Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Precious Object!

I decided not to hide it on the back of my bedroom door, or in a drawer, or rolled up in some hidden space, but to put it on my study wall, right where I see it when I come in my front-door - and where visitors will see it, and I am beginning to believe it, really believe it. There are butterflies, birdies, roses, stars, feathers, and even a peacock in there! I was very inspired by Wenda's post about loving herself, and felt this is a step towards having the courage to list all the things I might love about myself too. There is a big gap between the idea I have about this (I'm well able to appreciate myself), and the actual feelings that come up when called to do it in any way publicly.

Starting Week 8, I find there are themes there that are very relevant for me again, so will be trying to work on all the tasks in the course of the week. (Is it Tuesday already? Where did that time go?)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Week 7 Check-in -- Connections

Strangely, strangely, during the week, I wasn't consciously aware of what the theme of this week's chapter is, but it seems to have simply permeated my life and AW activity all through the week, anyway. - Perhaps not in quite the way Julia means it, but it was a week of connection and connectivity for me, and the process of writing my check-in has led to more connections. The web is external and internal too, perhaps.

Morning Pages Yes, I did them seven days, in the morning. It's my routine. Get up, put the kettle on, extract my journal and pen from their drawer, put them by the couch in my study (love using that grown-up word for my little book-filled space) with my spectacles, settle the dog down beside me... go make that decaff coffee, return, and within minutes of feet touching floor, pen is on page. Go! I don't know what I wrote a lot of the time, so those questions about did you do this or that are redundant at the moment, with not rereading. Have I been daydreaming creative risks? - Well, yes, I know I've given a lot of ruminating time to plans to travel in May, and that probably qualifies, and did feature, I'm sure, in my pages.

Artist Date Hmm. Think I already posted about outings with my sister, and feeling they fed my artist (and hers) good and proper! - Oddly, noticed that Kara also had her sister along on her AD, and then, this morning realised --- Well, it's about Connection, isn't it? Connecting with other artists? And my sister is an artist. On one of our outings, I was experimenting with my new camera (I know I've mentioned this before - I'll be very boring on the topic!), and took the picture of the piece of wood with moss and lichen above. When we went to visit a little museum dedicated to St. Colmcille, she noticed the "echo" in the crozier, and made me take a picture of that too. Cool, huh?

One of our other outings was to hear some wonderful Middle-Eastern music, but marvellous as it was, I knew at a certain point I began to find it tedious. I think I had my artist child along, and she was asking questions for which no-one was offering any answers: What's that instrument? What's the song about? Why are these adults so DULL? - They just sing and play and don't tell you anything! - See, my adult appreciated the music, but my child didn't enjoy it too much!

I don't think there was anything particularly risky in our outings. New - the camera (yawn!), that museum which I've passed dozens of times - but not risky.

I am committing (re-committing!) to doing a solo Artist Date this week. The pottery place is STILL THERE, still calling. Well, there are 4 weeks to go!

Synchronicity This week's synchronicities are not direct, they're subtle, about making connections in an indirect way at times, but they feel like they're the result of being aware, being open to what's happening, so they seem to qualify for me:

  • St. Colmcille turned up in a few ways during the week. Have to work out what the connection is yet, but I'll be watching.
  • Fran at Sacred Ordinary posted a piece about this amazing exhibit - Ashes and Snow. It just captivated me, and especially since one of my special things is a picture I pulled from a newspaper a couple of years ago of a young boy with three elephants splashing in the sea. It just called me. And this does too. It just does!
  • I was given gifts of not one, but two incense-burning sets, in the week we were given the task of creating a great scent in the house. I did!
  • There were many instances of "Right thought, right time", where something from my spiritual study circle turned up as important talking to friends later in the week. It felt as though the same conversational thread was running through everything. Connection!

Other Significant Issues

  • One, which I am still teasing out, was a dream which seems to be indicating that I haven't fully committed, said "I Do!" to myself, not yet prepared to absolutely embrace my creativity, but the wish to do so is there, the will and the goodwill are there, and the necessary tools are there too. It took a while disentangling the symbolism in the dream, and I feel there are more layers still.
  • I didn't do the collage task - not that I reject it, but didn't get down to putting the time aside (yet), so not having done that, I couldn't complete the other tasks that ask about my collage. I've done these collages in the past, and the visual journal I started early in the process is a form of collage too, and my SoulCollage cards each represent different aspects of my self.... OK. Stop with the excuses. Do the task! OK. Next week.
  • The First Task. Hmmm. This is the only one from this chapter that I didn't do at all last time around, and I felt very ambivalent about doing it. This is the one where you write, calligraph, colour, decorate the phrase Treating Myself Like a Precious Object Will Make Me Strong. Oh, I resisted that. Didn't want to do it. Felt it's too much. It's ok to be kind to myself, respectful of myself, caring towards myself, but treating myself like a Precious Object? I felt guilty to write it. It felt like something shameful, to claim that for myself. Of course, once I realised that, I just had to do it. And I did it. There's some more decorating to do, and once that's completed, you'll probably see it here too.

It's been a good week overall. I wrote a few pieces, and the challenge of learning to use my camera in a very basic way was a big challenge for me. It took a struggle to figure out how to upload the photos, and still I'm getting file-sizes wrong, but I'm pleased with myself for that, for staying connected in real life and in blog-land. I'm aware I've let week 7 slip into week 8. - I've got to read the chapter yet, but I'm here, I'm working the program, and I'm still aware that I haven't shared that lovely little story yet, but will during the week.

Here's to a great week Eight!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Poem for Thursday

Liz Elayne has suggested a sharing of poems on Thursdays. Here's one of my favourite poems - one I can read over and over, and just sigh each time I do: It's by Paula Meehan

My Father Perceived as a Vision of St Francis

It was the piebald horse in next door's garden
frightened me out of a dream
with her dawn whinny. I was back
in the boxroom of the house,
my brother's room now,
full of ties and sweaters and secrets.
Bottles chinked on the doorstep,
the first bus pulled up to the stop.
The rest of the house slept

except for my father. I heard
him rake the ash from the grate,
plug in the kettle, hum a snatch of a tune.
Then he unlocked the back door
and stepped out into the garden.

Autumn was nearly done, the first frost
whitened the slates of the estate.
He was older than I had reckoned,
his hair completely silver,
and for the first time I saw the stoop
of his shoulder, saw that
his leg was stiff. What's he at?
So early and still stars in the west?

They came then: birds
of every size, shape, colour; they came
from the hedges and shrubs,
from eaves and garden sheds,
from the industrial estate, outlying fields,
from Dubber Cross they came
and the ditches of the North Road.

The garden was a pandemonium
when my father threw up his hands
and tossed the crumbs to the air. The sun

cleared O'Reilly's chimney
and he was suddenly radiant,
a perfect vision of St Francis,
made whole, made young again,
in a Finglas garden.

Week 7 so far

The week so far

I wondered what impact it would have on my Artist Way process to have a visitor - my sister has been with me for four days, and just left this morning. Well, apart from the fact that I haven't had a solo artist date (and there is time, and there are plans for one before Saturday rolls around), I feel my artist has been well-fed, and hers too! Like a lot of people, I'm more likely to plan an outing when I have company, so there has been a lot of wonderful stuff in these few days. On Sunday evening, we were at a concert of wonderful Middle-Eastern/ Andalusian music, with powerful musicians and singers. - Stirring, touching, music, and instruments with sounds that seem to reach the heart with their vibrations. We had two outings in beautiful bright sunshine (even if we had to wrap up really warm against the wind) to lakes nearby, finding parts of the landscape nearby I'd forgotten about, and never seen in its winter beauty. I've been experimenting (see below) with my digital camera, and will probably bore you all silly with my "holiday snaps" now that I've discovered how to upload images. Well, I'm very proud of myself for mastering this, because I'm not really technologically bright, and if my son was at home, I'd have been relying on him to set it all up for me, so it was a new boundary for me, too.
We got to see Brokeback Mountain on Tuesday night. Wonderful. My sis had read the story, I hadn't, but she didn't tell me the way it works out, and I won't say here, for people who haven't seen it yet and want to. Well worth the outing. I thought it was powerful and moving. - And the setting! - Beautiful country!

We watched some junk TV too, and ate, and chatted, and socialised, and went to one of my writers' groups (where occasional visitors are very welcome - Sis is a regular occasional!). It was a wonderful visit. We manage to give one another some space, too, whereby I was up early enough to write my pages without interruption, she got some time to herself, and I spent time with my journal on a few of the exercises. I know that the exercise with the most powerful, tangible and amazing results from my last time around was the Jealousy Map. Over the six years, every one of the things I felt I wanted has come about. I didn't realise it was happening at first, and then, idly looking back over my journal a couple of years ago, I spotted it. Wow! I'm now doing work I envied other people doing, have published, been invited to read at festivals... quite a few other things. So this time around, knowing what a powerful tool it is, maybe I'm not thinking outside the box on it, but I tried to write without too much thinking on it, and I'm taking a superstitious approach about it, and keeping it off the blog.

One thing about it, though, is people's negative response to the word Jealousy. I interpreted it not as the sin of jealousy, but about seeing, admiring and wanting to emulate some aspect of another person's life. It's not about wishing they didn't have it. In all the cases I listed then (and now) I like, even love the person involved, and really wish them well with their work, art, life... whatever, but I would like to have a similar situation, or to be in a position to create something like what they have done. I think the word Envy covers it a little easier for me. - Just a comment!

And so... from here, an Artist Date yet to do, and some tasks to complete, but this week, the sense of low-grade stuckness has shifted, there is rising excitement again, and I'm writing. All good. I haven't managed to keep up with all the blogs I was habitually reading and maybe commenting on up to this week, but even that is maybe not a bad thing. Too much time at the computer isn't good for my back, my eyes, my brain! Still, please excuse my neglecting you all in favour of "The Sister". Normal service will probably be resumed very soon!

Oh..... and next time I have a wonderful story for anyone who feels bad about getting to week 3 or week 4, and falling off the wagon! - I knew the Artist's Way keeps on working! It really does!


Blue Dog asked about our journals, and as I've been using my brand new digital camera, and experimenting, and struggling, and trying, and giving up, and coming back to trying, and finally SUCCEEDED in figuring how to upload photos, here is a photo of a bunch of my journals. The black-covered notebooks on the left are my Morning Pages notebooks. When I first did MPs I used loose leaf paper and stuck them in a file folder, adding a shiny bird or fish sticker to the folder-cover for each day's pages, but over the past couple of years, these are the notebooks I use. they are very plain, 320-page books with narrow lines.

Beside those, there are a stack of smaller notebooks - my Gratitude Journals, in which I write Ten Things for which I am Grateful each night. I'm now on my 6th notebook. I repeat my gratitudes frequently, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Lately, this community of AW bloggers features quite often!

The notebooks on the right have shiny or shimmery covers, usually spiral-bound, and are my poetry/writing journals, my day-to-day writing books, that come to workshops or groups with me, that I jot ideas in, play around with words. There should be a couple more in that stack, but they are on the missing-list at the moment. There are a lot of possible places in my house they could be!

At the front, the three slightly fancier-looking notebooks are my Artist's Way or Creativity journals, where I do the exercises or tasks from AW or other creativity programs, write an annual Review of the Year around the time of my birthday, record plans and goals, or journal about issues specifically about creative projects.

After I'd taken the photo, I realise there are a few other notebooks that should be there. A sketchbook or two, a book I carried for a few months, sticking in tickets, found objects, making notes, more visual than most of these, and the notebook that I bought near the end of the '98 Artist Way, to record dreams and wishes.

Lot of paper... lot of ink... lot of dreams. I'm a bit embarrassed that they aren't on the whole very attractive. - The yellow creativity notebook I did decorate with cut-out flowers, and I quite like the look of that, but when I've seen the beautiful collaged covers some people put on their journals, these look very boring, but they are like comfortable cardigans, friends and companions to me. They don't need to look fancy on the outside. On the inside, they have taken my shape, and fit me.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Abundance - Flow

Check-In Week 6.

This week hasn't felt as dramatic or full of issues as last week. A quiet week, with some thinking going on about the Blog over the past few days. I haven't told anyone at all in my life that I have a blog. Strange? In ways, I think it's like finding it easier to read my poetry to a roomful of strangers than to read when one person, or a couple of close friends ask me to. Shyness hits with people I know rather than strangers. It's especially on my mind because my sister is going to be visiting over the next few days, and part of me is inclined to "come out" to her, and I'm not sure about it. I really admire the people who obviously have their blog just integrated into their entire life. I stumbled into this without really knowing how comfortable it might be (or uncomfortable) in terms of privacy and exposure, and am still ambivalent about the whole thing. Anyone else finding this to be a dilemna for them?

That was probably part of the answer to question 4, although it's specifically about the Blog, rather than AW process, so maybe I need to be checking on 5 questions, with the 5th being any issues on the Blog process?

(1) - Morning Pages 7/7. Have I used them to think about creative luxury? I don't know. I write, and I mostly forget what I filled those 3 pages with. Yes, this morning I was bemoaning the excessive cost of one of my dreams, and looking at alternative ways of getting the same thing. Beyond that, not sure about this question.

(2) Artist Date? Phew, by the skin of my teeth (early this evening), I got in an Artist Date. Went to see Chicken Little, and really enjoyed it. I resisted the temptation to change my mind and go to a grown-up movie, and the temptation to invite a young friend along. It was great fun. I didn't get to the pottery-painting place - although I did try. It was full up all week because the schools were closed for mid-term and lots of Mums were occupying the little darlings with creative play. Next week, when they're all back at school, I will bring my sister there, and we'll both paint something. (Yes, I will have a date alone, too) Have I thought of doing two? Well, that was the plan for last week, but it didn't quite come off. I'm just glad I did one.

(3) Synchronicity? Some small things, but interesting, too. More about timing than anything, like being tapped on the shoulder as a reminder of small but important things. For instance:
- I went to the grocery store, and there was a dear friend standing at the fruit stall with a mango in her hand! - Well, after my pineapple experience, I just felt like I was being told "Yes, go on, take it" - Tomorrow's breakfast will be a mango, raspberry, banana smoothie!
- Reading the task about dumping tatty clothes, I thought "Oh, well, I dumped 4 bags in weeks 4 and 5. I've nothing tatty left", then I glanced at my sleeve. Yes, the cuff of my old favourite cream cotton jumper was gone ragged, but it's cosy... I like it... all the excuses to hold onto it came up. But there was nothing for it. When I took it off that night, instead of the laundry basket, I dumped it! Liberation!
- One of the blogs I enjoy a lot is Lorianne's. Last week, she announced she was coming to Ireland for a weekend. I felt a strong urge to suggest she go visit Glendalough, but then felt that was bossy, so I didn't, and I kept thinking, if she stays in the city, she'll miss someplace she really should visit... Well, she did get there, and posted beautiful pictures and anamazing post about the monuments there. I think this just reminded me to trust and follow those intuitions.
- Linked into the Money theme, the chapter said to say Yes to freebies, and I wondered how often do freebies come my way? - Well this week, a few times. I was at a volounteer meeting during the week, and was told we were being paid expenses for attending, - just like that! Then, later in the week, I had a call from a woman who works in the local Arts Centre, and in the course of conversation, she offered me two free tickets for tomorrow night's concert of middle-eastern music (which I love). See? Freebies are out there.

(4) Other Issues. Maybe this is more of that shyness, but I know I didn't do the 5 postcards task last time around either, and this time, I pulled out a pack of cards, got the addresses of two people I'd like to get in touch with, and thought about another 3. OK. 5 names. Yes. And I couldn't write the cards. It's only tonight it becomes clear what this is. It's a feeling that to write to a friend because someone told me to do it seems artificial, false, and to write to five all at once - a BATCH of friendship... even more false. I realise what I could be comfortable with is sending one a week, making a practice of it weekly, so that is what I will be doing.

This week, for some reason, the abundance theme really centred around food for me. There is the fruit, of course, and on Friday, there was a marathon cooking-session for the freezer. Stew, soup, ratatouille... chop, stir, simmer, mmmm. I didn't go gather rocks, but appreciated those I have on my kitchen window-sill. The weather was so rotten, there was very little other than rain-sodden leaves, and precious few flowers I would have picked ( the little just-emerging baby daffodils? No!), so I just appreciated those where they are, too. In their pots outside my kitchen window.

I can't believe there are 6 weeks past. In some ways it's like I'm just getting into the swing, and in others, maybe I'm slacking off, losing momentum, coasting. There isn't the same sense of excitement I felt in the initial phase, but here I am. And as I was preaching last week, maybe there is stuff happening under the surface. Yeah.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Luxury - An Abundance of Pineapple

There is a section in this week's chapter on Luxury, and for one of the people mentioned it's raspberries that evoke a sense of luxury. Something I've never, ever done for myself is to buy a fresh pineapple. Now, they cost about twice the price of a tin of pineapple, half the price of a pack of cigarettes ( I used to smoke up to 6 years ago), and still the idea of buying one seems like real extravagance. ... You know what's coming, don't you? - I did, I did, I bought a pineapple, I peeled and cut it up, and had a big bowl of pineapple for my lunch today! Lovely. Long ago, my mother bought a pineapple, and it probably wasn't properly ripened, but it was a huge disappointment, tough and flavourless, and maybe I was left with the feeling that "you pay all this money for something, and it probably won't live up to your expectations" so to avoid the disappointment, I have avoided the possibility of pleasure also - with regard to pineapples... maybe with regard to other things, too.

It's a fruit! What's the big deal? The big deal is that it isn't a big deal, and still it was a big deal. Further, it's such a big deal, there is the memory of a dream of refusing to buy a pineapple, not because I couldn't afford it, but because I couldn't figure out if it was worth the cost, despite the fact that I wanted that pineapple. Well, friends, before this evening is out, the remains of that pineapple will have been juicily, sloppily and joyfully consumed. ..... Mangoes, here I come!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

End of Week 5: Check-In

OK: The check-in in my handwritten journal ran to 3 pages, so only things not already referred to here will appear, and the main thing emerged when I got to question 2.

Did I do my Artist Date? - No, I didn't. I thought about going to the park, to some art galleries, to sit an hour by the window in the bar of a new main street hotel and see what passes by, and I could have found time, but I just didn't get myself going, somehow. So, I did a bit of ruminating about this, and realised my Artist Child was sulking. She didn't want to go on any of those dates. She's a bit p***ed off with me, in fact, because I pay great lip-service to her, but in fact, don't pay great quality attention to her. I have taken her to shop for art supplies, like a parent that tries to buy a child off with gifts, and she has responded by refusing to play with any of that stuff. It's all still sitting there, unused so far! The card-making ribbons and leaves and paper-cutters, the table-top easel - Even the brand new scanner I've been waiting months for is sitting for a full week still in its box! What does she want? I think she just wants me to play with her, not to pay for stuff. She feels cheated that so many of the dates were shopping expeditions - however they were disguised as Fun Shopping.

But all is not lost. Others have done this for a date already. I may have toyed with the idea, but my 8-year-old friend, Steven, really put it up to me, when I was driving him home from drama class today. We passed by Craic-Pots - a paint your own pottery place - and he asked me had I ever gone there, telling me how much fun it is. Do I need advice from anyone else? So, to make up for missing this week, I'll take myself to see Chicken Little tomorrow afternoon, and during the week, will go paint a plate, a cup, or something...

So, it's been a useful week, in that insights have been gelling and forming into ideas. I'm not giving myself a hard time about it when it's not going perfectly, and I am gaining a huge amount from the blogs - this experience alone makes it all worthwhile.

Friday, February 10, 2006

More on Germination and Gardens and Spring

I knew while I was writing yesterday's post that there was some connection, some metaphor that was going to make things clearer for me in the midst of the stuff about incubation and germination, followed up by my foray into the garden to do some clearing of last year's dead debris, and it came to me while I was writing my morning pages this morning what the next phase in the thought process is (my process is not rapid... it takes bubbling-up time). When I awoke this morning, I saw there had been a hard frost overnight, and the thought came "I hope all the leafmould and twigs I removed yesterday from the beds hasn't exposed some young and tender things too suddenly and made them vulnerable"... Aha! - The reason why incubation takes time, obviously... young and tender things (creative ideas, maybe) need a bit of time in the dark, under the blanket of a protective layer of old stuff. And then, the day does come, has to come, when that protective layer becomes something that muffles, stifles, prevents straight growth, and has to be moved aside, has to be lifted, so that the air and light can reach the new stirrings, and call them into the sunshine. ... Thoughts such as these made it the perfect metaphor for my feeling of a stirring, a restlessness (and explains maybe why also in yesterday's post I refer to the changes in my life over the past 3 years) - The blanket/mantle of feelings and memories and ways of being that served me in the past, and protected me for a while is becoming uncomfortable, I am feeling the urge to shrug it off, and allow the new seeds to reach unimpeded for the light. There is a balance of timing to be achieved. Don't do it too early, but don't wait too long, either. Ah... finding the balance!

Grow, little seed, grow! And I am taking that Talmudic quote from chapter 1 as a motto for this:

Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, "Grow, grow."

Everybody's doing it!

My word cloud.
You can make one from your blog by clicking above.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Week 5 - Beginning the tasks

The Journey to this Journey

In some of my previous posts, I've referred to "last time I did AW" or "back in 1998, this is what happened". I've been comparing, and using my first go-round with Artist's Way as a point of reference for this experience, but so much is different in my life now, it just has to be a different experience. The outcome of that AW was far-reaching, deep-reaching - led me into areas of work, of study, of creativity that I hadn't really thought were possible for me until then. I've since trained as a counsellor, (almost) completed a degree in psychology, published a volume of poetry, run classes in creative writing, and generally built a multi-faceted life that suits and nurtures me very well.

But my life as it was constructed then saw me as a stay-at-home mother of a 12-year-old. He is now in his 2nd year away at college. I was then a wife, but that ended 3 years ago. So in 1998, many of my wishes and plans were dependent on their effect on my (erstwhile) husband and my son. There were more responsibilities involved in eldercare at that time too. I had to struggle through feeling selfish and demanding in expressing wants for myself alone - however accommodating people might be when I did express the need for time, or space, or whatever...

Now - I'm in a position where I don't answer to anyone, have to explain myself to anyone, take anyone very much into account when I make plans. If anything is holding me back from carrying out my dreams and wishes... it is me alone. I can blame no-one else.

All of this is preamble to the exercises like Forbidden Joys. (p.101) See, my initial reaction is well, I'm allowed to do everything. This exercise doesn't apply to me... But I made myself write down ten things I would love to do... and lo and behold, there were ten things I would love to do, which are entirely possible for me to do, and still I don't do/haven't done them. So, who stopped me? What would I love to do? OK.... Rent a cottage by the sea for a month to write, shop for a new wardrobe with a personal shopper, take a bellydancing class, get my back-garden terraced, dump and replace my bed, take a watercolour painting class, have a neighbourhood coffee-morning, learn to play guitar, go to a spa for a weekend, take a break in Paris or Amsterdam.

So, the book said post the list somewhere visible. - I said - Visible? Where people would see? Visible? What would people think?... Aha. Is that why I'm not allowed? What people? (I live alone) So, this is visible, I think. But it's buried in the middle of a bunch of text. So I will post it at home, on the back of a door, where I will have to look at it every day. I will use colour to highlight each item....

And I will stop telling myself that "That exercise doesn't apply to me" It seems the ones that really do are the ones I'm most likely to reject at first sight. (I think I learnt that lesson in Week 1, too, didn't I?)

Incubation, Eggs cracking open, and Germination

Writing in the journal this morning, I said:
I wanted to write something in the blog yesterday, but I somehow didn't really feel inspired. There was something, still, about the number of people I've noticed mentioning feeling they "were cracking open like an egg", or "incubating" Maybe I don't feel quite like that, but certainly an inner stirring, like a seed is germinating, not quite through the surface yet, but causing a restlessness, a movement... a yearning for... what? It is an energy-shift, surely, almost a tingling under the skin, a need for air. I'm turning round and round like the dog looking for the right place to settle, something is astir, surely"

I passed through my garden for a moment, paused to tug out a dead bit of foliage, and next thing, without intending to, there I was gloved and ready for action, and I was clearing debris and tidying around beds, and discovering... stirrings of life, little snouts of bulbs poking through the leafmould, a tiny daffodil head, not yet lifted towards the sun, perfect.

Ah. I let the energy go into filling a barrow with the dead remains of last year's planting, which has protected the soil, and the new growth beginning to burgeon. Happy day. First day of the year in my garden. Happy day.

Tag? - I've been Tagged!

Kara has tagged me with an Artist's Way-inspired tag. I too am a Tagging Virgin, but here it is (and some of my answers are likely to echo others, because I notice a lot of us are feeling similar responses to issues coming up)

4 Wishes, Dreams, Desires
  1. I wish I felt really brave about travelling abroad alone
  2. I wish a good Poetry Therapy course became available that I can access
  3. I wish I had my sloping garden terraced
  4. I wish my guest room felt more welcoming

4 Imaginary Lives

  1. Almond farmer - or olive farmer - somewhere hot!
  2. Proprietor of a Healing Holidays centre
  3. Nutritionist / cook
  4. Travel-guide writer

4 Things I should Change

  1. My guest room!!!
  2. Swap old carpets for wooden floors
  3. Walk to local shops instead of driving
  4. Telling myself that I "should" do anything... much better to think "could"

4 People I admire

  1. Poet friend, C, who travels to Nepal every year, and when home raises money to fund education for young people there.
  2. Bob Geldof
  3. My friend M, who is nursing her son through a serious illness, and supporting her family, and staying in touch with friends, and finding humour in life, and is generous of spirit.....
  4. Ruby Wax, - outspoken, outrageous, and unique

4 Things I like about the Artist's Way

  1. The fact that it is a process, as much as a program
  2. This community experience - so many similarities, and each person so different, too
  3. The gradual, gentle way in which seismic shifts seem to occur - look back and say "Wow! When did THAT happen? - Was that really me who did/said that?"
  4. The way creativity is defined so loosely, so that I don't need to get too hung up on high-quality product, so long as I'm making soup, or fixing my curtains differently, or doodling, or playing around with craft and art materials.

4 things I still Hope to get out of the Artist's Way

  1. (to contradict 4 above) - Regular product - as in a haiku, verse, poem, few lines of writing each day (not counting Morning Pages)
  2. Greater variety and creativity in planning Artist's Dates
  3. Some experimentation (again) with visual arts - watercolour painting
  4. The seed for a real-world Artist's Way cluster

And I am going to tag..... Bindieye, Wings of the Morning, Laura and Harmony

Thanks, Kara, Now I feel like a real Blogger. Initiation almost complete, I suppose.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

End of Week 4 - Check-in

Aaaaah. That is a sigh of relief. A coming-home, slipping out of boots feeling, being back in blog-land, among friends. I've been reading as many as I can over the past couple of hours - a veritable binge, a feasting... but that was bound to happen, wasn't it? In fact, I didn't hate the reading deprivation. I found it forced me into a different relationship with time - using my time in so many other ways, and there actually seemed to be a whole lot more time in a day, and in the week. I've come to the end of the week with a little accomplished in terms of creative output, and a fair amount in terms of putting my life in order in ways that support my artist long-term. I have NOTHING on hand right at this moment that I am procrastinating on! This is unheard of, really! During the past week, I've been a responsible householder, dog-owner, student and driver and got little (and some not-so-little) neglected chores seen to, leaving me feeling a lovely sense of clarity and space in my head. There are things I still mean to do (as in the redecorating plan), but it doesn't feel like something I should have already done. There is no guilt attached, and hence no anxiety. I am just going to savour this, because it won't last forever, but it feels so good right now.

And here is my confession: I didn't deprive myself 100%. I checked emails, out of necessity - to keep up with some of the feedback on the chores, and to stay in touch with family, and once I was online, I admit I peeked to see was anyone else out there (surprisingly few!) a couple of times, but I didn't really read - more like scanning, like catching sight of magazine covers in a newsagents. Is that reading? I put aside any newsletters and magazines that came this week. I actually didn't read before a crucial meeting with my research supervisor (and when a question came up I should have known the answer to, I just shrugged, and she said "Will you let me know next week?" sure, sure, next week!)

So What did I do? - Some SoulCollage - four new cards. I hand-wrote my 40x365 posts in my journal, (posted them this morning), did some writing at my Women Writers Group - one piece that got very excited and positive feedback really pleased me too, I found my sketchbooks and pencils (and sets of acrylics, oil and soft pastels, and watercolours that I've accumulated and never used) and did one small sketch. Half-way through, I said This is Awful, but then I said Great. I'm making bad art, one of the things I'm meant to be doing, so I kept going. I did a great job! - It's really bad! I bought myself a table-easel at a ridiculously low price on my artist's date. I tried out new recipes, sprouted seeds for salads, poked a few weeds out of the garden, spent long times watching the birds at the bird-feeder (I felt checking a bird-identification book wasn't really reading, was it?). I've already referred to the clearing of low self-worth clothes (anything stained, damaged beyond reasonable repair, too big, too small, kept for pure sentimentality, cheap or nasty) and that released into the light of day some clothes I really like, so I dressed differently this week. Even jewelery I'd forgotten buying turned up - a lovely pair of pansy (real flowers) earrings are just the thing to brighten up February.

Oh... I haven't even mentioned the Artist's Way tasks! - I did them all. Out of them all, would you like to meet my 8-year-old self?

- She loves being down the fields, long grass, hiding-places in hedges, secret dens, picking flowers and grasses, poking into dark places and claiming them for hers.
- She has discovered words, and loves playing with them, drying out big words, making words rhyme and dance. She loves to read, although she has yet to discover her great love - Enid Blyton.
- "Dolls need Dresses" is her motto. Aunt Carrie obliges, with access to a generous scrap-box, bits of trimmings, buttons. Dressmaking aunts are a real perk. Paper dolls are great too. She loves Bunty (comic) over Judy for that reason - Bunty's back page, fantastic every week.
- Her favourite clothes are dresses and skirts that twirl. She believes she is really pretty with her ringlets and her dark eyes. She was a princess with flowers and a lace bag on her First Communion Day last year. She still feels like one.
- She is able to claim any stray child for a friend
- She loves schoolwork, homework, really enjoys having it done well. She does "projects" of her own devising during school holidays.
- She loves to roll down the grassy hill in the park, to twirl around until she falls down dizzy.
- Her favourite things are papers and pens and pencils, "office" stuff, notebooks, and paste or glue. Tracing paper. She loves to trace pictures.

My 80-year old self requested that I exercise regularly, eat well, and quit the caffeine. I haven't had caffeinated coffee since, went to the gym 3 times this week (my goal) and ate very healthy food. She's a feisty old lady, and I'm looking forward to being around to meet her!

Ok. I know everyone has a lot of blogs to check out. Just want to say, it's so good to be back. Thank all of you for the sharing you do. This is really one very exciting journey for me.

Inspiration Share (2)

One of the many, many poems of Billy Collins that I can read over and over again - and which I offer to any group of people with whom I facilitate creative writing sessions. I love to share it, so here it is:

The Dead

The dead are always looking down on us, they say,
while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass-bottom boats of
as they row themselves slowly through eternity.

They watch the tops of our heads moving below on earth,
and when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a warm afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,

which makes them lift their oars and fall silent
and wait, like parents, for us to close our eyes.

Inspiration Share (1)

I am planning to redecorate my living-room, and a place of honour will be going to this untitled painting which I bought for myself as a birthday gift last year. I call her my Blue Lady, and to spend a little time with her is to experience peace and tranquility. The artist's name is Brian Gallagher.