April 11th, 2005
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The last few months have seen me contemplating some big changes in my life. Most recently, a possible move to the west coast. On one hand the idea of making a move is terrifying and overwhelming, how does one deal with all of the threads of a life? How does one let go of an old life, a home, a country, friends. But then there are thoughts of something new, a new space to explore, new friends to make, new opportunities with a career, growth, forward movement. Despite all of the fears. A long time ago I decided that I would not take the easy route with things, and for the most part I have kept up with this. Yes, there are times when I feel myself wanting to back down from challenges, but I come up to meet them again, and I do. Never really knowing for sure what the “right” choice is. There is no right choice.
I wrote to a friend this morning, “In some rather dark moments I have got on my knees and said to the universe, “Tell me what to do! I have no idea what course I should take!!!” I can be extemely impatient at times, and want an answer NOW. But it does not work that way. I know that it is much better to sit, and listen, and let the answer ‘come in’. The heart knows, but we don’t trust it most of the time. Instead of “what do I do?”, the question might better be, “how do I trust my heart?”
How indeed.
A beautiful thing that is happening because of this is that I am contemplating all of the things in my life. The stuff. What does one really need to survive? How much of it we carry around in our lives, at what cost? Many things I keep out of habit, because I have always had them and not because they are adding to my life in any way. I am forced to look at what I am willing to let go of and what I am not. What owns me? What is holding me back? What do I really need. I think back to my stay at the boathouse a few years ago. A small one room shack from the 1920′s that had everything in it one needed to live well. It was incredibly sparse. The main source of entertainment was a pair of binoculars, used to peer out at the ocean where at any moment one could spot seals, fishermen, large boats, birds, etc. A bed, a toaster oven, some dishes, a library.
And so a list begins. I am adding to it as I go (excuse the ink blot, my pen leaked).

added to that…
-some favourite clothes
-cooking tools
-a few dishes
-a teapot
-a stove of some kind
-a table and chairs
-a bed
-bed linens
-a container to hold flowers
-a good pair of shoes (maybe a few of these)
-a bag to carry things
-a bike
-a way to wash your clothes + clothesline
- a way to wash your body (bath/shower)
-a bathroom
-cleaning tools

April 8th, 2005
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“There is a deep wide rich world in which to travel and in which to have one’s senses opened and reopened without limitation.” -Rolf Fehlbaum
The sun is out. I am going to go out and smell the earth. drive with the windows open. turn the music up and sing along.
I want to delve into little comforts, things that make me feel good.
In the aformentioned interview Maira posed the question,

April 7th, 2005
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I really enjoyed this interview with Maira Kaman (thanks to Julie for the link). In light of what we have been discussing here lately…
“My point of everything I do is to get it wrong, not to get it right, I would be very unhappy if I got things right. And I don’t want to get better I want to get worse. I wanna get things wrong, I wanna lose perspective. Somehow I’m happiest when I’m surprised and it’s not what I thought it to be.”
Try and screw it up on purpose!
I like seeing them altogether in a group.

April 6th, 2005
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Oh m’dears it is true that i am growing and shifting and breaking down the very safety net that I had created. tried to create. Tis a beautiful thing this. I am most intrigued by the last comment regarding moving from illustrator to artist. This is most definitely something that I have been dealing with on an ongoing basis. I believe I will always be an illustrator at heart, not all art needs to have a deep conceptual message. Sometimes it is best to draw a flower for flower’s sake. Because one felt the need to draw it. Sometimes that can be a much more important statement than something that attempts to change the world.
These collages I have been doing lately have been so freeing for many reasons. While I am at some level attempting to make a pleasing image, I am also learning to let go of doing it perfectly, letting accidents happen, and at times trying to do something that maybe I don’t like all that much. Yesterday I did one that was all black. As an artist and a human my goal is to speak in my own voice, not the voice that is influenced or prodded by others. I think of a quote by Vita Sackville West,
“I have finally begun (at forty) to say something in my own voice.”
Yes. Yes Vita. This is the stuff I am talking about. This is good stuff that comes out of the deep pits of our bellies. This is what I am aiming for.
My mentor Linda Montgomery once told me that we go through a period of re-evaluation every seven years. A time to look at what we have done, what isn’t working for us, what we want out of our life. Sometimes we do it voluntarily, sometimes we are thrown into it by a trauma of some sort. Either way change happens, resist though we may.
My writing about it here is a symptom of an exiting out of the darkness.
I thank you for all your kind words and emails, they are the little bits of light that remind me that I am not alone.
Will you enter into the journey with me?

April 5th, 2005

The talented, inspiring (and honest) Christine Miller sent me this quote yesterday,
“Only when we expose ourselves over and over again to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”
I promptly printed it out and glued it into my journal. The last few months I have been going through some difficult things in my personal life. The details of which I have not written about here except in a rather veiled manner. But going these things has had the effect of throwing my world into a kind of tailspin, everything that I thought I knew has been questioned. Maybe you have noticed the changes. Big things, questioning of the journey, taking new directions, WHAT THE HELL AM I REALLY DOING WITH MY WORK/LIFE? What do I have to say?
I started out on a certain path a while ago and everything worked well for a long time, but over time I started to see that I had created a perfect facade over all of it. I designed the perfect life but was now trying to fit everything into it, making it be what I wanted even when maybe it wasn’t. Never really getting to any real depth, scratching the surface of things but afraid to go any deeper for fear of people not liking me. I wrote about having ugly parts, but never really showed them for what they were, (painting them in bright colors so they didn’t look as dark.) But after going through a large amount of pain I am starting to see a new person emerge, someone different. Without the facade. I wrote to Christine because she has been going through a massive change as well with life and art, and witnessing it was so beautiful. I felt not so alone. It is her honesty that has given me the courage to write this here. In my email to her I wrote:
So scary to not know who the new self is, (my critic screams ‘what if you are screwing up? what if the new self is not a good person, not a happy person? the world will not like you anymore.”) No, the new self will be a different person and not a fabricated one. But I also completely relate to the numbness, there is the temptation to feel bitter (I deleted ‘a little’ before the previous word), and wounded by my experiences, be the victim so to speak.
I have nothing to lose now. The ego is down. I am cracked open like an egg (sometimes an oozing mess on the floor). I have not written these things before, I’ve always had to show people how capable I was.
Maybe this is what maturity feels like. No one can hurt me anymore, I have already experienced the worst of it and that pain cannot be matched. I want more from my relationships with people and the only way to do that is “expose ourselves”, it feels almost like a literal exposure, I am stripping down. I have spent most of my life guarding myself from everyone. I am ready to try something different. Ha. And that feels really good, (terrifying but good.)
Can we actually go there completely?
I have the sense that if we do both as artists and humans that we will be unstoppable.

April 4th, 2005

“The biggest force within an artist is this restlessness for the work that lies just over the lip of consciousness.” -Jim Harrison
words are slow in coming today. they are stuck to the hard surface of the white glue whose container I left open yesterday after doing some collages.
alas. there should be a word for the feeling of disappointment you get when you realize you left your glue open, or that you forgot to clean a paintbrush and it is now a dry hardened lump. happens quite a bit in my world.
how is it that an artist can never seem to create the things that exists in one’s head? As Harrison suggests this is the very thing that urges us on. This thing that we are reaching towards every day. I liken it to an aphasia of sorts, I feel like I know what I want to say yet I can’t find the words (or in the case of painting, the imagery). I suppose this is something we must get used to, this inability to say exactly what we want with a work. It feels like it is right there sitting beyond the reach of my outstretched fingers.
And instead of feeling frustrated I will try to be grateful for it. It is the thing that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. To try again.
I wake up, I make a painting.
I try to make it look like what I see in my head. It doesn’t. so I mess with it a bit more.
Sometimes I like it, sometimes not. If i like it i feel like the greatest artist in the world, brilliant and powerful. If not I feel like a hack, a failure, a fraud, that I should just quit now and leave it to others who have real talent.
I go for walks and read and eat. Sleep.
I wake up and try it all again.
The beauty is in that restlessness.

April 2nd, 2005
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