May 6th, 2006

I write with a new pen bought at an art supply store. Today I took my time wandering around and testing the various things, feeling the texture of the erasers, inspecting journal bindings, making circles on a white pad with a yellow marker. I find myself smiling at the different shapes of ink bottles, I like the green one with the black chinese writing the best. But I don’t buy it as I have enough ink at home, even though I want to.
I am alone for a couple of days. It is the weekend of “the final shave”. bare skin, cheeks that haven’t seen light. My husband has been filming a documentary about nine men who stop shaving for six months. I look forward to the return but for now I will enjoy my alone time, (and work on my taxes).
Tonight I will enjoy Maltese dinner (as taught to me by my friend Steve who is maltese), which consists of tuna in olive oil, boiled new potatoes. some form of steamed greens (rainbow chard), sliced tomatoes and bread. It is one of my favourite meals, (my husband is not a fan so i have it when he is gone.)
Currently I sit on the front porch of a cafe sipping green tea and eating an oatmeal raisin cookie (my current fixation, I can’t get enough of them). A man in a navy blazer talks on a phone and sips white wine. A group of women at a corner table giggle intermittently, one has beautiful curly blond/grey hair and intense eyes. I secretly long the join their lively conversation. An older couple sit quietly eating matching ceasar salads with bread. Few words are exchanged. The woman has the eyes of an apple doll, sweet, yet resigned.
I have a long (eight inch) golden thread attached to the blue button on the left sleeve of my jean jacket. A remmnant of one of my worldly adventures (as opposed to the non-worldy ones). I watch it blow in the breeze. I like it there. I want to see how long it will last.
I return home to a quiet house, the men have left bits of themselves scattered through the rooms, which comforts me somehow. an unneeded tripod, a suitcase too big for the woods, an empty equipment bag. I miss them as I unpack my groceries. It is so quiet it is as if time has stopped. I can tell that lots of men were in my house because the toilet seat is in the upright position.
I put the potatoes on to boil and sit reading. This is the time of day when the sun hits my bookshelf just so and my favourite books become illuminated, as if they are the most important things on the planet.

May 2nd, 2006

stories of warm weather and after dinner walks. of massive rose blooms in every corner of this town, I have never seen so many blossoms in one place. everywhere the air is scented with jasmine. the streets have come alive with spring and bodies that have been indoors for too long. the warm air invites them out for dinners on patios, wine and conversation. laughter over the din of cell phone ring tones.
overhead there are cries of white owls, heard but not seen. except.. for an occasional glimse once the sun has set. owl spotters have good eyes. mine are not so good. i scan the treetops anxiously. hoping to spot one of these incredible animals. their secrecy makes a sighting more of a gift.
there is the story of new book deals in the works. of negotiations and papers floating about my room in a flurry. papers with complicated wording and numbers. the opposite of creativity. all business. the details are secret. for now. are you curious?
there are travels across mexico with the whisky priest and Graham Greene. white knuckled scenes. waiting to be found out, fighting with a dog for food, searching for red wine, praying. the intense heat one of the main characters, (appropriate reading for this part of the world, today it will be 90). i think he is one of the greatest story tellers who ever lived.
will my memories of california be marked by the books I have read here?
there is the story of having too many big decisions to make in one week. of new directions and not knowing which are the right ones. I spose i should take the word ‘right’ out of that last sentence. i ask the universe for a big noticable sign but see none. i guess it is left up to me to decide. us. back and forth, back and forth.
back and forth.
(*this image was created in my local bank. they have a stamp pad for finger printing, a kind of invisible ink that doesn’t stain your fingers. so i use it to my advantage every time I go in. ed emberley would love it.)

April 25th, 2006

(for lori g.)
ironically, on the days when i most feel like my work is shit, or that everyone else is doing it better, or that writing a blog is a waste of time, or that i feel unsucessful, i will receive the most thoughtful sincere, heartfelt and moving emails about how something I wrote (or the fact I continue to write) has affected they way someone looks at their life. and all at once i am humbled and grateful and rejuvenated. coincidence?
i don’t believe in coincidences. i think it is the universe showing me it knows more than i do.
how often have i wished that all my money worries, life worries, relationship worries, health worries, (insert random worry here _______) would disappear in a flash so i could live and work happily doing only the stuff that i love.
and yet i also know that there is something about learning to survive that is helping me grow. and that contrast makes life interesting. living in that tension.
often i worry that something will happen and i will not be able to make my art again. and then i think about that really hard for a moment and start to laugh. that is not who i am. my whole life is a creative process. every piece of it. i know that deep down.
there is a quote from picasso that says something to the affect of if he were imprisoned and had nothing to create with he would make a painting by licking the dust (or is it dirt?) off the floor of his cell. (I am paraphrasing quite a bit but you get the idea.)
yes it is the ego that makes us fear failure and causes us to want to compete, but it is the soul that actually drives us to create.
and we never have to worry about that going away.

April 21st, 2006

I started teaching a drawing class last night. I brought in several favourite books with different drawing styles. I wanted to bring all my books at once but my bike was buckling with the weight. So I had to select just a few. Five a week from now on.
As I was showing them I found it hard to contain my excitment at each artists various processes, methods, use of line. The more I spoke the more excited I became to sit down and do some drawings myself. It just reminded me how much I am doing exactly the thing that I am meant to do. I could look at ink lines forever it seems. Nothing moves me more that a pen line with a watercolor wash. As I turned the pages showing the simplest of drawings I asked, ‘have you ever seen anything so wonderful?’ Good drawings come from the inside, reflecting the artist’s state of mind or sense of being. It has nothing to do with technical ability or amount of detail. A simple line can evoke emotion.
among my favourites:
a red sun lithograph by miro, in “drawing the sun” by Bruno Munari
peach blossoms done in pen with a light wash from a beautiful new book, “A Year in Japan” by Kate T. Williamson
the quick pen scratches of Maira Kalman, excerpted in “drawing from life” by Jennifer New
a crunchy loaf of bread done in pen, from “the creative license” by Danny Gregory
Sometimes when I teach there is so much I want to say, it all comes out in a passionate arm waving flurry. And yet when it was time to become quiet, when we sat down to do some drawing of our own I was met with the jarring absence of noise. Just peaceful silence with the sound of a pen scratching. and I realized how beautiful that absence was too. There is also a lot to be learned from the quiet.
it is the best form of meditation, sitting with a pen and an eye bent on paying attention.
“to pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ~mary oliver

April 19th, 2006

106. Look up. Study the tops of things for one day. (trees, buildings, etc.)
107. Try to determine how many steps you take everyday.
108. Go to a part of your town you’ve never been before. Document it.
109. Write as small as possible.
i am craving darjeeling. that is my quest for today.
i would like to find my scissors, which I’ve been looking for all morning.
the sun feels good, i sit in the garden, filling envelopes with wallet orders, later I plan to sketch.
a place i like to visit.
a good book I picked up for $2 (a 1946 edition with a beautiful cover). I am a few pages away from finishing my other book, so I can start this one.
a quote…
“So–when was it–I, drawn like a blown cloud, couldn’t stop dreaming of roaming, roving the coast up and down.” ~basho

April 19th, 2006

I used this one this morning after sending out a manuscript. I found an acorn and put it in a small leather pouch made by my dear friend Pixie.

April 17th, 2006

seen above: the portable monetary unit
two designs available (shipping included). I have a limited number for sale in the shop. They are also available directly from Poketo. (minus the secret note).
due to technical difficulties the radio interview with Jennifer Louden did not happen over the weekend. I’ll let you know when the new time will be, (there will also be a podcast version of it.)
also: there’s a new playscene available from Mudpuppy Press (based on the theatre). This was so much fun to do! (note: I don’t make any money on the sale of these, but I do think they’re a great thing.)
my husband was interviewed for wonkavision magazine about adfree blog. read the entire interview here.

April 14th, 2006

This sunday (april 16th) at 8 am PST, I will be interviewed by the talented Jennifer Louden on her radio show “Louden Clear” on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 112. (I am not sure if it is live or not but I thought I would pass the word on.) I’ve been enjoying listening to her podcasts, find them here: loudenmouth
*there has been a bit of a delay in sending out the most recent batch of period charts (due to mail problems in my town and my being under the weather) I apologize for the delay, but know that they are on their way (I promise).

April 12th, 2006

sometimes all it takes is a few minutes.
i had a bit of time yesterday to spend at my favourite bookstore in town. i like to find a few books first then sit cross legged on the floor in the corner. i pulled one on gertrude stein and spent the next half hour travelling around europe, having drinks with hemingway, and going shopping in small french villages with alice b. toklas. I fell into the photos of french cafes, cozy art filled rooms with overstuffed furniture and lots of books. I love reading about how gertrude decided to cut her hair off, leaving her even more masculine looking than she was previously, (how daring for the time), and how she continued to write after being so heavily criticized by so many in the writing world. a true revolutionary. her writing style so strange and simple, she seemed to love the rythym of words, often repeating them over and over as if in a song.
a half hour was enough to recharge me after feeling tired and winded from this nasty cold and a hectic week. I dreamt of foreign vistas and good conversations over wine. of revolutions. and strong women. and love. and love. and love.

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