I don’t know your story or your dreams or the things that steal your sleep, but I know they matter. I hope your story is rich with characters, rich with friends and conversation. I hope you know some people who carry you, and I hope you have the honor of carrying them. I hope that there’s beauty in your memories, and I hope it doesn’t haunt you. And if it does, then I hope there is someone who will walk you through the night and remind you of the promise of the sunrise, that beauty keeps coming, that there are futures worth waiting and fighting for, and that you were made to dream.
~ Jamie Tworkowski
If we were having coffee or tea or some other beverage, I would welcome you back with open arms, open heart, and open mind. It is a joy to see you again. Come on in. Let’s grab our beverages along with something to nosh on, and have a seat on the back porch so we can enjoy the view of the woods and the marsh while we chat. There have been a lot of birds in the backyard lately, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we got lost in watching the birds for a while. Flickers, bluebirds, finches, sparrows, woodpeckers, robins, blue jays, chickadees, and cardinals are all flitting around back there. I haven’t seen any juncos yet, but they are probably around somewhere. Sometimes I wonder if the birds remember where the feeders were last year. We haven’t put the feeders up yet. There is plenty for the birds to eat in the trees, vines, and meadows. Still, the birds hang out in the area where we usually keep the feeders, as if waiting for them to go up.
Please pardon the mess as we move through the great room/living room area. M and I finished painting it yesterday. It looks so much better, don’t you think? All light and bright and airy. M is getting a start on installing the floor today. Furniture and other things (including great piles of books) are scattered about everywhere while he works on that.
How are you? What have you been doing with your time and life lately? Have you traveled anywhere or seen any new sights? Have you taken any good walks or hikes? Watched a sunrise or sunset? A moon rise or moon set? Gone out at night to look at the stars? Have you spent time with family or friends? Read any good books or seen any good films? Are you writing your own book or creating your own film?
If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would tell you that I am currently reading Moonheart by Charles de Lint and enjoying it very much because it’s magic. And about magic. We all know I love all things magic (such as sunrises and sunsets and cotton ball clouds and reflections on water). I’ve used some of Charles de Lint’s words as openings to past blog posts, and this is one of my favorites (although not from “Moonheart,” or at least I don’t think it is, but I’m not sure):
I want to be magic. I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile. I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree. Or under a hill. I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing. I don’t want to pretend at magic anymore. I want to be magic.
My only problem with the book is that it is the first in a series, and I keep swearing off series. With good reason. In my experience, the author dies before the series is finished (Frank Herbert and Robert Jordan to name two, and do you think that G. R. R. Martin will make it to the end of his series?). However, it seems that the books in de Lint’s various series (and there are several) are written to stand alone, and do not have to be read in any particular order. So, you see, there is no problem at all.
I am also reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I should be finished with it today. I love it. I don’t think Gilbert has invented anything new with this book, but I love it anyway. It’s like a big pep talk. Get on with it! Finish what you started! Inspiration is not going to hang around forever waiting for you to do the work. I also love her idea that inspiration or ideas are living things, floating around out there looking for the right home. Perhaps I love it because it is the perfect book for me to be reading right now given my lack of discipline with My Novel. I can’t begin to tell you how weird it feels to type “my novel.” I suspect that has been part of the problem. I am writing. It is intended to be a book. Therefore, it is my novel. Yet every time I go to write or say “my novel,” I hesitate. Well, the heck with that and all the other creative angst. Time to embrace and do what I love.
The chapter that really spoke to me in “Big Magic” is the one titled “Done Is Better Than Good.” Gilbert points out that most people don’t finish things. I’m pretty sure she got inside my head somehow when she wrote this chapter. I am the Queen of Unfinished Projects, the Diva of the Undone. I either get frustrated when it doesn’t come easy or, and this is more likely, I get distracted by a Bigger And Better Project. While I’m busy being distracted by other shiny objects, the original project calls to me to come back and finish. I ignore it until it becomes another unfinished project, dead to the world. Or dead to me. As Gilbert points out, ideas and inspiration will move on to someone else if you’re not willing to work with them. I have seen that happen with a few of my ideas. I don’t blame the ideas or those who gave them a home. Someone had to do the work, and if wasn’t going to be me, I’m glad someone else did. It would be a shame to see a good idea go to waste.
When I think about it, I have finished quite a few things in life, and I find it interesting that very often I have completed those things without the least concern for the outcome. They are things I did for the pure joy of it, not because I expected to succeed, and because I did them for the pure joy of it, it was like this:
Writing is like that, too, when I stop thinking about outcomes (or word counts or “winning”). Photography, too. I think I’ll take Gilbert’s advice and find a different measure of success.
Do what you love to do, and do it with both seriousness and lightness. At least then you will know that you have tried and that — whatever the outcome — you have traveled a noble path.
… When it’s for love, you will always do it anyhow.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
If we were having coffee or tea or some other beverage, I would tell you that I recently made the decision to clean up the art desk. The art desk is where future ideas and unfinished projects go to die. Seriously. Even before reading “Big Magic” I knew I had to make some decisions about where I want to direct my time and energy. And yes, discipline. I have dabbled in a lot of different creative things and ideas, and that has been lovely, but I’ve come to see that some of my dabbling has actually been a form of procrastination. It is also stressful in that there are piles of unfinished projects, and reams of unfulfilled ideas.
If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would invite you into the room we call the office where the art desk is located, and ask if you would like some art supplies. Do you like to make collages? I did at one time. I made them while I was recovering from a back injury that had me crippled in pain for a long while. It was a good way to work through the pain. Art is a good way to work through a lot of crap that happens in life. It is a good way to celebrate the joys and magic, too.
I will keep the pencils and sketchbooks because I still use them, but would you care for some paints? I have acrylics and watercolors. Gesso anyone? I will also keep the glues and spangles and glitter. My granddaughters enjoy using those. Back to the collages I mentioned a moment ago, how about some magazines? I have a wide variety of them including some with wonderful artwork (Sage Woman magazines) and beautiful nature photography (National Geographic). Looking for inspirational words for those collages? How about Yoga Journal? I also have a collection of old greeting cards and paper scraps that are great for collages. Oh, and let’s not forget the old chemistry books prepped to be turned into art journals! I’ve had them for seven years and never done anything more than prep them. It’s time to let those go, too.
If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would think it’s time to turn this over to you. I’ve babbled enough. Thank you so much for visiting. I truly do enjoy our coffee chats. I don’t think we’ll see the sunset today. We have one of those cold front and spinning low combinations moving through which means rain and clouds, and I don’t think it will move through before sunset. Stay awhile on the porch if you wish. There’s plenty of coffee or tea or whatever you’d like to drink. I’m making some sort of comfort food for dinner although I haven’t come to a firm decision just yet. I have to check the fridge and pantry to see what’s available, but I’m thinking Chickpea Picatta over mashed potatoes and greens. You’re welcome to join us, whatever dinner it turns out to be. I always make plenty.
Be good, be kind, be loving, be well. Just Be. 🙂
This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us. I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.