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, August 29, 2006

Where Have All The Monsters Gone?

Just kidding. They haven't gone away, it seems, judging from what there was to read all over the Sunday Scribblings posts this week. Writing for that prompt, and reading other people's responses to it has caused quite a bit of introspection in me. I keep recognising the shadow of the monster in my thinking, and was really intrigued by the interpretations people made of MY monster. I wasn't quite sure what exactly it represented to me, only that, once I let in a negative thought, I feed it, and it grows and saps my strength. That was the meaning I thought was in what I wrote. Then, someone mentioned the Diet Monster, and I thought "Oh, that must be who my monster really is", but then there's the Procrastination Monster, which I feed all the time, and there's a whole menagerie of others - none of which I've ever named until now as Monsters. So, what to do with this? This awareness (or hint of awareness). I wasn't at all sure.

Then, this morning, writing my Morning Pages, focusing on the things I'd meant to do yesterday and not gotten around to (I got some things I'd meant to do done, but that didn't take up as much writing room), this is what came out (I'm going to transcribe exactly, because it just feels like the right thing to do!) :

Know what? - Suddenly I'm just very pissed off with myself for doing all this. Creating all these situations where I'm trying to figure out why I didn't do what I wanted and needed to do. It's now taking up more time than DOING anything. There's a thought... if I didn't give the "not doing" any energy at all, then I'd probably DO. That is very interesting. That's how I've been feeding the monster. Monster doesn't care what he gets me talking about so long as he keeps me busy NOT changing anything, really. That's what all the monsters are afraid of. Things changing. (I've always known that, haven't i? So why do I let the Procrastination monster - King of the fear-of-change crowd - have such a hold on me? Because I've been fooled into giving him attention. - Feeding him.

I think this is very important. So it's about not letting myself spend time on Why Didn't I? or I should or Why Can't I? But on How will I? When will I? What will I do? No feeling BAD about what hasn't been done.

Does this make sense to anybody? Right now, it feels really like a key for me, because I've spent so much time on (thinking about why I haven't even started) one particular project that it's exhausting me. My home's been needing a makeover from long before my husband moved out. Before he went, I think any change was going to precipitate a landslide of change, and we were all just holding everything as it was, including clutter and familiar STUFF. After he left, there was an initial burst of clearing (thanks to my sister for helping), and at this stage all his belongings have been removed, but there is a psychic energy left that needs clearing, and that means - if I'm not moving house - repainting, reflooring, refurnishing. I can afford to do it (if I don't try to go for high-end-of-the-market stuff). I just haven't gotten going. Any wisdom? Any suggestions?

It just feels good to say this out here. I still don't know why THAT is, but there you are!

Minutes later: Ooops.. look what I've done. I've just invited all of you to help me feed my monster! Have I? Just when I thought I'd got a grip on this, it slips away.

Maybe an hour later: That procrastination monster, once he's named, seems to just get smaller and smaller and smaller. I've done two of the things that I've been putting off for (1) months and (2) years. There's a painter coming tomorrow to take a look and give me a quote for the work that needs to be done. And I've arranged healthcare cover in my own name. It was hard to just make the call and say I'm no longer covered under a "family" policy. But I've done the grown-up thing. It's done.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Scribbling -- Feeding The Monster

This week's prompt at Sunday Scribblings is The Monster. When I started to write, I intended to go in one direction, but I think the monster took over. When I ended it, I was aware that I could keep writing and turn it around to where I meant it to go in the first place, but the monster took hold of my hand, and refused to let me change it. Here is my 5-minute burst on The MONSTER:

The monster that comes to my door is a clever monster. He does not shout and pound at the entrance to my house. He comes quietly, and appears docile, disguises his true nature, and makes me open my door to his pleading and whining. “I’m hungry” he says, “so hungry.” I am not inclined to feed a stranger who looks odd, who looks, somehow, like there are dark and hidden intentions, but I am also polite, well-schooled in proper behaviour, and when someone says they are hungry, it’s only good manners to feed them, especially if they then say. “Please, please… just a little food. If you feed me, then I will go away.”

Folly! I should have known. (I do know, in the marrow of my bone, I do know, but I do not always listen to my promptings). What my inner voice says is “If you feed him, he will get stronger. If you feed him, he will think he belongs here. If you feed him, you will never be rid of him.” But, I offer a little, because I am a polite and well-brought up person. I open my cupboard, and bring bread. The monster’s eye glitters. “Bread” he says. Ah… “would you perhaps have a little marmalade I could spread on it? Something bitter and with a scraping of peel within?” My turn to retrieve the jar is interrupted with his request for tea. Piping hot.

Feeding the monster takes all morning. His polite requests turn to less polite ones, then to demands and orders, and I rush to comply. He grows as I shrink. He becomes stronger as I find my limbs shaking and my eyes unable to focus. When he roars for turnips with brown sauce, I find my chin trembling, and suddenly my tears are coursing down my cheeks and I am pleading please, please, go away. I have no more to feed you. You have taken everything I have.

The monster regards me impassively. “Oh no", he says, "I have not begun to take what you have. ... But soon, soon, I will begin. Now that you are ready to offer. I will begin."

There will be more Monstrous Tales HERE at Sunday Scribblings

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poetry Thursday. Time

This week's prompt at Poetry Thursday is Time. No further instructions, directions or requests applied, so I'm interpreting it by picking out the first poem from my folder that has a Time Theme. Sorry, but I appear to have a bottomless well of these self-pitying poems. Bear with me. It has to pass, and something else will begin to appear eventually.

The Third Summer

And this one has more sunshine.
I am wearing clothes you’ve never touched.

This one, I am sleeping lightly:
awake to see the stars
slip into turquoise silk and go.
And in the garden when the day is sunny,
no-one but me. –

A thrush, a butterfly,
a pollen-drunk bumble-bee
and me.

There will be more Poetry Thursday poems HERE.


Monday, August 21, 2006

One Deep Breath..... Music

This week's theme at One Deep Breath is Music. Ah.

Bob, Joni, Neil, James -

voices that filled teenage days

still comfort, still soothe

To see what other participants hear, go HERE.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Now look what you've started! And Other Things

Yesterday's Sunday Scribbling post started something. I can't stop thinking in Trixie's voice! What would she be saying about that? What does she make of this? And then Alexandra said she should have a blog, and I think, as an experiment, she should. So Trixie will be blogging (for a while at least) HERE. That was great fun, allowing her her say, and I've gotten so much out of reading the posts that were already up by last night - Saturday. See, it wasn't even Sunday yet, and the thing was having a big impact.

That came at the end of a week that's been busy and productive. I said that when I got back from my last trip away, I'd be beginning the grown-up business of putting a life together (as in means of income. Work. That sort of thing), and I began, and it's been wonderful that things are beginning to fall into place in very strange ways. It's another application of the If You Build It They Will Come principle. I just started to put my CV (resume) out there, and I've been getting very positive responses, and already some offers of work that suit me very well. It's not going to be as easy as having a full-time job, but what I want to try to do over the coming year is to build up the range of courses and workshops I can offer, and promote them, and this week I've had offers to do four different things. - It makes me feel very positive and hopeful and motivated to take the next steps in putting this life together.

I went shopping for something to wear at my niece's wedding in September. I got an outfit that I like. That sounds very blah. It is a very blah statement. Fact is, I've been steadily gaining weight during this summer (There! I said it! and the sky hasn't fallen down!), and I don't feel particularly good in anything. BUT - there are three weeks to go, and what I've decided is that I can't lose the weight in that time, but I can eat healthily during that time, and not feel bloated and Ugh-y when it comes to it, so I have some hope of feeling good in my new outfit. I can begin going to the gym again. (Interesting, the weight-gain began at just about the same time I abandoned my thrice-weekly visits to Curves - any connection, do you think?)

And I'm going to start something I don't do enough of. I bought the yarn to knit a pretty little bolero for my little niece, who is to be flower-girl at the big niece's wedding, and am looking forward to getting into that.

And I'm sharing a picture from a walk I took with my sister two weeks ago in a peaceful spot where we watched dragonflies and herons, and regretted we hadn't realised how pleasant the day would be, because it's just the spot for a picnic, and if we're lucky, before Summer is completely over, we'll get back there, with a flask of tea and some sandwiches!

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sunday Scribbling - A Dog's Life

Over at Sunday Scribblings, this week's topic is the Inner Life of your Pet. I've enjoyed imagining what my dog's musings might be. Here goes with Trixie's first entry for Sunday Scribblings:

It’s too late for new tricks with me. Not that there ever was much in the way of tricks in my life. My lady has always had too much respect for me, treated me as a companion animal, not just a pet, and she seemed to know that, while I might have enjoyed the attention that goes along with being a show-dog, I wouldn’t have stood still to be examined by strange hands, and certainly wouldn’t have gone in the direction some rules said I should. So we lived our lives without all that brou-ha-ha, thank you very much. The grooming would have been pleasant…. No, the result of the grooming would have been nice – a silky coat down to the ground, a little velvet ribbon for my top-knot, but all that brushing and having to wear a coat all the time, with my hair wound into little piles. – No, thanks, not for me. I may be long in the tooth, but I still prefer a no-nonsense puppy-cut, that I can roll in the grass with, and not worry about picking up “stuff” too much. My lady gets it out for me, keeps me (relatively) clean. Neither of us really want to go overboard on the grooming. Tidy and clean does us both just fine.

These days – as you gathered – it’s just my lady and me. There was a time when there were men in my life, but not any more. They come visit, the young one and the old, and I’m always glad to see them, but when they go, I don’t notice their absence until I get a sniff of a shoe or something falls from the hot press with a familiar scent. It’s true there’s something pleasant about a man’s hand on your rump, and I used to enjoy the way he’d rub my ears, but I’ve learnt to live without, and me and my lady have pleasant tummy-rubbing moments. The old, when he comes – only once in a blue moon - always says “Hello, Trixie, how are you?” and I wag and wag (to let him know I’m fine), and he rubs my head, and gives a sigh. The young comes more often, but his greeting is a strange one. He asks “Is the rat still alive?” He calls me the rat, and pretends not to like me. It’s not my fault that I’m small. That’s the nature of my breed. And he should remember my puppy days, and all the puppy-cuddling he did when we first met. In fact (and this is a secret, a big secret) he does remember. When my lady’s watching TV, and he’s on the floor, making phone-calls to his girlfriend, he puts me on his lap, and idly rubs my back, and my head, over and back, gently, very gently. And I have heard him whisper my name. Now the secret’s out!

My name. Trixie. Seems silly for an old lady like me. It suited me as a pup, but sometimes I think I should claim my full title, now that I’m a grand-dame of 14 years. Lochokell Kirsty would be a more suitable name, I think. But then, I climb to the top of the garden, sit in the sunshine a bit, and think – Get over it, get over yourself, Girl. Trixie’s always been your name. Stick with it. So I will.

I don’t have much choice anyway. My lady would never call me anything else. We rub along fine, me and her. She spends a lot of time out of the house, but she makes sure there’s water and biscuit for me. Mind you, these days, I just sleep, to tell you the truth. Life is one long round of naps and feeds. I do amble from room to room, - rocking chair nap in the kitchen, couches in the study and living-room, cushion on the patio (if the sun’s shining), patch of carpet in the hallway, just at the bottom of the stairs. Those are my sleeping spots. Yes, I have an official bed. Yes, I even sleep in it sometimes, but mostly it’s whatever room my lady is in, I like to be there too. She has allowed me to sleep on her bed, and I don’t abuse the privilege, I can tell you. I really appreciate that, because for many years I was in the kitchen, and would have to make a very undignified racket to let them know if I wanted to go outside, but now, I only have to nudge her around the knees, and I can get to go out without having to so much as whine.

Life is good. There are times I wonder about those dogs that have freedom to wander about the street, and the idea of having puppies – what would it have been like? Sometimes, I wish I enjoyed traveling in the car, but I just can’t get past the idea that we were meant to move about on four legs, not four wheels. My world is a small one, but my life has been a good one, with no trauma to speak of, and I’ve always been loved. That is what counts. To love and be loved. And… I love my lady. She is my world. And I think I am a very important part of hers. Yes. Life is good.

What I might have looked like! Imagine! Supermodel material!

See what other Sunday Scribblers had to say HERE

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Poetry Thursday. Whatever You're Having, Yourself

Today's theme at Poetry Thursday is free. Whatever you fancy. What? No direction? I'm not usually good at sticking to the theme, but I like to know what it is I'm NOT doing! This throws me a bit, so I'm reverting to one of the previous (completely and totally) optional prompts, on the theme of food... which means recipes... so this week's offering is:

Recipe for a Good Old Age

Into a life of regular length
pack, to overflowing, people:
all kinds. Mix them well,
keep adding, especially
tender young ones that chuckle.
Remove any whiners
that rise to the top.

Stir periodically.
If it seems to be thin or flavourless,
move the whole pot somewhere warm
and bright for a while. Add spices.

Decorate with the unusual and offbeat,
whatever will mark this dish as unique.

Between times of agitation,
let the whole rest.
Admire it. See it as good.

Then test it with a little shake.
Toss it up a bit.
Add another idea, another friend.
Another dose of sunshine.

See what other participants have to offer HERE


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

One Deep Breath ..... Tea

The participants at One Deep Breath share a haiku, or two, or even three each week, on a given theme. This week's theme is Tea and Coffee. I've missed out on participating a few weeks (as with many other of these weekly challenges or prompts), but I've been able to read over most of them, and it strikes me again what a beautiful form haiku is. It does give us pause, to breathe. There's a sigh that comes with a haiku. A letting down of something. This isn't one of the groups that calls huge numbers to participate (yet), but it is quietly offering peace and tranquility in a lovely way. Thanks to Susan and Jennifer who organise the group.

Here's what came having visited two dear friends this evening, and shared tea with them.

Tea / Chai

sit at their table
for tea, with sweet tastes and talk.
Persian-scented air

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sunday Scribbling - Who Else Can I Still Be?

Although I missed out on doing last week's prompt (mea culpa... when I counted up, I found that, of the 19 prompts offered so far, I've only done 10 of them. I seem to be away at weekends a LOT!) I still wanted to do this week's. Yes, it might have turned out differently if I'd written last week, but I am where I am, so I just chose to write and see what came out. It turned out to suit my most recent SoulCollage (tm) card, so that's what I've added at the end!

Who else can I still be?

I can still be the woman who has learnt to put the past behind her. There is still space for me to become someone who doesn’t mind any more having lost, someone who will say with grace and ease “Ah, yes, there was a husband… but that was long ago, and doesn’t matter any more” I still have time to become someone for whom none of that really matters at all. Someone who is not troubled by regrets or overtaken by tears at strange times

She will live easy in the world, this woman, moving lightly from place to place, open and connecting with people she meets. The woman I might become has found the balance – the balances that I’ve been seeking. She can speak of herself and her life without boring others. She is in a place that is the perfect medium between aloof and intrusive. She doesn’t worry about the future, but she looks to it at the same time, and sees to it that she does the necessary things.

I can still be a woman who values the woman I am now, who brings her along, shelters her and praises her, knows the path she has trodden, and knows, when she looks back, that I did what I could, given my circumstances and resources. She will have no blame for me, and no bitterness for others. She will carry the past as a basket of treasures, rough and smooth gems, items that can be identified, and others that can be just felt, picked up and smoothed, touched to a cheek in blessing.

Maybe I can still become a woman who knows things other women need to hear, a woman who can share, and walk along the path with others. I can still be strong. I can still be wise. I can walk into the world proud in my skin, upright and capable. I can claim my place in the next phase of my life, begin to see the marks of Cronehood as marks of honour, begin to laugh more loudly, and to pay less attention to the rules. I can still become a woman who has the best qualities of my mother and grandmother in me. I can still become a woman who, without having a daughter, can pass those qualities to other women, or praise them and value them in friends, nieces, the sisters of the soul who come my way. Who else can I still be? I still have the chance to become fully, completely, wonderfully, Me.

The Crone

Other Sunday Scribblings are HERE

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Poetry Thursday. Unfinished Business

It's the theme. Brings me back again to another of my "marriage break-up" poems. Sorry. But it has that air to it. What's left to be done. What's not finished. In fact, since the poem was written, some of the stuff has been seen to. But not all. Still unfinished. Those memories. ...

101 things he didn’t take

picture of Ben Bulben
picture of his parents,
picture of us when our son was a year old,
any photographs at all,
any crystal,
any china,
the good pots,
the second-best bedlinen,
old towels,
books he didn’t want,
records he can’t play,
plants from the house,
plants from the garden.

You get the picture.
A thousand-and-one things
he didn’t take,
when you add them all up.

And swirling in the air still,
memories he didn’t take,
words spoken,
what’s left behind for me to gather,
put away, dispose of –
the past, the past, the past.

You'll find more Poetry Thursday participants HERE.