Monday, 28 February 2011

Art, Identity and Connectivity

A query trouble has come upon me. Reading part 2 of Rima Staines' insightful interview Around the Table, I find myself musing on how being an artist affects my connections with people.

In my last post I said that one of the reasons I blog is to discover new friends and to offer friendship out to the world. That is certainly true. What I am realising right now, in my solar plexus, is how in some cases this dive into my creatrix heart pulls me further from other areas of my life weave.

Choosing my side of the fence

There has to be sacrifice. As I allow the muse increasing control in my daily life (in between the obvious 'now I am doing art' bits), I am attracting beautiful, wonderful, inspirational people into my orbit. And, too, I am watching helplessly as other friends, also beautiful and wonderful and inspirational, spin out of my orbit, our hands outstretched in an attempt to regrasp even as we wave goodbye. 

 Signals in the dark
(Me in the middle)

I'm not talking about falling out with people, it is more subtle than that. Simply, perhaps, that as I become more definite about my shape I find I cannot tessellate, sit comfortably next to, people with whom I have shared space for years.
It is telling that these people are always on the fringes of my life. Those who are closest to my heart just crank up their magnetism to match mine and we are joined with greater strength.

So, in the midst of the joy which garnishes the days, I find a little hollow space for a lonely feeling as I let go of the people who can no longer recognise me for the friend they once met. I know this is okay, but I feel this is achey. 

 Always leaving someone behind
(Devon's Jurassic Coast)

And there is a question in me about who these peripheral, ephemeral friends were attracted to if not the real, creatrix me. It doesn't matter. It isn't quite me, so it doesn't quite work. 

Now I have paused and asked myself, Who are these people I'm writing about? What are their names? And the answers are not clear. It is more that I feel I have chosen this mountain to climb and I can see lots of people I think I would love to climb with on another mountain; I remember us all gathering at the feet of our lives and making choices. I didn't know (despite being told) that when I chose where to climb, who to follow, who to tie myself onto, I also chose who I would not meet again until we Hallooed from distant peaks. 

Myself and good friends
walking to Tyncornel Hostel 

I am lonely for all the people climbing a different mountain to me. There is space in my heart for everybody, but time in my life for so few, it seems.

Wherever you climb, may the view be worth it.

Wast Water 
Taken by my climbing partner Thomas Hine

Monday, 21 February 2011

Reasons to be Blogging, One, Two, Three

To follow this bandwagon from it's first trundle out the barn doors, take a look at these (recommended) posts: John Barleycorn Must Die, Terri Windling's Studio, a mermaid in the attic and Ravenwood Forest. Or just hop on now and ride along with me while I give you my tuppence worth.

We (an organic web of blogs within the ww web)  have been pondering the whys of blogging; what it does for us as people, as artists, as earners, and what we can give through it.

For me, it's a kind of apprenticeship. I am upfront about still being in the process of 'finding my wings' and through this wonderful network of words I find inspiration, tuition, encouragement and discussion to broaden and deepen my writing and visual art. I think I'm trying to say that I find friends here. And I very much want to say that I offer friendship here. Maybe that's the heart of it.

 Unzip your doors and come make a fire with me.
Bring marshmallows!

I'm learning from those of you who have been flying with strength and grace for many years (and thank you, thank you for that), but I, too, have some things which I know; thoughts, creations, perspectives, which are uniquely my own and may, perhaps, be a help to someone following behind me. Our dust-trail caravan stretches far in both directions.

Here are two of the most useful posts I have discovered on my recent ether-travels:

For writers, here is an interview with Stuart Aken, about publishing on Kindle.

And for artists, a fascinating and insightful piece by Graham Hanks on modern colour theory - it may not be what you expect!

Because I have a secret dictionary addiction, I fancy drawing attention to a magnificent 'word for the day'. Today's offering is:

pettifogging : quibbling over insignificant details.

This word is on the endangered list, so your challenge is to use it sometime today, to keep it alive and well.
And my stone for the day:

Rain quenches the earth,
Gives shoots a root-up,
Bulges buds to bursting;
Drenches my sadness through
So I must peel it off
And be glad.

And speaking of gladness, a special thank you to Claire de La Luz for making me top of her favourites list. What a pleasure :o).

Do please keep sending me your words and images for Happiness Week
What really makes you smile?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Twice in One Day :o).

Just a quickie, folks. I took Valentine's Day off to hang out with my favourite loves (including tulips and chocolate) and am feeling the consequences.

Today is another fun day. While trawling through my emails I found two acceptances from publishers! Well, one is actually Wordquest, an organisation promoting literature from and/or about Devon. As part of this they're printing lots of free bookmarks and for one month they will carry a poem of mine. This seems a lovely project to have toe in and I'm delighted they chose me.

Another poem of mine - one of my small stones - will be published in 'pay attention: a river of stones'. So a big hooray for all that. And just when I was wondering whether I might be wasting time I could spend earning for my family.

And a stone for today:

If inspiration never came,
Perhaps I could
Arrange some words
Into the shape
Of a poem
And no-one
Would notice.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

What I REALLY want to be doing


Recently, the universe has been sending me the message to look at what I really want to be doing. This has been through various blogs, emails, books, conversations, so, okay, message received. Here is my answer.

Immediately it felt that this was about my art work. I've got multiple writing deadlines and I'm enjoying the challenge of meeting them. I'm keeping up with my homework for the class I'm taking in life writing. Family's all good (teething aside) and even a rocky friendship has lately been strengthened against slippage. So, my art.

But don't I love painting? I'm on the verge of sorting out my studio (will show you the transformative makeover in a future post) and I've got an exhibition to work towards in September - a happy time away.

In my (pre-makeover) studio, 
with a pinny (because I'm messy) 
over my coat (because I have no heating)

But when I stopped and visualised myself making art which no-one else was ever going to see, I wasn't painting! I was on the floor (often a very creative place in our house) doodling patterns with felt tips. 

Felt tips! They're for kids!

Well, I've never pretended to be a grown up. And, of course, now I've given it a go, it's the most fun I've had (art-wise) in a while and I'm liking the results so much I might even exhibit them. Had a brief wobble about writing 'Felt tip on Canvas' in the description, but decided to have faith in my medium.

Here's the very beginnings. Let me know what you think. And would you be put off buying a piece of art which was done with felt tips? Might it in some way add to the fun of it?

 First Pattern; Early Stages

If you need inspiration to contribute to my Happiness Week, here are five three-minute films about people taking the Action for Happiness Challenge.

And to keep the love spreading beyond that week, why not join the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation?

But if you're the one in need of a smile, check out this rejection letter sent to Gertrude Stein. 

Bright sunlight
Fine rain
I can't see the rainbow
But I feel it

Monday, 7 February 2011

Three Reasons to be Delighted

I know delight is a slightly old-fashioned concept. We're supposed to be too savvy and emotionally stable for the kind of childish, skipping glee which delight brings. Well, I'm suggesting we all take a little hiatus from mood austerity. Don't panic, you can always get back to it by reading a newspaper.

So, the first reason to skip and clap is your opportunity to spread some smiles. during Happiness Week. I've mentioned Action For Happiness before (and I will again)and you may know that I have committed to devote a week of blogging to the cause, starting from the launch date of April 11th, with a little help from my friends. Here, I'd like to clarify what you can do to be part of this:

I'm collecting stories (true and fictional), images (photographic and fine art) and poems (including small stones) which will bring smiles, warm hearts, ease minds, to post over the course of my Happiness Week on this blog. Obviously these would be credited to you, so they can also function as a promotion of your skills. They do not need to be twee or saccharine. Sometimes a story of a hard time survived is incredibly uplifting, and images of conflict vanquished can inspire us when we most need it. My only criteria are that it is in some way uplifting and I am personally happy to post it as part of my blog. Please contribute whatever you wish, to:

We feed the birds,
then reap our reward as 
our daughter laughs at them

The second reason to spin and giggle is the imminent publication  (8th March 2011) of 100 Stories for Queensland. This is an innovative charity project which will give 100% of its profits to the Queensland Flood Appeal. And the really terrific thing about it is that it includes one of my stories, 'Cake'. And what's not to like about supporting an important charity and reading about, (amongst 99 other things) cake? Do buy a copy if you can.

 Rainbow Cake
Made by our friend Tash

And the third reason to run kicking your own bottom (I tried it recently for the first time in years and it's still the most fun way to travel) is the most compelling: If you're honest with yourself, you're a good person. You get satisfaction from lending a hand occasionally. Seeing others be open-hearted and brave moves you. I know you're far from perfect, and there's been a time or two when you really, really messed up, but how else would you know what you know now? Basically, spreading a little love makes you feel good. And the beauty of this is, it's true for everyone. You know you want the best for the people you meet. Now the trick is to trust that they want the same for you.  So, when you're next skipping, spinning, or running down the street, give out some smiles and watch for them coming back round to you.

Spring is coming!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

In Memory of Rose

In Memory of Rose

She was born with a broken heart.
Aged six, they mended her heart,
But emptied her mind.
Fourteen more years
Of every kind of care.
Today, her heart-broken parents
Release her back to the Earth
And weep for so many reasons.

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