instruments. I love the Native American Indian flute because it feels like BREATH and sounds like nature. I like playing spoons because they're fun.

8. The amount of money I spend on treating myself to entertainment each month is... depends on what you call entertainment. Often my "work" world and my fun world coincide. I guess I'm lucky that way. As a student I'm "forced" to buy books. As a painter I'm "forced" to buy art supplies. As a writer I'm "forced" to buy journals. As for non-productive entertainment--I don't spend nearly enough. But $ is a funny little trap that I don't much like. I'm just as happy in the woods as I am spending money somewhere. I try to remind myself of that as often as possible

9. If I weren't so stingy with my artist, I'd buy her... 3 plane tickets--one to India to fill the well, one to Italy to learn more (for school or a workshop--or to live), and one to New York for a little inspiration. My budget is better suited to taking her out for coffee or buying her a plant.

10. Taking time out for myself is... feeling more and more like an impossibility. The further I get into the semester the more guilty I feel for every second not spent doing work.

11. I am afraid if I start dreaming... I won't graduate. I WANT to graduate. I am one semester away from a Master's in English and it has been much more difficult that I would have ever anticipated. I'm ready to start dreaming again. And I'll be ready to begin making those dreams a reality once I've accomplished this goal. I'm afraid that once I start dreaming my life will go in unexpected directions...and I'm afraid of what I'll have to sacrifice in order to make those dreams a reality.

12. I secretly enjoy reading... Kids books and magazines like People and Oprah.

13. If I had had the perfect childhood I'd have grown up to be... me. Anyway, I'm not all that fond of perfect--perfect is boring. I'm ok with the imperfections of my childhood--mostly.

14. If it didn't sound so crazy, I'd write... a book of art and thoughts...a crazy mess of both. Actually, these books are popular now and I find myself being extremely attracted to the haphazardness of them. Maybe I need to get academia out of my system-- where these sorts of things are not necessarily valued (this makes me sad).

15. My parents think artists are... weird, but wonderful. My mom IS an artist and my dad supports the arts by default. He would rather watch football, but will show up for poetry readings and art openings anyway. Being an artist isn't a huge deal in my family, but it is valued.

16. My God thinks artists are...everything they're meant to be. God is Art. God and artists have a few things in common--especially the drive to CREATE! Actually, somewhere between the age of 12 and 18 I started to get confused by the idea of god. I'm still trying to figure this one out.

17. What makes me feel weird about this recovery is... revealing my true, cheesy self.

18. Learning to trust myself is probably... the best thing that could ever happen to me. I notice that the more REAL I get with myself, the more involved I feel with my own life--and even though I'm afraid people will think I'm weird and not take me seriously, the more real I am with myself, the more genuine my interactions are with the world.

19. My most cheer-me-up music is... Bonnie Raitt--ooh, she gets me singing every time!

20. My favorite way to dress is... comfortable, but not slouchy. I like to show off my curves without showing the rolls! :)-

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

newness...










journal
n. A day-by-day record of experiences, ideas and reflections; a diary. -- v. to record the evidence of one's life.

Today I'm a little sad that I didn't do my morning pages. Late night escapades made it difficult to get up when the alarm went off at 5am. But in the end, it's been a good day--to be celebrated with a new journal cuz the old one's FULL.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"B" is for Blue Dog Inspiration

First of all, I find it impossible to share just one inspiration. So here they are... just a few of the things that inspire this BLUE DOG...........


coffee in all shapes, flavors, and forms.


my art bench...where many great ideas are born...


and my studio...where those ideas are acted on...


...and friends who share a love and passion for creating...

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...and music...cuz it's good for the soul...


...and books. Oh, how I LOVE books! They are the source of endless ideas and inspiration--what would I do without them?

Here's to finding what we all need: INSPIRATION!