October 25th, 2005
riding around on my green bike I eat the licorice pieces that i found spilled in my bag, (first brushing the lint off). I wonder if I will associate the taste of licorice with my bike from now on. This bike has become my portable world here in this new place. It is my constant companion used to hold groceries, flowers, books, water, journal, snacks, and mail. I ride through the campus full of students and learning and the smell of school. books and pencils. i think about little things I will leave there, tiny art pieces for those who walk around with open eyes.
today I have a meeting at the university and then I am off to the library to find books on mr. munari.
in january i will be teaching a couple of classes. on drawing. and one on journaling. i am excited because I will be doing all of the exercises too. i read somewhere that the root word of the word ‘educate’ is ‘edu’ which means to pull, or to ‘bring out’ that which is already there or that which is latent, (I can’t find the source for this offhand.) i like this image and remember how i felt during classes with my favourite teachers in art school. many days I would literally run to the bookstore to find books on things I couldn’t wait to read about. the teacher’s passion seemed contagious. and so I will share my books and excitement with the students, and I will show them how much i love to draw and write in my journals.
how there is nothing in the world better than to sit and watching the ink coming out of the pen.
to look at the small details.
to watch people.
to be your own research project.
to devour the world with your eyes.
we will see what emerges.
also enjoying the work of Marti Guixe.
October 20th, 2005
i don’t know what i am craving today,
but it is something…food, adventure, new clothes?…
maybe it is a deep red coat with embroidery on the sleeves
a coat that speaks loudly when it enters a room, i like clothes like that.
a coat that asks you to go out on adventures together.
where does one find such a coat?
you can’t go out looking for it, you can only find it by happenstance
while walking down a street looking at the cracks in the sidewalk.
all of my clothes have magical qualities,
special powers sewn into the linings.
these clothes are even harder to come by.
Today is a two sweater day.
I pull on my most powerful sweater of all, the off white one that was crocheted by my mom.
I remember watching in amazment as she made the strange balls on the cuffs and collar using the small grey hook. the balls look like large mints someone has glued on.
she wore this sweater for most of my childhood and now I know why…it is surprisingly comfy.
and infused with secret warming properties that warm the wearer instantly.
you are never cold in this sweater.
that is how all sweaters should be.
October 12th, 2005
“The universe picks me up and drops me off without a map. I stand there on a road somewhere outside of any place I have been and just start walking home again.” ~Jann Arden
Reading this quote yesterday gave me a moment of intense relief, like taking a deep breath (after which you realize you have needed to breathe for a while but didn
October 10th, 2005
October 3rd, 2005
“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair, we’d never have a friendship, we’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well that’s just nonsense! You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build wings on the way down.” ~Ray Bradbury
I must have sturdy solid wings by now, I feel like I’ve been jumping constantly in the last two years, in the realms of love, career, friendship, home. Somedays I still find myself spinning from it. Currently I seem unsure of how to be, who I am in this new place. There are no routines developed yet, none of the habits that create a sense of familiar. Even the comforting things feel different (watching movies, reading). So I give myself the time to adapt, and try not to push myself too much.
Today I worked at a couple of morning collages which felt forced, nothing flowed, much like the feeling of sandpaper moving accross cement.
I’ve felt these things many times in the past and I know by now that it will pass. I know that at some moment when I least expect it I will become consumed with an idea or a project and throw myself into it with wild abandon, stopping only to sleep or to respond to the jarring ring of the phone.
But for now I partake in the simple things. Riding bikes through the incredible vegetable gardens in Village Homes, gasping at all the varieties of flowers. Fuscia zinneas, purple morning glories, the strange yellow blossoms of okra (one of my favourite vegetables). We sat watching the rooster (Fabio) with his wild feather hat act menancingly protective of the females in the coop, picked fresh figs off a tree and ate them (the best fig I’ve ever had, this place will spoil you on produce forever.) Picked some tiny red apples and met a grey and white speckled cat friend named Oslo.
September 28th, 2005
It is time for me to sit down and write when I feel overwhelmed with things. Returned home last night and have barely had a minute to breathe and sink back into my skin. After a week of chaos and excitement I find myself craving time alone, I need to be able to let ideas come in again, go back to my own “work”. I am not the girl who likes to go to parties and make connections.
Our last night was spent in Joshua Tree, the perfect quiet and surreal ending to an otherwise magical week. On first glance a common reaction to this place might be, “this is different”. Huge rock formations that look like something out of the Flinstones lay scattered in massive piles all throughout. To be immersed in a desert landscape full of wildlife and foliage so foreign to me, it was not unlike being thrown into a Doctor Seuss book. Strangely bent trees with ‘pom poms’ on the tops, a bush we dubbed ‘the fall apart bush’, (when you picked it, it would disintegrate in your hands), tiny lizards scurried beneath our feet, large eared bunnies munching on leaves by the dozens, a black furry tarantula walking casually five feet in front of us while we ate (me yelling “oh my god!”), a lone coyote slithers by us in the darkness. It all felt like a dream, yet none of it scary, quite peaceful in fact. When I got up to pee in the night I gasped out loud at the view, millions of stars with the Joshua Trees silouetted against the bright sky. I wanted to stay up all night, to take it all in. That feeling of not wanting to close your eyes for fear that you will miss something beautiful. Words do not do it justice, trust me when I say it is spectacular.
The places we visit change us forever. Joshua Tree is a part of me now.
I come home to a comfy bed and a shower, to my desk, to a kitchen that likes to be used, the things that bring me back to myself. I come home also to overwhelming things, the financial struggles (bills), rejection letters, pressures & obligations, the things that shake our confidence. And somewhere in between I must find a balance. It amazes me that after many years of being an artist there is still the wild swinging of confidence, one week you are powerful and charged, on top of the world and your craft, the next you feel plagued with feelings of hopelessness and despair, is my work of value? will anyone recognize my talents? Not surprisingly these latter feelings usually follow some kind of rejection, I start to worry that I may not survive, wonder how is it that other artists seem to do it so effortlessly, (which is actually funny since I seem to others to be one of those artists who appears to be doing this much of the time). Ebb and flow m’dears. That fly on the wall will tell you the truth.
The creative life is one of great contrast.
It requires great stillness and listening. When i become overwhelmed i am too impatient to sit and listen, or i don’t wish to hear what is being said. Instead I cling to the thing that I want so badly, not open to the alternate path that the universe is trying to show me. Sometimes our ego impedes our forward movement. A fact that I don’t like to admit. I am afraid of not being able to survive if I don’t sell my stuff, of falling into financial ruin, of becoming homeless, of not being a sucessful artist. This does not make for good work, or honest work.
Give me my paint box and journal, that is where the REAL work begins. The stuff that no one sees.
The Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work.
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
-Wendel Berry (collected poems)
September 17th, 2005
Some days it feels as though there is too little to write about, other days too much. Today is more of the latter and time is dwindling down. and so I start…
…my beloved cat Doobie passed away, a ripe old age of 17 years. He was healthy and happy right up until the very end and went as peacefully as one can. I will miss his loud purring, kissing and rubbing my face on the top of his fuzzy head, the smell of his fur (it was sweet and cuddly), napping with him.
…almost a year ago now my husband and his friend Mike started dancing on street corners. What started out as a joke, quickly became a life changing and inspiring exercise in ‘letting go’ and being in the moment. They filmed the entire process which resulted in Mike putting together a short film entitled, “the winter of the dance”. a few short weeks ago we were notified that it was accepted into the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films. In a mad rush we have had to assemble promotional materials, postcards, website and posters for the event (which starts on Tuesday). The most interesting part of the story perhaps is that we have no idea what we are doing never having done this before. We are unaware of any of the rules, protocol, concepts relating to a film festival of this size and so we fly by the seat of our pants. You can read an article published in the Sacremento News and Review about the project here.
…a few days ago I had my first experience dancing in public (though admittedly it was after dinner so there were few bystanders to my relief) and found it to be amazingly freeing and life affirming. The process is simple, cd/mp3 player, great music & some headphones, move your body intuitively to the sound. As a life long dancer I find this method of dancing (free form) to be the one that gets us closest to experiencing the ‘joy of existence’ directly. I found myself laughing and jumping and running. Something that must be experienced to be understood (otherwise it just sounds like the dancer is insane, which is actually the point of the film, why is it that when one dances in public they are considered ‘strange’ or unbalanced?). I think my husband and Mike have caught on to something that has the potential to change the world. A revolution of dance. We will be dancing in public for the festival. Stay tuned.
September 13th, 2005
I have not been doing much drawing, or writing, or painting. Little bits here and there. But instead giving myself time to ease into this new life. Though I have a couple of illustration deadlines to keep me slightly in the world, I am enjoying giving myself time to just be in a new place, observe it, notice the nuances.
I will admit to not wanting to write here because of recent occurences, I felt a bit weighted by it all. But I do not wish people’s opinions of me to influence my art. I have always like the saying, “what you think of me is none of my business”. And so I will carry on writing what is in my heart and sharing the bits and pieces of my life here when I am moved to do so.
I am not used to having access to things. I still find it strange that i can go to a grocery store whenever I want, (something most people take for granted I suppose.) But in Flesherton one has to drive quite a distance for anything, (at least ten miles for the closest not-so-good market and forty minutes to a good store). Here I can ride my bike anywhere, to anything it seems. So very different. Great for my love of cooking and books, not so great from a monetary perspective. Thousands of books at my fingertips anytime I want, (luckily there are a couple of great used and discounted book stores). I have treated myself to a few new things…a work desk (the kind with work horses so you can tilt the top if you need to), new red shoes (perfect for riding around town), a book of poetry by Mary Oliver, and four earthy green plates. Many of the furnishings have been found on the roadside, a retro wooden coffee table, an art and crafts dresser, a beautiful orange metal office chair from the fifties, a metal lamp, and yesterday a rusted metal plant holder for the garden. I also bought some chalkboard paint and have been painting found pieces of wood with it (I like artwork that changes). My greatest idea thus far was hanging my journals on the wall with clothespins and tacks, I can change the pages when I get tired of them.
other things i am not used to…
…being able to plant seeds and flowers now, (arugula, collard greens, cilantro).
…the drastic change in temperatures (i find myself changing clothes several times a day. right now my nose is running it is so chilly but later I will be in tshirt and skirt.)
…the different kinds of plants in the garden. (the roses are still blooming)
…at the food co-op the other day they whole store sang happy birthday to one of the employees, (it made me cry, i have never had that experience in a store).
…mexican food, taqueria’s are as popular here as donut shops are in the east. (I had my first chicken burrito the other day.) I am learning bits of spanish here and there and enjoying it quite a bit.
…olive trees, what a strange new smell.
…the perfume of bay laurel and eucalyptus in the air.