writing

I am on the home stretch of nano. I don’t want to jinx myself because I can’t even believe it myself but I am excited.

yes, my manuscript is a hot mess and a half but I don’t care. it is poetry and prose. short story and no story. it is a mess but my goal is to get it all down. I don’t know if I will ever edit it into a “proper” document but I do know that I have really enjoyed the whole writing process.

I think what has been useful for me is letting myself write and not try to make it something. that is what editing is for…they say. lol.

Holly Wren Spaulding has this technique that she talks about in her workshops…I’ve accessed them online and through pateron…that calls for just taking fragments of the work and playing around with them. I can see myself doing that with this this massive expression of language because I think it can be lightly sculpted into something marvelous if I give myself to it.

anyways, my goal after November, is to reread the “art of slow-writing” and maybe writing down the bones. of course, I will keep writing. I think that is important that once you get in a good habit to keep with it.

so this is days later

and I have finished the zero draft of my manuscript. I am so proud of myself because I don’t think I’ve finished the draft of anything this big in a long time.

also, it’s thanksgiving in the states. which means lots of different things to lots of different people. I didn’t grow up celebrating holidays so I am always fascinated and happy for creating new family rituals and traditions with my people. I don’t know if the whole nano thing will be a part of it but I don’t mind if it is

happy thanksgiving, if you observe.

Fall

I am checking the forecast who,e the tea kettle readies itself to boil. The toddler and the cat are having a wee disagreement about who should sit on the top of the couch, the answer is really neither but I pick my battles.

I have been working on national novel writing project. I thought it was going to be a novel but it’s going to be a memoir of sorts. Writing my memoir feels like a big task but i am just allowing this to be my zero draft and not trying to shape the writing too much because otherwise , i might get discouraged.

To be honest, i have never been itching to write my memoir….it always felt to painful and crazy to really go there. However, time has marched on and i am seeing things in a new lights. The past is the past but we are doomed to repeat it unless we learn from it.

When i tell people my story…even just the highlights…they are amazed…i am amazed because it is nothing short of a miracle. So i will write it and even if i only print two copies, one for me and one for the hubby that is enough because the story will have been told.

I’m watching the trees sway outside, they gave been calling for snow this afternoon. I don’t feel ready for snow because just the other day i was frolicking in the leaves but the weather is as it is.

These days feel so pregnant with possibilities. I am not even sure what that means anymore but i am looking to the sky and trying not to step in random buckets the kids have left out. There is so much to learn and be grateful for.

the point

from 2017–

somewhere along the way, i internalized the idea that it was better to be opinion-less, emotionless, and benign. somewhere, i got the notion that these things would keep me protected, safe and powerful. of course, this is a nice lie. it sounds good in our head but usually has nothing to really do with us and love and lots to do with pleasing other people.

every time, i write a strong opinion, i feel like i need to defend, erase, deflect or apologize. lol…that woman is annoying. you see, there is nothing wrong with having opinions. strong ones. even “wrong ones” because we are humans. in flux. expanding. growing. if we stuff ourselves in a box of nice and placid. we might never meet ourselves for real. we might never live into our small light or even really live at all.

there was a preacher i once knew, i know, i’ve known a few…who said that Jesus did not come here to help us live a nice and comfortable life. Jesus was table tosser. He hung out with prostitutes and tax men. nobodies, in that society and maybe ours, too. Jesus did not build a human castle to dwell or an aesthetic to be appreciated or even a reputation as a nice person. he was a challenger. he abided among the people he loved, he challenged the status-quo and He was obedient to his Father,  even if it would cost him everything.  i think we all could learn a lot from the story, christians or not because maybe we all have gotten a little to invested in being seen a certain way, in not rocking the boat or hiding ourselves from our life.

for the record,  i am not imploring you to become a christian or think a certain way….it’s just a reference point (insert your deity, philosophy, hero/ine or prophet, at will. personally though, i have lived within the culture of american christanity (of many facets) and that is often my story point.

moreover, i have lived in this culture enough to buy into many things that don’t serve my life or the world in a real or good way. it’s hard to unpack that but i think i must. it’s hard to even know what that means. it’s hard to separate the culture from the heart but i feel i must. this unpacking and unfurling applies to religion, opinions, food, nature, everything…when i see the world as it is…it is scary but the world has always been this way. me, being nice did not save the world and it will not save the world. me being opinion-less did not save me and it will not save me.

today, i thought about letting this blog go. i mean what can i possibly write these days. i can’t even keep a journal practice but i find myself here. challenging myself to show-up and toss the table of fear out of my way. i am challenging myself to live into the light, that i was born to live into. no, this may or not “lead” me there but it is a tool to go deeper, to be seen, to destroy the box that i desperately want to hide in.

last night i tried to paint a painting from a thumbnail drawing that i did earlier this week. i used the same tools, the same colors, the same desk but it just wouldn’t work. i ended up cutting into pieces and vowing to make something new. maybe that’s the point.

this is an old post from the archives of my blog. it’s funny how I have been chewing on the same things for ever. although, I will say my journaling practice has got a tad bit better.

Stitches and verses

so.

I set up a little stitching situation in an old pencil case. It’s a little janky because one of the hinges is messed up but it serves its purpose alright.

I also, I cleared off my desk and gave myself a bit of mental space…

I am pondering if I want to do a very tame version of national novel writing month. It feels insane to even type that but also thrilling. I am wondering where I will get the time but I think it’s possible (with an abbreviated goal).

That said, I am wondering if I should prep more. I have a story that I have been loosely working on for years…and it sounds so good in my head but the page…not so much. It’s so hard to let go of stories.

I discovered that I like writing again but if I apply any kind of pressure ….I just feel too anxious about it…it’s the same with art. At first, I thought I didn’t believe in myself but it’s not the case…I just don’t like the pressure.

As I think about it…i would also like to write some poems. Maybe a chapbook. So many possibilities.

Mindful

Being mindful in our creative practice, by actively choosing to prioritize the space and time for ourselves, brings attention to our internal core. Focusing on even just one thing makes us slow down a little from the rush of everyday life. Mindful making is about more than simply stitching or knitting something beautiful it is about learning how to bring that focus or feel of attention to something (the stitch work, the pattern) in our daily lives. ~ Ellie Beck

I have been gathering inspiration from the corners (and center) of my life. Looking through old photos and works. I want to know what makes me happy about my work and my practice. How can I allow it to shift to a more sustainable pace?

Slowing down my creative practice feels weird because I’ve always worked like a buzzing bee. I enjoy buzzing about but doing that 365 is not always good for me. I know that a lot of my production anxiety came from trying to bridge the gap between my abilities and my mind…and some came from the need to self soothe through art. These are beautiful reasons fro making art. They definitely kept me focus but like I said my idea of my practice has expanded and morphed some.

I want to be more thoughtful and personal in my work. I do think scrapbooking is a way of doing that…so is creative journaling but those things are too personal for the internet. Art journaling (for me) tends to be less personal but very intimate, if that make sense. And maybe that means less sharing (of art) on the internets to allow my work to go where it needs to go. I don’t know. I am just typing.

This morning I did some stitching. Stitching is slow for me. It might be the slowest hobby that I have. It reminds me that things take time. Maybe this idea of things taking time has found its way into my other art practices. I want to take my time. I don’t want to rush to create for pictures or likes. That’s not sustainable or good.

I want to be mindful of how I spend my time and energy. I want to give myself to my own life (and communities)and not building other peoples empires or idolizing other people’s lives. But it’s so hard. Or maybe it just feels hard. It’s a complicated pickle we humans are in.

I don’t think we have to figure it out today. But we do each need to figure it out for ourselves…what is important, what are living for and about and giving our days, too and what does a good life really look and feel like(for us)?

This was suppose to be about going slow but it’s all over the place. Meandering, I suppose. Hopefully, not self-indulgent. I don’t want to give the impression I have it all figured out and you should follow me. You absolutely should not follow me…my mind is always changing. I am just asking myself…what matters…right now…I’m this place and time…in life…in creativity…what should my mind be full of?

this is art, too

the truth is I can’t keep up.

I don’t know how I use to paint every night when the toddler was a baby. maybe it was just excitement but lately, I can really go ages without picking up a paintbrush. I am sort of relieved that it is not an obsession anymore and also perplexed. I wonder if I am relapsing or maybe it is just that super focus was good for that time in my life. now, things are becoming so different and I just want to give myself a break.

I don’t think I have kept up with anything like I have my painting practice… my creative practice.

there is a part of me that feels very dependent on art(painting, mostly) for feeling good and I wonder if I stop what that would feel like.

would it just be swept up into another hobby?

I have made about a zillion art journals lately ( and put every little art in them)but instead, I found myself scrapping/scraptherapy or writing…

I keep having to remind myself that I have not abandoned my practice.

I have not abandoned myself.

I am very much here.

it just looks different.

this is okay.

I keep having to keep my hands moving.

things are evolving.

these new/old things…

this is my art, too.

morning light


most mornings.

I like to–

to the watch the trees dance. their lives outside my window.

sometimes-

I go out and breathe them in. let the wind cup my face like a long lost lover.

this morning-

I woke up singing a song that I have forgotten the words to…but know the melody by heart. it’s in my head and won’t let go as I sweep the floor.

right now-

talking under my breath.forgetting to put the coffee filter in the pot. the *light knocking on the window.

*the irony of all the paper is not lost on me but they all went to a good home. maybe one day I will write something called in defense of paper or not…

hope in my hands

I’ve been at it again. collecting books from the library that I really have no time to read. I really can’t help it though. stacks of books are like a comfort food for me. I think it’s because growing up I was surrounded by them.

I can remember the first time I went to the public library in my town. I really had no idea what is was…this place full of books. as I was a little kid, I was like a one of those yippie pups, with all the energy and mischief. I remember getting into the librarians stamps amongst other things.

the Texas prisoners built our fancy new library one summer, I think. it’s hard to say because Texas seasons kinda look all alike in my mine minus the trees.

I remember the orange jumpsuits or were they stripped and the chains but maybe that was a movie. isn’t it funny how reality and fiction merge in our memories?

I think the first books I officially checked out where baby-sitters club books. I love the babysitters club. I tried to start one up in my neighborhood but seeing that me and my friends were only on primary school that didn’t go to far. I also loved the sleep over friends and nancy drew.

one day I discovered Virgina Hamilton in a school book and fell in love. it was so nice to see stories with people like me…although I do like to read stories of people who are different…I think that reading those stories young though imparted on me that it’s okay for me to write things. of course that got complicated as I went through school and learned to write for the test and the teacher.

in my heart reading and writing are closely linked and they are both comfort foods. I would not call myself a good reader or writer but I do enjoy doing both as long as I can do them from the heart.

somehow in all this internet stuff that part got lost for me…when you write with one eye towards an audience…it takes some of the life out of for me.

I think it’s because rarely do I write what I know. I write to understand and heal and that is often non-linear and messy…I am not sure if it’s easily digestible.

these days, I roam the library not with not much in mind. I am not a fan of popular books because the hype makes it almost nerve racking to read unless it’s Louise Penny (and then I know I will likely be happy). I am usually just looking for something that catches my eye and my heart.

I don’t read to learn. although that can be useful( and does happen). Mostly, I read to know…to know others and myself…for the stories…to get inside a world language and be inspired to dive deeper into my own world.

I am inspired by pretty covers and a variety of subjects. mostly, though I am inspired by that little girl with wonky plaits and very bad fashion (that was me) pouring over the titles in a small one room library finding out that life was bigger than she ever thought.as she/I huddled her precious pile and loose change to pay her mother’s library fines ( yikes…I guess this trait run in the family) and headed by home..which was complicated place and word at the time.

if I am honest, I forgot all about that library until now. all I remember was the feeling of walking through the back fields of town, to my small world, with hope in my hands.

and the sun was shining, too

I am writing this with a face full of sunshine. it has been an early morning. I actually went to bed at a decent time and woke up with the sunrise and had some dandy blend and a apple. I did some meditation and a bit of sketching. then started listening to a podcast and stitching.

If you know anything about me. you know that my grandma was a great sewer. she got her first sewing machine through a readers digest contest but she was also a prolific hand-sewer.

sewing reminds me of her.

her taking her huge glasses out and asking me to help her thread a needle when she was older. her collection of fabric. her hexagon quilt. her taking in all my clothes because I was so teeny back then.

summer reminds of going down to the creek and fishing and berry picking, peaches and wild grapes.

I feel lonesome for my grandmas garden and her famous greens.

they tore down that old house we lived in

when I saw the spot where it once stood

surrounded by two cedar of Lebanons and circled by pines

my heart hurt just a bit

but I felt my souls sigh too.

so many memories made and invaded in that little house.

it broke us

and gave us life in the same breath.

life is complicated like that.

even now…

I remember the sky swimming in blue and kissing the top

of the trees that were left.

and the sun was shining, too.

thoughts on gathering inspiration and/or supplies with intention

I have taken quite a few Jeanie Oliver classes and in all of them she mentions gathering your inspiration and/or material. it’s always beautiful and interesting to watch but honestly, I never really did it for myself.

lately, I have been trying to simplify my process and work with more intention….so I am (finally) giving the whole gathering thing a real try.

It’s still early days but I can already how honoring what I love ( to create with) and how I want to create feels in my body.

I think that because I came to art via an interest in abstract expressionism and intuitive painting that I was very unattracted to to a more limited palette, limited supplies approach.

for me, part of the excitement in painting is just intuitively reaching for colors and materials and I thought limits would sort of mess with my studio movements.

while the freewheeling approach once worked ( am may again)… a bit of foresight can definitely go a long way in providing space to explore…in times when you don’t have the time or space to work with wild abandon. these are those times

as someone , who is primarily works in sketchbooks, these days, I am no stranger to limits but I have mostly a sort of kitchen sink application with supplies until recently. earlier this summer, I let go of a large portion of my acrylics, they just didn’t bring me joy and the additives were making me sick…

so I have been sort of free-falling when it comes to art because acrylics are a very forging medium. Learning how to get my desired results in watercolor, markers, gouache, ink, colored pencils, graphite and charcoal etc. has been a on-going process. it has also been overwhelming, although that is all self-induced because I felt such an huge gap in my technical skills*. It’s still there but I have been working away at it with slow and deliberate attention.

as someone who loves all the art supplies and to explore having a container for my inspiration has been sanity saving. there will always be new and better but knowing how to really use the things that you have is also amazing. Someone will always be doing something cool and interesting but knowing what you like and the marks you enjoy making is equally as interesting. it is so tempting to think that the supplies make the art…while they shouldn’t hinder, if we are honest a lot of it is just marketing. I am already the artist I need to be…it’s take practice to be the one I want to be. practice. practice. practice.

*this gap has more to do with me and ,u own changing interest than the medium