Tag Archives: Joie de Vivre

I’m A Fish Out Of Water

I’m a lot of things really—daughter, sister, lover, wife, mother and grandmother, all roles defined by my relationship to others.

I’ve held many jobs, in service and professional industries, paid and unpaid.

I am a writer. I manifested that for myself. I know it to be true, because I write something every day, because I have been published in many forms for more than 30 years now, because my first novel was published last year.

I’m also a dabbler in the arts. I long to manifest beauty from the tips of my fingers. This yearning existed before any notion of being a writer seized me. One day a week, I gather with others at the studio of a friend, where we draw and paint in companionship. I take real life and online classes, and watch endless instruction videos on Youtube. I have my own studio, and while I don’t make art every day, I’ve none-the-less made a lot of art.

I never call myself an artist. I think because so much of the art I create does not satisfy my eye. On the other hand, I believe that most of what I write (published or not) shines. My writing is often praised. I neglected to mention up top that I am also a praise junkie; I thrive on the words of others telling me I’ve done a good job.

But I’ve received praise for my art, and sold pieces without that ever being the intent. Why then do I resist identifying as an artist?

This early face was painted with craft grade acrylic, eye makeup pencils and chalk. I didn’t even know what mixed media was then. I thought this painting was amateurish, like something out of a coloring book. Somebody bought it. Now several years into taking online classes and watching hundreds of instruction videos on Youtube, I’m struggling to find my own style while emulating techniques and stylistic features of other artists. When I look at this face that so effortlessly flowed from my mind, heart and hands I have to wonder if I haven’t suffocated it.

mary-queen-of-heaven-lowres

A mixed media collage—again before the countless hours of online instruction. Again, it sold quickly. Again, I was surprised by that.

too-soon-september

These little fishes were sent off to the 2013 ROCO 6×6 show (#2447) if you care to find it there). I was once again surprised when I found out that somebody forked over a small bit of cash to take my fishes home.

3 Fishies

I don’t remember when I finally started identifying as a writer. I don’t recall what self defined criteria for validation I finally met. I’m not even sure why I have a desire to believe I am an artist. What difference would it make?

Isn’t it enough that I enjoy the process?

 

*       *       *       *       *

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 11.25.50 AM

 

I’m blogging along with Effy Wild and her talented tribe for the month of September. Click on the cool badge to find out more.→

 

 


Happiness Is Wanting What You Have

Somebody said that. I don’t know who, or if they were important or well known. Whoever it was also added that happiness is not having what you want.

Fifteen years ago I was meandering around the interwebs looking for things. I wasn’t sure what things, but things that would fulfill me, fill me. I’d know when I found it.

I found SoulCollage®. I knew I wanted it, or rather, wanted to learn how to create the telling cards and use the system of self discovery that was going to bring positive change in my life and others I would teach.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the spare change to fly my ass out to the West Coast, the only place training was offered at the time, let alone to cover the fee for the weekend intensive. So, I did what I always do, read every word I could find and improvised.

Almost ten years later, SoulCollage® training made it’s way east, to Chicago. This time I scraped up the fee, enrolled in the training and pointed my little VW Bug toward the Windy City.

It was everything I expected, and less. Let me explain. I was not disappointed in the least by the substance and quality of the training, the experience of community that I found with those of like mind, or the unique location—a former Catholic campus, turned residence home for retired nuns and priests.

Are you kidding me? A gaggle of middle aged feminists dallying with tarot-like image cards to access our soul purpose? We may as well have hauled out the Ouiji board and pentagrams.

Turns out the nuns were not only curious, but very open to the concept. As I explained it to one of them over lunch she smiled and said to me, “Oh, you mean you’re trying to know your inner Christ.”

You say potAto, I say potAHto . . . we’re both still eating carbs.

So, back to the part about being less than I expected. It didn’t change my life in any revolutionary way (at least not then). Probably because like many things I want with all of my being when I see them, once in my possession there are new wants to pursue. Nature of the beast, or nurturing from a consumer driven environment pushing us to always acquire more in our doing, being and having? New flash!  There is never enough, we are never enough in that paradigm.Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.45.07 PM

So, as it turns out, I’ve made quite a collection of SoulCollage® cards, and a funny thing happened along the way, a subtle change in my wants. Sure, some of my cards  speak to me about consumption and abundance, and time running out, about wanting what my eyes see—like this one. Can’t you just hear her, saying it . . . “Oh, I want that!”

But so many others are about hidden magic, creativity, freedom from expectations and a sense of wonder at the unexpected. Like me, a recovering Catholic school girl pulling up to a nunnery and not running in the opposite direction; totally unexpected. Or so enjoying the three days spent there that I have wanted to return ever since!

It’s very first world, to be able to say I’m learning to want fewer material things from the physical realm. It means I am secure and my needs are met—there is no wolf at the door. It’s the epitome of privilege to say I’m learning to want what I have instead of having what I want.

It’s where I’m at and who I am right now. And it’s enough.

I am the MAD Goddess, and I’ve got the *magic* in me.

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.48.35 PM

*     *     *     *     *

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 11.25.50 AM

  • CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Prince, the Purple Train and High Heel Shoes: Bonding With My Daughter

I can’t believe another summer is drawing to a close. Despite my mother being right (and mother’s always are—despite our daughters disavowing that fact), I refuse to admit the days of sunshine and roses seem to be going faster the older I get. But, here it is a week into August already, the school supplies are running low on the shelves at Walmart and I’m calculating how many pool days I might have left before I risk getting hypothermia in the unheated water.

So it was two months ago, today, June 7th, that my daughter and I attended a party in honor of the late, great Prince on what would have been his birthday. We live about 100 miles, as the crow flies, from Paisley Park. Prince is a god in these parts. Any party in his honor is going to be a rocking time, but one hosted on a historical rail car billed the Purple Train for the evening, makes that literal.

As planned, I picked my daughter up at her house. As expected, with two children and a man-child husband, she was running just a tad late. Having worked delays into the schedule didn’t stop me from engaging in a smidgeon of interstate impatience. I mean, seriously, you could hardly call a few choice commentaries on the rush hour commuters’ collective I.Q. road rage.

“You’re going to be one of those really crumidgey ladies when you get old, aren’t you?” 

She meant curmudgeonly. I prefer to think of myself as crotchety. It infers the feminine aspect of curmudgeon—or at least I like to think so.

My first thought was, I am old. But who could blame her for not recognizing my sage position in life. I was the one who bought the tickets to the party, I was the one driving us to the train, and I was the one dressed in purple from the fedora on my head, wrapped with purple paisley scarf trailing down my back, to the purple patent stilettos on my feet.

All of this went through my head, before I answered her question. “Yes, when I am old, I’m going to be a real bitch.”

She, in no purple but wearing appropriate skinny jeans, big-hoop earrings and a pair of drop-dead, four-inch, leopard print platform pumps, laughed and said, “It will be so much fun taking you out of the home for day trips.”

It’s my own fault, I raised the smart ass.

Staged on a moving, vintage train traveling a fifty mile scenic route and back one might have questioned our elevating footwear. We ourselves briefly considered the wisdom of dancing in high heels while being jostled over railroad tracks in poor repair, but for two women with more than 100 pairs of shoes, booties, boots and sandals between us, it was a brief debate. The shoes won over wisdom.

There were four cars making up the Purple Train (it wasn’t really purple). The first was a boxcar empty of anything but the DJ’s sound equipment and purple lights. Next was the bar car, followed by two standard commuter coaches.

Our plan was to spend at least some time in the comfort of the roomy, vintage passenger seats. It was a good plan, made better by the fact that the sound quality of the Prince catalog was far superior in coach than it was in the dance-party car. But, much as the shoes were a necessary part of the ensemble, a DJ spinning Prince meant there would be non-stop dancing.Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 2.34.38 PM

It’s good for a crotchety old woman like myself to put on her high heels and haul her old dance moves out onto the floor once in a while. Maintaining my balance in purple stilettos while dancing on a rocking train proves I’ve still got it.

Having my daughter lean in close to tell me to please, don’t break a hip it will spoil the party, is just more payback for raising a smart-ass.

After three hours (with a long, planned stop at the far end of the track) the Purple Train pulled back into the station and we headed back to my baby blue VW Bug, Blucy (she has false eyelashes on her headlights). I kicked off my shoes and removed my fedora. My salt & peppa hair was plastered to my head with sweat, from dancing or post middle age flashes—I’m not sure which.

“Let’s stop at the Choo Choo for a drink,” my daughter suggested. Yes, that’s the name of the bar. Yes, it’s a rail road town.

“But, I have hat hair.”

“So put your hat back on.”

Despite embracing a somewhat bohemian esthetic, I don’t normally hang out in working class, neighborhood bars dressed to draw attention. I raised an eyebrow at her.

“You can practice your crabby old lady routine.” She said. “If anybody asks about the hat, just tell them you’ve been riding the Purple Train all night long.”

“That sounds like a drug euphemism.”

“Even better!” she laughed. “I’ll stand behind you and shake my head, saying ‘Old hippy—too many psychedelic trips.”

That could be fun,” I said. “The trips, not the hat hair.” 

I snugged my hat onto my head at a daring angle and squeezed my swollen feet back into my heels. 

The summer isn’t over yet. Bonnie Raitt is appearing under a big top in three weeks,  just fifty miles from my daughter’s house. Now where did I put my cowboy boots?


%d bloggers like this: