Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I've started art journaling

I like to go to Barnes & Noble on my free nights, and have a coffee (or caramel latte) while I read inspirational artsy books. One recent visit took me to a publication in the magazine rack. (It looked and felt like a soft-cover book, but it was in the magazine rack, so I guess it's technically a magazine?)

Anyway, the publication is called Art Journaling, published by Somerset Studio. There are a lot of books and magazines out there about art journaling, altered books, and collage, but this one spoke to me so powerfully and directly that I just had to take it home. It has been a wonderful resource, and I think it's because it not only talks about the technical side of doing art journaling, but also the emotional side. It addresses for me the stumbling blocks that had, until now, kept me from diving into collage or mixed-media art.

I will try and see if I can put it into my little store (the one here on the blog), but if I can't get that going, here is a link to it:

What is amazing is that when I Googled "Art Journaling Somerset Studio," I got the page I just shared with you. And THAT wasn't even the book I bought! So apparently there are MORE ISSUES of this amazing book! Oh my. Somebody stop me before I spend all my money....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My first public poem

Yesterday, out in front of the art museum on a gorgeous sunny Saturday with spring starting to make itself known, I started to wish I could write poetry. But I always seem to have this blockage. And suddenly it dawned on me. My wish has always been to write poetry....not to write GOOD poetry! LOL!! It's just been my perfectionistic voice that put up all these barriers to my attempting it. A familiar feeling that "others" can do it but not me. What garbage! I am the wordsmith! Always have been. So I decided that if I didn't really care if my poetry was any good, but that instead I wanted to honor and play with words and let them OUT of my head,then I would declare myself a poet. So today I declared myself a poet. And then wrote a big long poem and didn't care if it was a "real" poem or any good or anything. It was just what came out. Here it is:

"I am a wordsmith,"
I always say,
But a wordsmith wouldn't abuse her words
by keeping them so tightly under wraps.

I always keep the gate up
like they're going to gallop off
and embarrass me.

I wait until they're lined up
like prim girls in party dresses,
legs twined at the frilled ankles,
patent-leather shoes shining, squeaking uncomfortably as they rub.
Little halo-crowns gleaming on their
little-girl heads. The words are me.

Do you love me now?
They ask to the empty room,
the audience having died,
the clothes no longer fitting,

the lonely emptiness being the most palpable
and important thing that's left.

(Ashamed but only seen by herself, she
takes off the ill-fitting shame.
Drops it in a heap. Steps out.
Brushes off. Throws open the window and leans out,
squinting at the brightness.)

In the beginning was the word
and the word was good
and the word was God.

Below the window, the little girl sees
the words of others gamboling down the street,
shining and twirling and establishing themselves

for the words are our thoughts
and they must be free
because thoughts
and words
are what we build lives with.
It's what the world is made of.

Without my words,
I'm not quite real.
And without air and sun my words die.
And so will I.

(So the little girl ventures
down the steps of the empty house.
Out the front door.
She reaches into her pocket
for a handful of tattered, rumpled words and

flings them to the wind.....)


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Writing myself a new day

Today has within it the seeds of possibility.

A blank canvas, my day can have an image of great beauty painted on it. My day is a white journal page, and the thoughts I write on it can speak of miracles.

But fears bay at my doorstep like eager hounds.

I want them to go away, so I'm tempted to let them in and give them something.

They're louder and louder. My legs and hands go numb as I think of the mistakes in my past, the mistakes built into my family system for generations. Like a tiny rocket, I need powerful boosters to escape the downward pull. The atmosphere here is heavy with regret.

But then I remember my metaphor of The Footbridge from an article I'm writing:

"Imagine crossing a footbridge. It’s not so hard, really. You just put one foot in front of the other. Even if it’s as old and ratty as the one Indiana Jones always seems to be crossing, you hold on. You worry, you persist, and after a little creaking and swaying, you get there.
Now imagine you’re crossing a footbridge that doesn’t yet exist. You’re building it as you walk. Each plank appears only as you step down. You have to take it on faith that the bridge will be there when you shift your weight with each footfall.
Now imagine that you don’t even know if the other end of the bridge is attached at the destination you’ve chosen, or whether you’re going to step off it to discover you’re ten miles south of where you wanted to be.

That’s how it is to try and be the good mother you never had."

I realize it's not just a metaphor about parenting. It's about creating a life when I have no clue how.

A thousand metaphors sing to me from faiths of others: "leap and the road will appear; a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; today is the first day of the rest of your life..."

My heart aches, wondering if I can be forgiven for my mistakes. Wondering why I should believe I deserve second chances.

But that's a story for another day.

As the words flow from me this morning, I realize it's suddenly quiet. The hounds are gone, at least for now.

Time to pour my coffee and start the day.