Writing and dreaming and stargazing

lunapicmorningstar

I am a story teller in search of a story.

A dreamer, a stargazer,

searching an imaginary sky,

for distant galaxies of meaning

and metaphor–

trusting that somewhere,

beyond thedark matter–

of a blocked imagination–

there is a something waiting to be seen.

A stargazer knows that  beyond the glimmer

of a billion years lies astonishment.

And I must trust  that beyond the disappointment

of my failed experiments, and my unfinished drafts,

beyond the storms of my own fear and shame,

beyond all the evidence that I will fail,

there is something that can only be imagined by me

A story–poem–a painting that only I  can tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

lunapic_136700294065435_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some work in progress–The beginning of a story

My Scribbled Secret Notebooks

This is the beginning of a story that I scribbled down in the coffee shop today.
I have had this idea in the back of my mind for a while.
It showed up in my notebook today like this.

My grandmother was quiet and mysterious and knew mysterious things.

She was part gypsy, at least that is what I grew up believing.

She could heal wounds, and cure sickness, and she always knew how things would turn out.

She could predict bad news, and see right through untrustworthy people.

She knew what to do about both.

She had secret recipes, and special remedies,

and wise old sayings, to fit every situation.

She believed in good luck and friendly forces.

She also believed in the unfriendly forces,

and she took great pains to protect us from them.

I would watch her fill a little cloth bag with needles,

and nails and…

View original post 503 more words

Mind your own business

Scan
“There are only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s.” ~ Byron Katie

Today, I had the urge to write about something that I was outraged about. I was annoyed  about a particular internet  art star. I wanted to be the kid in the crowd who cries out that the emperor has no clothes. But I changed my mind. And even if I am right and the emperor is truly naked a lot of people love her. A lot of people hang on her every word and lavish fawning praise every time she overshares on her facebook fan page.

My grandmother used to say- “A still tongue in a wise head” In other words, keep your opinions to your self. So I will. I will not blab my snarly opinions, even though I want to. I will not be a critic. I will not be a judge. I will hold my tongue. It is just me being skeptical, about what I see as bullshit.

Truth is, I feel threatened by it. Not sure why. Some form of jealousy maybe? Some kind of resentful feelings about her success. Feelings of injustice maybe? My judgements might be my own insecurity. I don’t know. Then again I could be right. My skepticism could be spot on. What I see as a load of crap, could be indeed–crap. But it’s not my business. People apparently love crap. So who am I to try to counter that. Who am I to tell them what to believe. So I have told myself– Don’t sit around grumping in self righteous indignation about whether or not someone deserves their success.

You have your own work to do. I am reminded about my grade two teacher Mrs Clippingdale who never listened to tattle tales. She said if we were busy doing our work we wouldn’t be noticing other people not doing theirs. So thanks Mrs. C. I am taking your advice. I will do my own work. It’s not my job to save the world from naked emperors. Life is too short. So now–Back to work on this play. I am on draft three of that and I have a ways to go. Right now my play sucks so I need to stop avoiding it with indignation and other wastes of time.

Sally LIves Here
Sally LIves Here

Poem from a recurring dream.

I have built a little cage

on the edge of a cliff,

where I pretend–

to live contentedly,

rather than learn to swim across

the turbulent waters below.

Cushioned by the delusion of safety,

I hang there trapped–

above murky waters-

as if sitting alone in a cage–

is  preferable to the risk of drowning.

I watch with envy, all the

happy swimmers passing by.

They seem to calm the water

with their powerful strokes.

But the thought of being

swallowed by the current,

keeps me here,

behind the iron bars of

disappointment.

I  have dreamed this flooded landscape.

I have dreamed this turbulent water.

I have dreamed the murky depths.

And I have dreamed this cage.

Now  wide awake–

I am dreaming of a little red boat.

Red boat JPG

Some lists.

I reblogged this post from a few years ago

I think I have come a long way from this but some of them still apply.

 

Reasons I get stuck.

1. It is hard to keep going when the destination seems so
distant and unknown.

Imagining Frida
Imagining Frida

2. It is hard to keep believing in yourself–
when there is no real evidence that what you believe
is more than your ego gone wild.

3. It is hard to go on without recognition
or validation or reward–
because you could be delusional.
Completely mad.
It’s a distinct possibility.

4.It is hard to find a reason to keep going because of
all of the above.

5. And then there is the question of your own sanity.

So Here’s another list.

Reasons to question my own sanity.

1. I am writing the third draft a play–that may never be produced.

2. I probably could put time and effort into more lucrative pursuits yet
I persist.

3.The life of an artist is often painful, disappointing
frustrating and depressing.

I hate to say it, but this leads to another list .

Painful things about being an artist.

1.The weeping, nail-biting–
and hopeless staring at an empty
screen.

2.Thefeeling that I am absolutely on the right
track suddenly changing to the realization that I’m not.

3.Awareness that my ability
to say something-
that hasn’t been said-
by countless others–
seems–
a) lacking?
b)missing in action?
c)otherwise engaged.

3.The constant nagging voice inside me
saying unkind things about the value or validity
of my own work

4. Experiencing shame, jealousy and resentment for the success of others

5, Trying to not have jealousy and resentment for the success of others.

6. Feeling threatened by the success of others. Oh God! Help me!!!!

7. Though some artists, writers and actors are wildly successful
famous and rich– the majority of us deal with–

Oh dear– I guess it’s another list–

The 99 percent

1. lack of recognition,

2. crushing poverty

3. the thought of dying in obscurity

4. The realization that absolute failure is entirely possible

5. The ever looming reality of poverty–
and dying in obscurity increasing with age. Yikes!

BUT–

I realize that despite the above lists–

None of these are good enough reasons to give up my dream.

Not writing–because of fear of failure
ensures my success at one thing– failing.

Failure is possible enough without my helping it along.

And–If I do not write–

My fearful, negative, self will have defined me and
controlled me and won this battle.

AND SO

I keep

1. writing.

2. painting,

3. improving,

4. growing,

5. discovering–

and even though I am often–

1.stumbling

2. falling,
3.crashing,
4. burning.

I keep going.

Because

1.There is no turning back for me.

2.The road only goes one way.

3.There is no place that I can go back to.

4.The road behind me is closed.

Well folks–

if this has not been annoying enough–

Here is another list–this one is for you .

1.What are you working on?

2. If you are not really working on something–

What are you avoiding?

3.What are you risking by not risking?

What are you denying yourself

by not devoting yourself to the discipline?

4. What terrors are you subjecting yourself to

by not confronting the fear?

And last but not least–

5. Why are you reading my silly lists.

1.Go get to work.

2.Call the Muse.

3.Wait for her.

4.Don’t make other plans

She is most likely to show up when you are actually at your desk or your easel
on tapping away on a keyboard in bed or in a coffee shop or wherever you write.

Accepting uncertainty and living the questions in life and art.


 

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
Live in the question.”    Rainer Maria Rilke

I love these words.

I try to call them up when

I face uncertainty

 

I am in the middle of developing

an idea that is slowly forming in

my mind.

I don’t know if it is a play

or a short story

Or something else altogether.

My  desk is covered in sketches of  artists who have  inspired me I am not sure why I drew them.

The images are clues or perhaps  threads  of  a story – slowly weaving itself in the back of mind.

poests painters and revolutionaries 2jpg

If I stand back and speak to

my images I might say Jackson

Pollack and Lee Krasner and Andy Warhol–What are  you trying to tell me?

Why are you here? What are you pointing me to?

DSCF1630

For me drawing opens a door into  a deeper

more potent form of imagination.

Something beyond intention and anything

conscious.

Maybe these drawings are part of a search

into my own psyche.

Maybe I am digging, sifting through the layers

of  my early romantic ideals-

when my fascination with these famous artists

woke up some kind of young longing in me.

I don’t know. I have to sit with the unknowing.

Here is the thing.

There is a relationship somewhere

between the drawings and the writing I am doing

and my own life right now.

It’s not always immediately evident.

I  look at the drawings that come out

after a session of writing

and I think  ok–

I  think that  the subject of what

drives someone to create

is the subject I want to explore.

And somehow death is part of the subject

And how the need to be present for life

is part of it. And how creativity

is the way of showing up.

And I think that somehow

spirits– as in the spirits of the

dead artists  are alive to all of us who

look at the art they made and left behind.

But I don’t really know.

Maybe drawing the artists

and even writing in this blog

is like playing with a Ouija board,

and I am summoning spirits from within myself–

to help me with my troublesome imagination.

I know the location of whatever I am writing

is somewhere just west of collective unconscious.

And has to do with a place where artists

can meet and converse.

 

e thing is, with art and with life–

sometimes we have to tolerate

the churning and distracted feelings of  uncertainty.

Because on the other side of this unknowing,

is the path to where it all makes sense.

It’s true we  must learn to live  in the questions–

as Rilke tells us–and just wait–because beyond

the  clouds of uncertainty,

is the bright blue sky of knowing.

The story will weave itself together and everything will be revealed.

 

Life Lessons

Sometimes I think that the lessons of my life

have been delivered in a series

of disasters and catastrophes.

It is as if I somehow needed to

go sailing in a little paper boat,

during a raging storm,

in order to learn about the need for

life jackets.

Maybe if I had been paying more attention

to the seemingly insignificant events

of everyday life, I would have noticed

them gathering heavily and ominously

like clouds do, just before a hurricane.

Maybe I would not have set sail in such a flimsy boat.

And maybe now I wouldn’t be digging

through the rubble and ruin

to find the lessons left by so many storms.
_____________________________________________

So now my life again is filled with storms–

My mother has Alzheimer’s.

I am her sole care giver.

I have no siblings to share this with.

It sucks.

Literally.

It sucks my soul and my sanity and sometimes–

my sense that I can survive this.

And I am constantly thinking how I shouldn’t be

alone with this and how unfair it is–

and how I need my brother–

who left the world so long ago–

who died in such a terrible way–

to be here with me now–

learning what I am learning.

Of course I ask myself

Why would I write this?

Why would I dwell on this subject?

Why would I go to this place in my head?

When I could be in my imaginary garden

Playing with my comic fantasies

Or painting pretty pictures–

Why?

I am trying to do what

Ernest Hemingway advises–

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

Ok–so-this is what hurts.

I wake up in the morning, every morning–

with a feeling of raw dread

And I panic. What’s next?

Will I survive this twister?

Whatever it is?

And then I breathe.

Because in truth I am ok.

It is my mother who is not.

She is losing herself.

It’s impossible to help her.

I can not argue with her delusions.

I can not fight with her paranoia.

I wouldn’t even try.

But little brother–

she never got over losing you.

And every day she relives

the heartache of that loss.

And all her other losses–

so many–

And every day she suffers.

It’s amazing in some ways–

How she fights for what she wants–

how she refuses what she doesn’t–

She is not compliant.

She is fierce.

She’s a force to be reckoned with.

She is not going down without a fight.

It’s a gift to me in some ways.

Not a welcome gift.

Not a gift I would want to thank anyone for.

But a gift nonetheless.

It has something to do with my own healing

and I don’t fully understand it yet.

It’s a steep learning curve–

Grappling with this–

Finding meaning in it.

I am suddenly coming to the harsh realization,

that this is the painful climax–

the cruel resolution–

of a story that began even before she was born.

Perhaps I can come to terms with

my own true story as I play my part in this one.

And though it’s really tough-

and I would prefer this was all a bad dream–

I have to be awake and present for it.

I have something to learn here.

This is the part of my life story–

where I lose my mother.

And this is the part of her story

where she loses herself.

And it isn’t going to get better for her.

Not this time.

She wont escape this.

I can’t protect or rescue her from this.

All I can do is walk down this dark road with her,

holding her hand, through this desolate landscape.

And Oh my God–

I’m trying to understand what is being asked of me

by my own soul.

What teaching am I meant to take from this

violent and terrible storm–

And why does it have to be so hard

to learn whatever it is I am learning?

When I think of my mom, usually words like —

Vitriolic, Vindictive, Venomous, Victimizing–Viscious–

are the first that come to mind.

But seriously folks–

And now that she has Alzheimer’s I can add

Delusional and Desperate and Demonic.

When she was young and I was a child,

when we were children–

She was glamourous.

Gorgeous.

Gentle.

Generous.

The prettiest mom of all the moms.

High heels.

Red lipstick.

Big hair.

Big eyes.

A party girl.

And a singer.

A beautiful voice.

Everyone would ask her to sing

And she always would.

Single mom in a time when there

wasn’t a name for it–

Or an understanding of how difficult it is to

be one.

Strong independent.

Cruel if I displeased her–

abusive they would say now-

moody, mean, manic-depressive–

although we didn’t have a name for

the crazy times that came and went.

Mostly I loved her.

Mostly I adored her.

She was the queen of my world.

And I did everything I could to

please her and protect her.

I usually disappointed her.

In childhood I learned how to take care of myself,

And in truth–I gave birth to myself–my true self–

when I chose to be an artist.

but that is part of another chapter–

I have found so much I can admire about my mom.

I can admire her and understand her now–

She is fighting for her life.

And maybe she always was.

The only way she knew how to live was to fight.

She is smart as a fox and as fierce.

She knows where the traps are.

She can smell them.

Little old crazy fox-woman,

I can love her for that.

Coping with her terrible behaviour now,

and actively making a point to remember

all the beauty and love that she

offered me in her own way–

is a way I can love myself.

Sometimes I am not successful and I torment myself

with my life long addiction to self pity.

But then I snap out of it and remember that I don’t actually

need to suffer in this. It is my Mom who is actually suffering.

And I stand back up and rise to what is being asked of me.

I can do this. I tell myself.

Thank you God for honouring me with this mighty task

and for allowing my soul to journey through this difficult

terrain. Help me continue to hold the light within myself

enough to see the road in front of me.

And to learn the lessons that my life is offering me.

I am trying to speak these true and difficult things out loud

so as to cross that bridge between art and life–

and see if I can pick up the pieces of my torn and

tattered soul over there in that place between the worlds.

Overcoming creative blocks– magic cures.

I am in bed recovering from surgery and bored out of my mind.

The wasteland of daytime television stretches out before me endlessly it seems.

“I could be working on my play.” I say to myself hopefully.

As I open the lap top I listen for an engaged response from deep within–

some murmurings of eagerness or zest–a shimmer of enthusiasm perhaps.

But all I get is a weak whimper and a shudder of shame.

I realize that somehow my inner prosecutor– modelled after Hamilton Burger–

you might know him from Perry Mason re-runs–has now taken over my mind.

He is addressing the judge and jury that lives in my head.

They are the folks behind the Salem Witch Trials and the Spanish Inquisition.

“Ladies and Gentleman this woman has no discernible talent–no imagination and no original ideas.

She is guilty of the crime of self delusion! How dare she call herself a writer?

Send her back to her jail cell and sentence her to watch endless reruns of Perry Mason.”

Well–ok– that didn’t happen. Actually instead of writing my play

I wrote the above silliness. Please forgive me. Tee hee.

But truth is, I have been struggling with, if not, a full blown writer’s block,

a fairly serious writer’s delay.

All the roads in my imagination seem to be closed,

and I can’t get to where I want to go.

It is time I dig out my list of magic cures for this pesky nuisance,

and get myself back on the road. I have faced this before. I can do it again.

This coming week I will be posting my favourite creative cures so stay tuned.

Feel free to use any of these cures for whatever creative ailments you are suffering with.

Perry Mason is not on right now so it’s back to the Storage Wars Marathon. I just loves Barry Weiss.