Last days of summer

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood”
Tom Robbins

Some people say that Labour Day marks the end of summer,

but not for me. I hold on to the beauty of this season

until the autumn equinox.

Maybe even longer.

I have resumed my morning ritual of painting in bed.

I pull all my supplies and my journal into the bed

and just begin.

It helps me remember that the raw dread I sometimes

wake up with is just a feeling.

Caring for my mother is difficult.

As silly as it sounds I am still afraid of

her. Afraid of displeasing her

Afraid of awakening her rage.

My fear is old and carved into my brain

like a mountain road is carved into the granite.

How many explosions does it take to cut through

a mountain– or a kid?

And she’s just a little old lady

frail with Dementia–and sweet

most of the time.

But still she can fill me with terror.

I have learned–well I am learning–

to have compassion for her and for myself.

I have hired a care giver again.

Four hours a week.

We will see how it goes this time.

She has already started to complain.

I think the thing is to not give in.

I think the thing is to hold my ground.

I have never been able to do that with her.

Now I have to grow up and be an adult,

and I think the best way, is to connect

with the child in me–

and have my happy childhood now.

So painting in my art journal is part of that.

I write down my sadness and then I paint over it

and it is surprising how my spirits

lift and my view of things shifts.

It is amazing how spending a little

time diverting your imagination from

endless ruminating on impending disaster

can transform my whole inner world.

If you paint it’s hard to think resentful thoughts.

If you splash colour around it’s hard to have all that

mess in your mind.

On Moths and purpose and creative process and such

Metamorphosis: a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism,
as from the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the moth.

If you know me or if you visit my blog,

You know that I have been working on a play.

I am in my moth stage now.

After months as a pupa,

I emerged from my cocoon but–

now I am flitting around

crashing into the walls.

Is this what all that hanging upside down was for?

Ok. So anyway–

Welcome to the moth stage.

This is the part of the creative process

where the artist asks herself

What the hell are you doing?

No really What are you doing?

Right?

Ever ask yourself what the hell a moth is doing?

Well they do have a purpose.

It’s a biologically determined drive,

to accomplish an essential task.

But it’s not always obvious,

especially when you have to chase one around

your room at two in the morning.

Poor misguided moth is just trying to fullfill

it’s destiny and achieve it’s purpose.

But Moths aren’t supposed to be in your house.

They are like butterflies–and are supposed

to be outside in the natural world,

pollinating various night blooming vegetation.

Yet they some how manage inadvertently to end up in our closets–

making meals out of our favourite cashmere sweaters.

And we hate them for it.

Poor misguided moth.

She’s just trying to fulfill her purpose.

Moths and the nocturnal plants they feed on–

like the Honeysuckle flower or the Red Valerian–

can’t live without each other.

Miraculous nature has provided the moth

with dextrous long thin tongues–

an attribute completely wasted on wool sweaters,

but very important in pollinating night blooming

flowers. The moth is always looking

for the flowers. The flowers are always waiting

for the Moth. See what I mean about destiny?

So what in the world am I talking about?

And what does this have to do with my play?

Well–the moth stage of the creative process

is when the writer-

-that would be me in this case–

is madly searching for the flower but can not find it.

I’m madly flying up at that light bulb and singeing my wings.

The flower is the essence or the meaning– or the soul of the work.

I’t’s the inexplicable thing that blooms in the mind of the audience

or the reader. It’s the truth of the work.

I need to find it.

It can’t bloom without me.

There is no art without this relationship.

See. I believe this.

So there you go–

That’s the Moth state.

I saw a play recently that had no soul essence or meaning

and yet I know the young writer probably believed it did.

It was timely. And it seemed to delve into a solid and important question.

But it was trite and obvious.

She didn’t go through the moth state.

Nothing unfolded or bloomed or revealed itself.

It needed a moth.

The Moth state can drive you mad and you can end up

in a drawer pollinating your socks.

But it leads you to the thing that the story is about.

It leads you to the thing that makes the audience

sigh or cry or ache or laugh in recognition–

or even just connect to your idea at a deep level–and engage.

Because this is the purpose of art.

That is what we are trying to do

Kandinsky puts it very well–

“The artist must have something to say,

mastery over form is not his goal,

but adaption of form to its inner meaning”

My play has a deep truth in there somewhere.

I know it.

I feel it.

I am drawn to it.

I am shaken by it.

I have come close to finding it–

But I haven’t yet.

Not quite.

Now it’s dusk and that’s when Moths get busy.

So hopefully tonight–

Hopefully I will find the flower that is waiting to bloom in my play.