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If we were having coffee: Art and inspiration edition

Moon and reflections.
Moon and reflections.

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

Cotton ball clouds.
Cotton ball clouds.

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.

Reaching for the moon.
Reaching for the moon.

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?

Sunset reflection on Back Creek.
Sunset reflection on Back Creek.

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.

Moon over loblolly pine.
Moon over loblolly pine.

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.

One more look at yesterday's moon because it was pretty with the sunset clouds sweeping through.
One more look at yesterday’s moon because it was pretty with the sunset clouds sweeping through.

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.

Helix in the sky.
Helix in the sky.

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.

Clouds floating on the surface.
Clouds floating on the surface.

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:

The Color Run. July 2012.
The Color Run. July 2012.  And yes, I participated.  For the pure joy of it.

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

A big cloud of colorful joy. (The Color Run. June 2012.)
A big cloud of colorful joy. (The Color Run. June 2012.)

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.

Drama in the sky.
Drama in the sky.

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.

Sunset silhouettes.
Sunset silhouettes.

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.

Found this guy or gal on the deck when I went out to watch the sunset yesterday.
Found this guy or gal on the deck when I went out to watch the sunset yesterday.

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.

At the finish line. The Color Run. July 2012.
Just after passing the finish line. The Color Run. July 2012.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

26 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: Art and inspiration edition

    1. It’s one of those books I think I’ll keep, at least for a while, Kathy. Very inspiring. It’s also a good kick in the butt, albeit in a very nice — and magical — way. 😀

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      1. Robin, after thinking more about the idea of welcoming “big magic”… and how I had wondered in September if any “big magic” might arrive after reading her new book… (which had seemed to have happened after reading “eat pray love” and “The Signature of All Things” )…Robin, I think there has been some abundant, timely, serendipitous, creative big magic that arrived… some creative ideas that arrived just in the nick of time…ideas that soothe and inspire me, as I understand and adjust to the recent losses of my aunt and my mother…
        Isn’t that remarkable? I HAD wondered if any inspirations or “magic” would arrive and FOUR major ones did…I’m so deeply appreciative of the encouragement and inspiration that I felt coming through Elizabeth Gilbert’s ideas.
        If you go way down toward the bottom of this linked post, what “arrived” is there… what a blessing they are for me! (they are a synthesis of many years of reading, study, reflection, pondering, observing and wondering…. those wisdom ideas coming together in their very own way… ) Link: http://pocketperspectives.com/plant-flowers/big-magic-coincidences/ (“Beauty and Grace” is my favorite…it deeply touches and moves my heart…I love that booklet…and it’s offering me gentle comfort and beauty right now.)
        I hope the delightful Big Magic ideas will have abundant positive impacts for you too…..

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am so sorry for your losses, Kathy. I knew about your aunt, but didn’t know about your mother. Big hugs to you. ❤ Thank you for the link. I’m on my way over now to have a look.

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  1. I always wanted to do a color run. But then there are lots of things I always wanted to do. I am like you, queen of procrastination. I have unfinished sweaters, unfinished paintings, unfinished journals (but are those ever finished?), cabinets filled with stuff that needs to be set free. I think about clearing out one room at a time. Then I think I’ll think about it some more. I swear if I weren’t married I’d turn into that hoarder person you see on TV.

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should find one and do, Dawn! It’s so much fun. You don’t have to run it. I walked. They give you plenty of time to walk it. It seemed like everyone participating was having a blast, and that kind of joy is contagious.

      I know what you mean about turning into a hoarder person. It took me a long time to let go of things. I started with books I’ll never read again (enough books, it turned out, to help them open a small branch of the local library I donated them to). And oh gosh, journals! I have so many. For a while I was doing collages or gluing articles I wanted to save over the pages I’d used in my old journals, the ones I didn’t use for more than a few days or weeks. It just didn’t seem worth saving them for a few days or a few weeks of writing, and usually it was all whine, whine, whine anyhow.

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  2. i just got me unstuck and i cleaned my son’s room he is coming home for thanksgiving break
    due to his aspergers i have often felt fear and then waited to touch the room but this seems to create more stress , so i did it today and i called him to describe the changes and to let him know what to expect….i am wanting to finish the wortcunners book and I did read Big Magic and I liked it very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As always, the photos are stunning! I love the quotes you’ve laid out here, too, especially that first one.

    I have a similar concern with most book series, too. I generally don’t read them until the last one has been published. Just too fraught with potential for the author not to finish, alas.

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  4. Lots of good, sound advice for moving on and letting go of what no longer fits. I think maybe you leave projects unfinished because you know they are not right for you at the time. Finishing what you start makes sense so long as you are enjoying yourself, but if it no longer fits, discard and find something else. I think more of us are coming to that conclusion, freeing ourselves from old rules that no longer fit. Our souls need to find their own, true expression, right?
    Love your moon shots, they are dreamy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂
      Absolutely right! I think that may be true about things that no longer fit, but I’ve also jumped in to things that I thought would be easy and then found that it would require a lot of time, patience, and practice. Hmmm… of course, if I felt passionate about it, I would have devoted the time and had the patience to practice. So, you’re right again! 😀

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  5. If we were having coffee, I would be chuckling at your words about unfinished projects and your art desk. I have a friend who said, when she was packing to move to a new home, her life was full of good intentions – all of those materials she had bought for projects she was going to do – and never did. I have a cabinet I built when I was doing that kind of thing full of “stuff” – remnants of hobbies I once obsessed over. I also have a craft desk – with bits and pieces of more recent hobbies I obsessed over scattered about. And shelves filled with yarn and other bits and pieces. I have discarded some things, but have trouble ridding myself of everything because – you never know when I might need one of those things. There are those empty canvases, the paints I bought because I was certain I would paint again, the easel sitting, unused, in the corner. . . but now I am so busy doing nothing, there is just no time and my muse is on vacation. There is always tomorrow.

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  6. Oh my goodness, another photo of you, that’s two in a week, isn’t it? I love them, keep those photos coming. 🙂

    Your art and craft supplies sound like a dream to me. I probably have as many as you do, but with you arranging all of the contents of your art desk together in just a few words, I feel like scrapping the days plans and getting into some projects. Lol…

    I loved the opening quote today. I haven’t heard of Charles de Lint either, so will look up the book you mentioned. Big Magic is another book on my list of ” To Read”. I have read all of Elizabeth Gilbert’s previous books and will continue my tradition. She really does motivate me to forget the idea of being a perfectionist, and to just get things done, regardless.

    Today, I have a huge day ahead of me, sewing, as I have orders to fill, so really must make a genuine effort not to become distracted ~ those shiny things do have a way of catching our eye, don’t they. 😉

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  7. Robin, I always love your posts, and this one I especially love – there is so much in it that I can identify with, I don’t know where to begin! And it’s always fun to hear about nature at your place – so many of the same species as here despite the width of the continent separating us. We don’t have cardinals, we do have tons of juncos, and all the other birds you list are waiting for our feeder to go up as well.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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