A while back Robot Johnny did a post called “Do the Shuffle”, where you turn on Itunes and list the first 15 songs it plays regardless of how embarrassing it is. I must say that the shuffle feature has really made my experience of listening to music a beautiful thing. For several reasons, 1) i love to guess who the artist is in the first few seconds (it is challenging at times), 2) I hear songs that i haven’t heard for years and fall in love with them again, 3) every day is something new 4) sometimes the universe knows better what you should listen to.
So I haven’t had the courage to do this before (due to a slight addiction to old showtunes), but here we go…
1. Cry Cry Cry, Martin Sexton
2. I’m only happy when it rains, Garbage
3. Rain and Snow, Be Good Tanya’s
4. Do you Realize?, the Flaming Lips
5. Ripcord, Radiohead
6. By my Side, Ben Harper
7. Always have to steal my kisses, Ben Harper
8. Reconstruction Site, the Weakerthans
9. Planet Telex, Radiohead
10. Good Fortune, PJ Harvey
11. Here Comes Your Man, the Pixies
12. Sega, Ry Cooder & Ali Farka Toure
13. Set the Ray to Jerry, Smashing Pumkins
14. Mockingbirds, Grant Lee Buffalo
15. Kamera, Wilco
(number 16 was “a change is gonna come” by Sam Cooke, drastically different than the rest)
Does anyone else notice that your itunes seems to have a preference for certain bands, (for me Radiohead and PJ Harvey)?
That was more fun and much less embarrasing than expected. We surprisingly avoided the sound of music soundtrack, michael jackson and perry como.
In the woods again. I sit in my favourite spot and wonder if that haze that lingers about is a storm rolling in. Yes, I think it is, the wind picks up and tosses the trees about violently. If I hear thunder I may have to retreat. I sit nestled into a little nook by the water, sheltered by the wind.
My life lately has become largely about purging. I walk around my house contemplating the things I own and questioning my attachment to them. I ask myself what things are most important to me and why. Why do I feel that I will be unsafe without them? I seem most attached to my books, journals and the artwork I have collected over the years. My friend Suzette recently asked me, “Who are you without those things?”
Yes, who am I indeed. If my journals were lost or burned, I would still be the same person, having lived the same life. Sometimes I think clinging to the words, needing to document it all is a way of trying desperately to hold onto a moment, to not let it fade away. Are we not constantly doing this by holding onto things? I read somewhere that when looking at our possessions it is important not to confuse a thing with a person. The item is not the person, nor is it an experience. As humans we have a tendency to do this, as a way of holding onto a memory, quite naturally in fact. When we mourn for someone we hold on dearly to those things that remind us of them, we find comfort in an old sweater, a dusty hat. But at what point does this hold us back from living for now?
And so as I walk through the rooms picking up various items, and asking myself “who am I without this?”. I find the answer is usually something like, “I am still the same person, minus a teapot.” For a long time I have felt that there were a certain amount of possessions one needed to function well and survive, and that once I had all of those things (house, car, furniture, etc.), I would feel completely secure and safe. Now I am starting to see that within that belief there is an inherent mistrust of my ability to deal with things in the moment, to adapt. Feeling safe must come from the inside. There is a great quote to this affect I think by Winston Churchill, something to the affect of, “I never met a man with a fence around his property that felt safer for it.” (this is from memory, don’t quote me on it.)
My experience at the boathouse showed me how little one requires to live well. This is not to say that I want to live a monastic existence. No. There is a balance. I only wish to question my relationship to my things and try to be as honest with myself as I can. Let go of the old to make way for new experiences. One only needs to take a trip to a local dump to contemplate stuff, (something I think everyone should do on a regular basis.) Yes partly to see the environmental impact, but also for the emotional one. How easy it is to become a slave to our things. How shocking it is to see bits and pieces of peoples live just sitting in a large pile. What is it all for? Does nature go through this purging process? Yes, I suppose it does, (forest fires, rotting trees, storms, dead animals).
I think it is time to be moving on, I can smell the rain coming and the wind is picking up again making small waves on the water. No time for a swim today. I have a trout waiting for my dinner and some greens. Blue dragonflies flit about. I got a grass stain on my newly washed white cotton bag.
I walk back along the path, hands outstretched, finger tips brushing and bending the tall stalks of grass as I go.
Really enjoying King-Cat comics by John Porcellino. About little everyday experiences, so beautiful and simple.
“Life is without meaning, we bring meaning to it.” -Joseph Campbell
What colour do I want to put on my canvas today? Red, green, blue, black, orange perhaps? It is up to me.
maybe i will try something different than yesterday, because I already know what yesterday felt like.
yes. something different. something new.
something that scares me. out of my skin.
something that causes me to suck all my breath in for a moment, and hold it. whoooooooosh. exhale.
something that makes me want to run. bursting.
do i dare disturb the universe?
because i already know what yesterday felt like.
today i begin again with a different colour.
love is a brand new box of crayons waiting to be opened.
“There are three things important in life: honesty, which means living free of the cunning of the mind, compassion, because if we have no concern for others, we are monsters; and curiosity, for is the mind is not searching, it is dull and unresponsive.” -Beatrice Wood
The countdown is on, three days left for my deadline, (not including minor revisions or cover art). I am ready to be finished. Months of not being able to do other creative work has been very difficult. I have always been the kind of person who moves back and forth between projects, or who will on the spur of the moment decide I want to knit a pair of green socks. My garden is suffering immensely, i cannot wait to get out and dig in the dirt. I have a few other book concepts that are just waiting to spew out of me and on to an editors desk. But more than anything I would like a lot of time spent doing nothing. In that category are:
-going for the paper on a Saturday morning and reading it slowly over tea
-long lazy walks in the woods, looking for edible plants
-riding my bike to the next town for groceries and red wine
-swimming in the pond
-watching movies on my front porch
-eating local produce, cooking
-going to the farmers market
I am also moving through a time of great change, in the next week several of my closest friends are moving away, (they are pursuing new projects and avenues in distant lands). And while I am so happy for them and their new adventures I prepare for some sadness, (and a bit of lonliness too).
Dancing around my studio this morning to the Be Good Tanya’s, song the littlest bird. “I love you so dearly, I love you so fearlessly. I wake you up early in the morning just to tell you I got the wandering blues.” I made myself a deal yesterday, if I finished colouring 10 pages then I could go for a bike ride today. I must trick myself with little rewards these days. I laughed at this one, instead of ice cream or wine I get a long ride down a dirt road. HOORAY!!!
I bought a tiny journal when i was in CA, I wish now I had bought dozens of them. It is one and a half by two inches, and has a string so you can hang it around your neck. I find it quite handy for when I go on walks (or bike rides) and don’t want to carry my heavy journal with me. Perfect for jotting down ideas, lists, notes, quotes, concepts you don’t want to forget. Not so great for sketching, maybe tiny sketches.
and so I am off for a quick mini adventure.
“Social pressure is the enemy.” -Joseph Campbell
A day of tying up loose ends, little things that need doing. Replacing cards from the wallet that got stolen while I was away, I believe while J and I were having dinner on a patio. I decided to make myself a new wallet out of old magazines and packing tape, since there is nowhere to purchase a wallet in town here, (instructions to follow). I did some laundry, had tea with Stu, Esther and Oscar, ate Chevdo, tried to get back into the colouring I am doing on the book. As always I am finding it hard to get motivated after a trip. But I’m sure the deadline will soon whip me into shape. If I can manage six pages a day I’m laughing. I am stocked up on tea, licorice, and new music so I am good for a week of late nights.
I spent a couple of days in Vancouver with my sister Jen last week. I had forgotten how much I missed her, how much fun we have together. My sister has this amazing knack for connecting with almost every human she comes into contact with. She has been like this since she was very little. It is so beautiful to watch. While having breakfast in a soulless Holiday Inn one morning she completely captured the attention of our waiter just by her ability to be in the moment and not take life too seriously. (I don’t know how to explain it better, she is not overly friendly but instead can make a stranger warm to her in seconds with her humour.) When she went to the bathroom the waiter said to me, “She is amazing!” Yes she is I replied. I told him about how I took her to see Howard Jones when she was only 13, and how in a matter of minutes she had made friends with our entire section, and knew what everyone was about and where they were from. My little sister, she has a gift. Life is more fun with her. She did this dance while we were waiting for the people mover. Hard to describe but basically she puts her arm up and shimmies and tries to non-chalantly check to see if her deodorant is working adequately. It makes me pee every time.
“we’re going to have to get more and more courage to really go along with the principles, and have less and less fear of upsetting the tradition and the game, and be less and less afraid of those who are afraid.” -Buckminster Fuller
The following will be included in the new book, though I wrote it a while ago. It is quite a skill to apply the tape nice and flat, but it’s gets easiery the more you do it.