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.

Friday, March 31, 2006

List Friday - Twelve Minutes

This week's list suggestion at Pomegranates and Paper is To list Six Minutes You'd like to Erase and Six Minutes You'd like to Relive (or vice-versa)... Let's see...


  1. The minute I left a diary where a friend could find it and read something I didn't want her to read. It got repaired, but...
  2. The moment I gave the constructive criticism a friend had asked for, and I realised - split second - I hadn't thought it through, hadn't realised the sensitivity involved. Never really repaired
  3. The split-second glance that caught sight of him with her. Never erased.
  4. The moment I decided to tell my father something important without checking first had he had a drink. He'd forgotten by morning, but I didn't know until years later that he didn't recall the conversation.
  5. One friend's secret I shared with another friend. Risked both friendships. Repaired.
  6. There is a sixth. I cannot find a way to describe it here.


  1. 6.52 a.m. 20/5/86 Open your eyes, says the midwife, and my eyes are open to catch the first glimpse of my son. That moment.
  2. My son has learned to count to ten. I am proud. But when he tells me "I love you FOURTEEN, Mummy!", I know how big a thing that is. How big that love. It's as high as the stairs in our house, that love.
  3. July evening, 1991, plane touching down Tel Aviv, and Israel is glowing in a peach-pink sunset. Holy Land. I am a pilgrim.
  4. One moment of prayer, indescribable sensation of becoming a tiny thing in an infinite universe.
  5. My mother is sitting on a garden seat surrounded by flowers, peacefully enjoying the sun. I come along the path. She glances up. She smiles.
  6. My sister pulls up and jumps out of the car, puts it in my hand, three hours before the launch... my book. I am published!

Strange exercise, trying to isolate the moments. It was easier to identify the ones to relive than those I'd wish to erase. Do you have moments you'd like to share?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Echo of Poetry Thursday - Sea Lines

Because the theme in this SoulCollage card is similar to my Poetry Thursday poem, it seemed appropriate to add it here. It is an effort to capture that feeling of stepping aside and allowing my child to seek out and follow his own path in the world. I found it comforting to create this card around the time he went off to begin his second year in college.

Poetry Thursday

I seem to be alternating between one of mine and one from a poet I admire. Probably a bit cheeky to follow the illustrious Seamus Heaney with one of mine, but hey! this is my blog, so here is a relatively recent poem of mine.

Sea Lines

When I touched you first,
and you still with the salt and blood of birth
on you, slippery seal-child, I felt the pull.
Tides shifted in me.
My shoreline moved,
a sudden erosion,
whole chunks of me fell away,
and you filled the space.

Whenever I touched you since,
in all the holding, cradling times,
the rush and surge of your blood
was the sea’s pulse in my own heart,
your breath at times the gasp
of an ocean’s breeze, and my breath
willing itself into you.

Fear-nights, my hand on your brow,
the hot dry touch of sunwarm stone,
my heart beating fear, until the settling,
and the fever’s ebb, the rest
again, the calm,
the slow and easy flow of the sea.

Whenever I think of you now,
marking your own shore’s line,
I see you dragging a toe on sand,
claiming your space, and looking out,
turning your back to the land,
facing some other horizon.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Little Bit of Week Eleven

I've spent a few hours with the book, reviewing the tasks for this week, and am left with two to do. - The letter to myself, which I will do, and one other, which escapes me now... Oh, yes, the list of five ways I will change. Couldn't pin that down at all. I taped myself reading the Basic Principles (did I feel silly!), and the week 8 essay on Gain Disguised as Loss (I got into that as I read). For me, the most interesting task there was the Creativity Notebook. That caused me some confusion last time I did Artist's Way. I bought the notebook - a really nice little hardbacked, beautiful paper sketchbook, followed the instructions and wrote my ten wishes in each of the seven categories, and thought "Ah, she'll tell us next week what to do with it next"... I'm not spoiling anything for you when I tell you she doesn't. I actually scoured back through week 11, and read week 12 twice looking for some instructions as to what to do next. And I was very perplexed.... Ok. Write your wishes. Yes... What next? What's meant to happen? What's the point of that?

In the absence of further instructions, I left the notebook in a drawer, forgot about it, and forgot about it, and a couple of years ago, picked it up idly, saying "Oh, yeah, that's the silly thing she forgot to give us the rest of the instructions for", and what do you know? Reading the lists, there were wishes that had come true! Just like that! For your interest, the current count (of the wishes I made in 1998) is as follows
  • Health - 9/10 achieved
  • Possessions - 4/10 achieved (but the other 6 aren't things I want any more)
  • Leisure - 7/10 achieved ( with one to be completed in May, and the other two still remain possibilites for the future)
  • Relationships - 8/10 achieved (one of the two failures there relates to my marriage, the other has a possibility of being improved still)
  • Creativity - 4/10 achieved (The four were all major for me, and a couple of the failures still remain distinct possibilities, though they aren't strong wishes any more)
  • Career - 8/10 achieved
  • Spirituality - the one I can't judge success or failure with. It's not measurable, so I can't say.

Considering I'd forgotten the exercise, and was making no conscious investment in these wishes, I think that's a pretty impressive rate of return! What effect this awareness will have on today's list, I don't know. Hopefully, I'll be able to just forget it, and be equally pleasantly surprised in a few years time when I find the notebook. I used the same notebook, a new seven pages, and a far freer hand in writing them this time around.

A nice synchronicity from today to share: There are a few dreams I've had that have stayed with me as strongly meaningful - powerful dreams, and I've set myself a task of making SoulCollage cards to honour those dreams. For months now, I've been looking for the right image of a pineapple to represent an element of one of those dreams. The meaning of the dream is about being willing to accept the riches and nourishment being offered to me - and being willing to pay the price for it. The image presented itself in a Sunday supplement this morning, and it just told me I'll now be able to honour that dream in the way I've been wanting to. So now I can make my card.

That's some bits of week eleven's work. So I'll be starting week 12 tomorrow. Good luck to all on the last week!

Your Aura is Blue
Your Personality: Your natural warmth and intuition nurtures those around you. You are accepting and always follow your heart.
You in Love: Relationships are your top priority, and this includes love. You are most happy when you are serious with someone.
Your Career: You need to help others in your job to feel satistifed. You would be a great nurse, psychologist, or counselor.
What Color Is Your Aura?

The facts, Ma'am - Just the facts

The fact is, this past week, I didn't even finish reading the chapter. I got to the word "sport" and put the book aside, and forgot to pick it back up again. Now I haven't done the tasks yet either, and they are a good bunch of tasks, so I'm slipping behind, and perhaps it's a way of extending the 12 weeks, eking out another few days from the program? Or perhaps it's just laziness, or distraction... take your pick.

But, and it is a big BUT, I have done my pages 7/7, and I did have an Artist Date, so all is not lost. There's an interesting thing about the pages, which emerged this morning, which is technically in week 12, but at this stage, who's counting? Background: When I decided to start the Artist's Way this time, part of my thinking (rationalisation) was that it would provide a nice complement or counterpoint to the heavy brain-work I would be undertaking in completing my Psychology degree. There's a thesis under way. There is research (ostensibly) being done. And at this stage there is a deadline looming, and not really a lot done. I ran into data-collection difficulties. It's slower than it should be. And I procrastinated about going to my supervisor, I put it on the long finger, hoping the data-Angel would turn up magically one day with a whole lot of just what I need, and it didn't happen, so the situation was becoming quite anxiety-provoking. (Still with me?) During the past two weeks, my morning pages would contain quite a lot of stuff like Oh my God! What am I going to do? This is terrible. My stomach is knotted up over this inaction. So act. Do something. Make the calls you need to make. Yes. I will make those calls. And this is going to be ok.Yes. Ok. I'm fine. My belly isn't full of bees any more. I'm fine. It's going to get done..... And the next morning, with not much progress made, I'd repeat a variation on the same thing... until this morning, when I picked up my pen, used a lot of foul language and berated myself for going through this charade, because it's useless to promise to do what isn't actually going to solve my data-collection problem.. because the problem really is... . I wrote on and on... and a miraculous, creative, right-brain solution just appeared on the page. Details are irrelevant. The point is, just when I gave in to just writing anything at all, just let myself flow instead of doing what I thought I should be doing (telling myself off for what I wasn't doing, and fobbing myself off with promises), the solution came out. I know right now what direction I can take, and I know it will work! I feel so good about that, I can tell you!

So that is one good reason for me to continue to do Morning Pages for ever and a day. They do something good for me.

The Artist Date involved shopping for my artist child again, but this time, I've been using what I got, so that's fine. Had an outing to Derry, and shopped in the Early Learning Centre for modelling clay, beads, and craft-type flowers to decorate my Precious Object poster, and because one of my favourite things in the world is bubbles, I couldn't resist a bubble-gun. It blows hundreds of bubbles at super-fast speed, so you stand surrounded in cloud of drifting, popping, beautiful bubbles. Hurrah! I let my grown-up have some fun too, and bought a couple of books I've been hearing mentioned - Blink and The Four Agreements, and I stopped on the journey home to take a few photographs - See the post on Spring below.

That's not really a check-in in the sense of the tradition I've established, but it's a catch-up until later, at which time I will have whizzed through the remainder of chapter 11, done the tasks, and will be able to report further insights, wisdom, and all that good stuff! Til later...

Friday, March 24, 2006

List Friday: Things to Lose / Gain

There's a Friday thing run by Pomegranates and Paper, suggesting topics for lists to be posted (on Fridays!). This week's topic is ten things you want to lose and ten things you want to acquire. It caught my attention. Here's this morning's (top of the head, not much thought) list:

Things to lose

rusted barbecue
dead computer
4000 receipts for things that have died already
college notes from 1981/3
erstwhile husband’s guitar
erstwhile husband’s snooker cue
junk books
nobbly bed-sheets
stained carpets
ugly curtains
broken kitchen chairs
another ten pounds

Things to gain

wooden floors
new curtains
chairs that don’t fall apart when you sit in them
a degree (almost… almost… there)
kick-ass dress for niece’s wedding
US stamp in my passport
skill of growing my own vegetables
more knowledge about wild birds and flowers
Anything else the Universe has to offer...
Anything more the Universe has to offer...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thursday Poem - St. Kevin and the Blackbird

Some of you have not had the pleasure of discovering Irish poet and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney. I've been lucky enough to hear him read three times, and oh... This is poetry! I don't know how to select just one poem, but I love this one, and it has a spring theme, too, so allow me to share

St Kevin and the Blackbird

And then there was St Kevin and the blackbird.
The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside
His cell, but the cell is narrow, so

One turned-up palm is out the window, stiff
As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands
and Lays in it and settles down to nest.

Kevin feels the warm eggs, the small breast, the tucked
Neat head and claws and, finding himself linked
Into the network of eternal life,

Is moved to pity: now he must hold his hand
Like a branch out in the sun and rain for weeks
Until the young are hatched and fledged and flown.


And since the whole thing's imagined anyhow,
Imagine being Kevin. Which is he?
Self-forgetful or in agony all the time

From the neck on out down through his hurting forearms?
Are his fingers sleeping? Does he still feel his knees?
Or has the shut-eyed blank of underearth

Crept up through him? Is there distance in his head?
Alone and mirrored clear in Love's deep river,
'To labour and not to seek reward,' he prays,

A prayer his body makes entirely
For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird
And on the riverbank forgotten the river's name.

Seamus Heaney

Green things - Spring

Kara asked what a "deepening greening" looks like to me. I tried to capture it. Just this past week or two, there's a shimmer on the grass of life coming into it. You can't see the light that hangs over the still-brown hedgerows, promising green about to bud all over, but it's there.

I just spent a delightful couple of minutes at my kitchen window, watching a robin (with whom I was a bit annoyed, because he'd just chased off little Jenny Wren to another part of the garden) reveal why this patch has become so special to him. He began tugging at a strand of moss, tugged out a thread, then another, and another, until he had a fine clump of green stuff gathered to bring to his nesting spot at the top of the garden. I'll be interested to see what happens next.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Books, books

There have been a few memes going the rounds detailing books that have been influential in people's lives, and I've been wondering how I would be able to narrow down my lists of special books to 5's or 10's, and have decided it would be impossible. Every time I think about it, the titles of other, now-almost-forgotten, (but back then, highly important) books swing into my mind, and they've been swirling around, so I thought, without anything as organised as a list (since blogger has inexplicably dumped bullets, numbers and colours for text recently, anyway) I'd jot down some of the books that have been important for me.

I owned books as a child - Heidi, The Child's Garden of Verse, Book of Irish Songs, Anne of Green Gables, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggywinkle, Tarka the Otter... all special, all read, re-read, recited from, sung from. Illustrations were traced over, and traced over, but all these books, beloved as they were, were relegated to second-best the day I discovered Enid Blyton. - My eleventh birthday, I went to my Grandmother and Aunt Imelda's house for my Tuesday piano-lesson. Auntie said "When we've finished the lesson, there's a surprise on top of the TV for you" I played my scales and arpeggios all at top-speed, and slid from the piano-stool, haring into the next room to claim my prize. "The Secret of Spiggy Holes". Ah. It was like falling down a rabbit-hole and landing in a magical kingdom, in which I could become the sixth of the Famous Five, the fifth of the Four On A..., I devoured her books with an insatiable appetite, believed no-one would ever write a better book, and I simply cannot understand that she has gone out of fashion with young people. How can any eleven-year old not be entranced? Mystery.

But, time passed, and other books did begin to present themselves. Dickens, the complete children's classics - I began to read just whatever I could lay my hands on, so that at age thirteen, there I was, feet tucked under me on the kitchen rocker, when my father passed by, spotted my read of the moment and blanched - "Should you be reading that?" I turned my book around, scanned the cover - and said "Yes. Why not?" He couldn't come up with a tactful reply, so said nothing, and I went back to my book, with renewed interest, now that he'd given me to believe there might be something spicy in there for me. Gone with the Wind didn't quite live up to the expectation he'd kindled, but it gave me a taste for big, big books. Walter Macken and Tolstoy followed - War and Peace and Anna Karenina.

By fifteen, other things were claiming my attention, and the books that I carried around took a philosophical turn. The Little Prince, The Prophet, The Renewal of Civilization. Dog-eared, beloved. Spike Milligan - Puckoon, Small Dreams of a Scorpion. Flann O'Brien and his anarchic, off-beat, clever, clever humour. Then along came Tolkein - Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, followed by Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books. What do they call it? Fantasy? Yes, yes, yes. And then, Small is Beautiful, Diet for a Small Planet... and feminism. Betty Freidan, Germaine Greer - The Female Eunuch! Life-changing book - made me realise it wasn't necessarily my fault if a relationship broke up, and in fact, there was no onus on me to agree to "Still be friends" with someone who'd just broken my heart. (Thank you, Germaine!) My fiction taste-buds were fed by James Michener, Leon Uris.

There follows a blank-spot. I was reading - I know I was reading - but I can't seem to recall now what were the books that really mattered in my twenties. Maybe I was distracted - marriage and motherhood will do that to you. Breast is Best and Penelope Leach's Baby and Childcare were on my kitchen shelves. Ok. Confession. - And a mix of Fay Weldon, Maeve Binchy, Roddy Doyle, Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Arthur Hailey. Once more, anything printed in black on a white page, that could be read without too much effort, in the moments between feeds, changes, feeds and changes.

And then, as my energy was gradually returned to me and to my mind, simultaneously, along came Isabel Allende, Amy Tan, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker... And since then, along have come Seamus Heaney, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Paula Meehan, M. Scott Peck, Julia Cameron, Fritjof Capra, Carl Rogers, Natalie Goldbarg, Rebecca Wells, Fannie Flagg, Pat Conroy, AS Byatt. I've been enthralled by The Lovely Bones, The Life of Pi, The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-time , struck by memoirs, lucky enough to hear some wonderful writers read their work, and speak about their writing process. I sit in a room with books on three walls. Books are my companions. Little piles sit on surfaces in every room except my bathroom (I'm funny like that - Have too much respect for books!) There have been times I feel embarrassed because what I'm reading isn't considered "quality", but now, I'm just glad to be reading when I can. I don't find it easy to read a lot of fiction these days. My mind wanders away somehow, but I trust that's a temporary thing. I think it will come back, and in the meantime, a poem, a snatch from some familiar book is like a brief chat with an old friend, enough to keep me going, enough to remind me that I am never alone. There are always books.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Check-in Week 10

If it wasn't for Poetry Thursday, I wouldn't have made any appearance here between check-in posts this week. This is not good enough! Well, it all depends on whether the week's topics bring up something, too, and I wasn't around the early part of the week. Even so, I did get to spend time working on (most of) the tasks. I decided that Workaholism quiz does not apply to me, and likewise that Bottom Line task. - Don't need to do it. I know in the past when I've said that, it meant I was resisting, or denying an obvious truth, but trust me, I am not a workaholic. I don't have a JOB. I volounteer a few hours a week, I take on short-term tutoring or facilitation projects. I am very good at saying NO. So I said NO to doing those two things this week.

And now for the Check-In:
Morning Pages: For the first time since we started, I missed a morning. I was travelling, had an early start, and hoped to stop for coffee on my journey and do them during the day, but somehow, didn't feel like it when it came to it. Have they changed since reading them? I have no idea. I don't feel any different writing them, so I don't think so. But it has made me want to honour the pages more, so I collaged a "Morning" onto the cover of the notebook I'll be using up until July (if I don't miss too many more mornings!)

Artist Date: See below. Yes, a library visit was long overdue, so I spent half-an-hour there, got a couple of videos, and the travel-books to help me start to plan my trip for May. YESSS! Then, I took a trip out of town to a small gallery that has an exhibition of work by a popular, highly respected Irish artist. Interesting! It didn't impress me hugely, and still, it was well worth seeing, for that fact alone. I'm not a visual artist, but the same probably applies to writing and painting: Not everyone will love everything you produce, even if the critics do, so you might as well just produce it anyway, and pay no attention to "them". I also enjoyed the drive, with signs of spring - a deepening greening happening, catkins, lambs, roadside strips full of daffodils. Cheerful. Light.

Synchronicities were thin on the ground this week. Hmmm.

Other Issues? Maybe I'm tired, Maybe I'm lazy. No. There are no other issues this week. Oh, I didn't want to do those Deadlies. But I did them. Yes, the ones I didn't want to face came up again and again. Yes, I'll be kind to myself about them. Oh.... and yes, I realise there are places over these weeks where I've set goals, or made plans within the pages of the AW journal in response to these exercises, but haven't followed up on them, carried them out. This week there are promises made. I wrote them down. But I need to make sure they don't get lost. Empty words... So I'll have to write them somewhere else too.

And one other thing... A friend came to visit, caught sight of my Precious Object poster (which has since been further embellished with bows, rose-petals, tiny dollies, glittery stickers), and was very approving of the sentiment. Instead of feeling embarrassed, I felt proud! Now, that is change!

OK. That was week. Week 11, here I come!

Part of my Artist Date

I went to the library. Renewed my audio-visual membership, got a few books... Guess what I'm planning? Wheee!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A poem for Thursday

One of my own poems this week. Asked in a workshop to do a self-portrait poem, I thought "I've done that already" so I opted instead to do a Catalogue:


Woman in shades of purple
Self-portrait as a body of water
Tree with one fruit
Woman with squirrel's eyes
Self-portrait with pen and paper
Woman with yellow aura
Impression - before autumn
Nude in locked bathroom
Woman with frail wings
Untitled - Not for sale.

Week 9 and now... Week 10

I've been absent for a few days, and so the end of week 9, and the beginning of week 10 have gone uncommented on until now here, but I feel this has to be remedied. - Otherwise, I might just let the whole thing slip away.

Ah. Week 9 was dominated by the intermiable task of reading those Morning Pages. What did I learn from doing that? That there was something on most pages I wanted to mark; that I needed to use markers for synchronicity and dreams as well as insights and actions; that many of the actions were already underway or completed (so I'm not the lazy procrastinator I accuse myself of being); that writing something down seems to give it a power, make it more real; that yes, I moved day to day from one feeling to another, and the pages held; that I value this process, enough to find myself this morning, as I began another Morning Pages journal, for the first time, decorating the cover of the notebook I'll be using through to July.

Of the other Week 9 tasks, I didn't do the Visualisation as suggested, but some aspects of this task are being incorporated into my Dream/Seed Scrapbook. I'll be coming back to complete it as suggested in the book.

Check-In, then.
Morning Pages: Did 7 days. Regarding U-turns, I didn't have any major ones to beat myself up over. I did follow through the big things. It's holding back, stopping, stalling, slowing down that stops my creative projects rather than outright U-turns. I'm inclined to have a plan, follow it, and with the first success, say "That's that, then" and stop, instead of building on the success.

My Artist Date didn't take long, but was very inspiring, very rich. I went to look around a stonecutter's yard, where they produce the most fantastic garden statuary and ornaments - Enormous Buddhas, elephants, stags, lions, dolphins, beautiful stacks of slate becoming water-features, little frogs spitting water... I've passed the place a few times, and it has called me. That day, I answered, and it was worth seeing. I'll be back.

Synchronicity. Hmmm. I heard about someone doing just the thing I've been dreaming about and creating my Dream/Seed Scrapbook for. This is a friend of a friend. I could maybe go visit, see their set-up. There were a few other small synchronicities. This was the one that said "You asked! Here you are!"

Other issues: The task of reading the pages kept me from all the other tasks until the very end of the week, and maybe from other creative work, too. I did it, because it's what the book says to do. I wouldn't let myself stop, plodded on, even though it was drudgery, but rewarding too in ways. I'm not sorry I did it, but have a nagging feeling the energy could have gone into something else.

Another awareness or realisation that was important this week came from observing someone else following their intuition and instincts, and what I've realised is that if I choose to take risks, do something new, follow my gut, I have to make sure it is a choice made on my own behalf, not anyone else's; that I'm only taking my own chances. I suppose that sounds very obtuse. It is, but it was and is meaningful to me.

It was a tiring week, I was travelling too, and am not quite recovered yet. Week 10 has been passing, and although I read the chapter, I'm not sure I can say what it's about, and haven't done any tasks yet, either. I feel the need for something to lift me, inspire me, give me energy. Maybe the dull, blah feeling that hit a few people in weeks 7 and 8 has reached me now? .... I'm still here, anyway. Oh... and the picture is my SoulCollage card of The Mystical Child. I put it there just because!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Apparently, I am OLIVE GREEN

You Are Olive Green
You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.
What Color Green Are You?

Given my Blogger Name, I had to take the quiz to find out which Green I am. Which green are you? For some reason, the link in the text above doesn't work. Try this

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thursday Poem

I went flicking in a few anthologies, to see what would catch my eye. This one is by Maura Dooley, and it really called me.

What Every Woman Should Carry

My mother gave me the prayer to Saint Theresa.
I added a used tube ticket, kleenex,
several Polo mints (furry), a tampon, pesetas,
a florin. Not wishing to be presumptuous,
not trusting you either, a pack of 3.
I have a pen. There is space for my guardian
angel, she has to fold her wings. Passport.
A key. Anguish, at what I said/didn't say
when once you needed/didn't need me. Anadin.
A credit card. His face the last time,
my impatience, my useless youth.
That empty sack, my heart. A box of matches.

Maura Dooley

Reading the Pages

I don't know about anyone else, but reading the Morning Pages is just taking me forever! I have three weeks yet to read, and haven't done any of the other exercises for week 9. Yes, there are insights to be gleaned, and reminders of actions yet to do (and the very comforting realisation that many of the actions I plan in the pages are under way, have already been taken, in fact). But I'm getting bored with them. Did everyone else read all the way through every page they'd written over the 8 weeks?

Ok. Back to the drawing-board... I mean Reading-spot.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Top 30 Books

How many of the 30 Books that every adult should have read have I read?

Here's the list, which came from here. Bold titles I have read in full; those with * I've read in part.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible *
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quite on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the D'urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

That leaves 8 to read, and I don't think I am going to read the Old Testament in full at this stage. I have read the New Testament. I have Clockwork Orange, Ivan Denisovich and Time Traveller's Wife, so now I know what I "should" read next. Seems like a strange list, though, in many ways. What's not here that definitely should be?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Check-In - Week 8.

Is Amelia Coming Out to Play?
I don't know if this is a cheat, but when I started to write my check-in this morning (I know... I know... I've slipped a day behind again... ), I hadn't done my Artist Date. And then, writing about it, I realised I had the preparation done, I just hadn't done it yet, so I paused in the check-in, took an hour out, and had the best fun on my AD. - See the picture above? I sat on the couch to cut out my doll and dresses, and suddenly, I had pulled the cushions onto the floor, and was working there, and then, at some point, I found myself humming... Teddy Bears' Picnic! - So as I snipped and played, I sang all the children's songs I could remember - Ugly Duckling, Little White Bull. (My repertoire is sad, but I sang with gusto!) I got the dolls here. Anyone else coming out to play?

Back to Check-In

Morning Pages - Did the pages 7/7, not tempted to quit, too much of a habit now. How was it? I think I got to use them to work out a few issues, but can't remember quite what they were . I know I used them to tease out dream images and symbolism, and to begin the list (oh, hard, very hard) of things I love about myself. But I don't often know what I'm writing, so it surprises me to remember even this much about them.

Artist Date - See above!

Synchronicity - A few things related to colour, and a few times I felt "that fits", but nothing remarkable enough to relate here - I mean nothing that would be meaningful to anyone other than me. I think the point of synchronicity anyway is that it should be meaningful to the person experiencing it. No-one else needs to see it as synchronicity necessarily.

Other Significant Issues -
- It continued on from last week, but posting that "Precious Object" poster was very significant for me, and through the week, I found myself picking up flower petals, shiny ribbon bows, extra stickers, and further embellishing the poster. I showed it off to a visiting friend (blushing all the while). As I mentioned under Morning Pages, I did give time to writing a list of what I love about myself, and I know now where my blocks are in relation to this, I've been able to identify the affirmations I need to work with (Yeah... I decided on the affirmations to use last week, but didn't actually use them, either). It's around body-image I have insecurities, even though I say I like my body, I'm fine with my body. I don't love it.

- I feel it might be related to AW that twice this week things happened that might have been very disappointing, and I recovered from them, (eg the cancellation of our nurturing day due to snow) and found alternative ways to deal with the situation. I noticed that I said "Oh well, what else can I do instead?" and devised creative alternatives.

- As with the Jealousy Map, I'm a bit superstitious about the Goal Search exercise. This was also one of the most effective exercises when I did AW in 1998. The entire goal as I'd envisaged - and each of the steps towards it, came about within 6, not 5 years, but when I wrote it, I really felt it was an impossible dream. It relied on so much luck and happy accident, but they came about. When I say superstitious, I think I mean I don't want to say what it is, I want to "not give away the gold", not out of a fear of anyone taking the idea, but simply that I want to hold it in a secret, private, place. I will say that My actions this week towards the goal include holding the Vision, and ordering a special glass mushroom to be a tangible symbol of my goal.

Blogging the Artists Way - I was delighted with the outcome of the discussion on how/whether to continue as a group beyond the life of the Artist's Way. I really want to continue in community with all the people Kat has drawn together here, and to continue exploring creativity.

I had to put some thought into Kara's revelation about the source of much of Cameron's ideas, and decided that, wherever the ideas and exercises come from, I'm concentrating on the message, not the messenger. I compare it to liking a song, even if the tune was written by someone else.

And... I find myself wondering about bloggers who appear to disappear for a while (are they ill? on holiday? Simply bored with it all?), and concerned about people who feel low or out of sorts, and very inadequate at times to say anything helpful, and wishing I knew the right thing that would help. This element of the blogging experience I hadn't expected. In fact I didn't know what to expect 8 weeks ago when I started out on this journey.

It's some journey, and I am getting SO MUCH out of it. Here's to week 9!

SoulCollage - Muse

One thing that happened last week was a day I'd been looking forward to got cancelled due to SNOW. Now, a snow-day is a rare thing here, and you'd hope if anything was to be cancelled it would be something dull, not a lovely, nurturing day of creative play with a group of loved colleagues, but that's what got cancelled. Oddly, though, I accepted it fairly easily, looked around for something to do with the unexpected gift of time, and my eyes lit on the new scanner still in its box, 4 weeks after I bought it (because I HAD to have it straight away, of course!). I spent a morning installing it and the afternoon scanning a backlog of SoulCollage images I'd made during the past months. This one I share because it symbolises the Creative Spirit / Muse for me.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Colours, Man, The Colours

Spiritdoll posted her Colour exercise. This is what mine turned up this time:

I am Yellow. I am summer-colour. I sound like the humming of bees in clover, the swish of high grasses. I am the colour of sunshine and warmth. I smell of sweetness, honey and fresh bread, roses' centres. I am summer's colour, heat and slow days. I am the drone of distant lawnmower, the flicker of a butterfly's wing, the flash of a goldfinch in the lilac tree. I am happy, cheerful. I am bright, joyful, glowing. I say Yes.

When I did the Artist's Way in 1998, the colour was different. Here's what came out:

I am Green: the colour of earth and earth-lovers, the colour of new life in spring. I am green, the colour of the ocean in its most special places, and of the grass-ocean that waves in the fields. I am green that tints the birds' egg, their feathers. Green in the eyes - the flecks you see. I am green for growth and new energy and rising sap. I am green for freshness of the larch needles. I am green, heart-colour, home-colour. I am green for the land, for Ireland. I am the green that gives rest to the eye, peace to the soul. I am green, the woodland glade, and the elven lights that dance in it. I am green.

And one of my poems:

Song of Purple

I am night-sky, mountain, heather;
the sea in its deepest places,
the rocks that it hides;
the colour taken on by periwinkles in their hidden crevices.

I am crocus, iris,
lilac wants to be me,
rhododendrons crave my depth.
I am blue eyes darkening, the colour of bruises.
I am the land before storms,
the colour in the trees as they lose their last leaves.

I am the lofty colour that still clings to earth in its lowest places:
the steep cleft between rocks - look, not black, but purple;
when you dig the earth you think is brown, look, look for me.
You'll find me there in the crumbled shale of earth's own surface.

I am the colour in the depth of the fire,
at the core of its heat - watch for the purple flame, feel its power.
I am in the sheen of a raven's wing, the spot on a salmon's back,
in the deep woodland flowers,
tiny ones that only scent the air
at certain times, from secret half-seen places
hidden in the purple shadow of last year's leaf-mould.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Thursday Poem

This one is by Eavan Boland, and is beloved by many, especially, I think, Mothers everywhere.

Night Feed

This is dawn.
Believe me
This is your season, little daughter.
The moment daisies open,
The hour mercurial rainwater
Makes a mirror for sparrows.
It’s time we drowned our sorrows.

I tiptoe in.
I lift you up
In your rosy, zipped sleeper.
Yes, this is the hour
For the early bird and me
When finder is keeper.

I crook the bottle.
How you suckle!
This is the best I can be,
To this nursery
Where you hold on,
Dear life.

A silt of milk
The last suck.
And now your eyes are open,
Birth-coloured and offended.
Earth wakes.
You go back to sleep.
The feed is ended.

Worms turn
Stars go in.
Even the moon is losing face.
Poplars stilt for dawn
And we begin
The long fall from grace.
I tuck you in.

Eavan Boland