The Journey: One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice-- though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. "Mend my life!" each voice cried. But you didn't stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do-- determined to save the only life you could save. ~Mary Oliver
So...I woke up yesterday and came downstairs to a scene of crepe paper steamers, a table set with gifts and hanging up were letters that spelled out my name. It was too dark and rainy to get any decent photos. I got to be myself for a bit before everyone was up. It was so sweet to think of my daughter doing all these wonderful things for me. Over the years I was the one that created the magic in this home. Now, she creates all sorts of magical things for me. It was that powerful realization about being a parent...and how children learn what they live. This is natural for her because it was what she has grown up with...of course you create magic...even if it is in small ways...for your family. This heart connection that I have with her fills my heart up.
The next thing I did was open this in my birthday garland pocket...
What!! Okay so I was walking around the house for the past few weeks saying things like..."i wish I could take that indie business course" , "maybe they'll offer that indie business course again", "when you take the course maybe you could share some stuff with me about it." So...what did emma give me...she signed me up for the Indie Business Course! I cannot begin to explain how excited I was! This kid of mine is magic. She wanted me to be able to take the class with her and get to fully experience all of the projects and classes. Thank-you so much emma...
So, the next thing we did was begin driving up to Massachsetts. On our way we stopped off in this little place in a small sleepy town called Stafford Springs. We were driving through town when we looked over and saw a sign...
A real french bakery...owned by folks from France in Connecticut. Crazy. We went in and talked with thebaker and talked about cakes and baking and bread. I told her it was my birthday...so she gifted this to me...
And...we continued on our journey. It was pouring rain all day. I loved the tucked in feeling of the rain pouring down in a steady rhythm. The windshield wipers thumping, the raindrops pounding out their beat and Martin Sexton on the ipod belting out those songs that only he can do.
We pulled off the highway at exit 24 off of I-91 and decided to take the scenic route. We wound around farms and fields. We dodged huge flooding in the roads and we peered over at the Connecticut River rising and crashing against the banks. Just on the right all of a sudden we arrived at our destination...
The Montague Book Mill sat just on the edge of the Connecticut River. The water was crashing and rushing and swiring like it was going to swallow the Mill up. We spent a long while looking at books...one of our favorite dates.
biography, literature, history, politics, gender studies, anarchism, latino studies, travel, art, education, film
Down the stairs...
Into an entirely new section...the first floor. I didn't get photos of this as I became too engrossed in books right off. There were cards, poetry chap books, cookbooks, self-help, women's studies, home design, screenplays, gardening, children's books, fiction....
When were were checking out..I was looking at this book and said I'd take that as well...the owner gifted that to me as a birthday gift!
Look here for some great photos of the bookmill...
On this same floor was the Lady Killigrew Cafe. We had a great meal...again no photos. They gave us a free beer because apparently they give free beer to the first person of the day that they serve beer to. We asked if it indeed encouraged folks to come in and drink early...apparently this is not an issue...and people still come in and have beer anyway, no matter the time.
We sat down next to a guy that was drawing incredible pictures. He was creating a graphic novel that has been in the works for several years now. Again, no photos...i felt funny intruding on his space as he was there to draw in quiet and to get out of his house. He was real friendly and Rand said I should ask him to take a picture. I was too shy. I am trying to bring my camera wherever I go now...mostly. I want to learn to take better photographs and doing this involves actually taking more photos...and being brave enough to take them in awkward situations, asking folks if I can take their picture...and mostly not feeling weird that I am intruding in the places that I go. This is hard for me and a challenge that I want to work on. The graphic novel was very cool...all black and white, pen and ink.
There is also a buiding that is separate from the Book Mill that carries old vinyl and used cd's. We were in there with this one other man...we got to talking...he put on Tuck and Patti...we looked at old vinyl and felt nostalgic. They even had a turntable there that you could try the records out on. The album cover artwork is something we all miss out on these tiny little cd'd and itunes downloads....nothing like it. I'm showing my age right?
So, we travelled on toward home...
wise old tree...
We stopped here...it looked festive. We talked to the ladies in the shop about disaster water stories each of had all been in...
Pretty colors...pashmina shawls
We went out to eat at The Main Street Cafe. After dinner some friends that were there came over to say hello and said...you have a surprise coming! So, after we ate the server brought over the dessert tray and offered up a piece of cake...score...another free gift!
Headed home for Cake...carrot cake with cream cheese icing.
A pile of books at the end of the day....
It was a wonderful day. We bumped into friends at the end of the day and went back to Main Street for a toast and conversation. They all clinked glasses with mine and paid for another beer for me.
What did I learn today...tell everyone you meet it's your birthday...they give you free presents, wish you well, sing to you and I got 4 different voicemail messages with folks singing me the full out version of Happy Birthday To You! I saved all the messages...I'm going to play them back whenever I need a reminder that I am loved and cared for.
I even got an email from a friend from 30 something years ago that kept my birthday in her address book all these years. We are sporadically in touch. The bond of friendship still sits with us. She invited me to a writing group that she is in! LIsa's poetry is beautiful and I am so honored that she would even consider inviting me to a writers group. What she doesn't realize is that this is something I am really longing to get better at, explore, critique and challenge myself in. We actually met in high school at a Creative Writing Class. I love those connections. I want to take more photos and explore writing. So...at the end of the night opening that email...well, it was perfect.
Thank-you to everyone that made my day special.
a birthday dream....
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
(thankyouverylittle shared this quote.)
light my way as i peer over the edge...
learn to fly
i thank you God for most this amazing:
day for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky: and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died and alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday: this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyse of my eyes are opened)
a rest filled with comfort and stones and wood and sky
through the path of a quiet spell...
and the pea
linen and wattle
nighttime stories mist inward as the moon in knowing...
another year closes....
a child dreams...
slips through the gate....
finds a magic key....in the blessed tree...
enters the lock...turns the key...and walks through, to the other side...
Your are my secret birthday wish...
a box of possibility
letters of hope
My dear...i have searched for you...
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
Time goes by....
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction--what, has that got to do with a room of one's own? I will try to explain. When you asked me to speak about women and fiction I sat down on the banks of a river and began to wonder what the words meant.
~The Artistic Mother~
Well, when I look at the landscape of motherhood I see how alike it is to creativity, how embracing one way of being helps the other to emerge. When you are hardwired a certain way you can live in denial for only so long. Eventually there comes a time when the real you will push through.
The creative, artistic person is one who…
~ is committed to bringing forth something new, something that has not been in the world before ~ takes time to gather the supplies she needs, organize them, care for them
~ envisions what her art will look like and goes about learning the skills necessary to bring that into reality
~ knows she will pursue her art over a long period of time, developing her ideas and know how
~ plans her art time and makes space in her day and her home for her creative endeavors
~ talks about her art with like souls, looking for encouragement from other artists and loves to share ideas
~ attends to the details of life - the shape of a vase, the color of the leaf, the sound of the city and tries to capture them
~ evaluates what she has created and makes the changes she needs
~ loves her art and loves some more
The mother is one who…
~ has brought forth a little person and they together form a new family, one that has never been in this world before
~ takes the time to make a home with all she needs to rear her young, feeding, clothing, guiding them
~ considers her children’s future and personality and reads parenting books and seeks wisdom from others on how to raise her children
~ is committed to this path for the long haul
~ makes plans for her kid’s schooling, meals, bedtimes, playdates, entertainment, future
~ talks to others about being a parent, she looks for encouragement from others and shares her parenting ideas with other moms
~ soaks in every little detail of her child’s personality, the things he says, his likes and dislikes and carries them in her heart
~ watches her kids behavior and development and adjusts her parenting as needed
~ loves her babies and loves some more
So do you see how the artist and the mother are similar roads, with similar patterns and behaviors? Does that ring a bell for you? Does that make sense in your life? I feel inspired and empowered when I think that the whole of my life involves creativity in some way. I feel excited by that idea, hopeful, affirmed. Do you?
When the creative woman becomes a mother it is a beautiful thing. The ambitions of the world fall away, the vibrancy of life becomes larger and more fulfilling. On any given day in the artistic mother’s house something new and wonderful is happening. It may be something traditionally artistic like a painting or a series of photographs, but it may be simply the act of being a Mom, a nurturer, a lover of the little people she has been entrusted with.
*an artistic mother...
This month has been about home. What I've learned is, my home is where my family's hearts are...wherever they are travelling in their day...my heart is with them. I am not settled...not really...when we are not all together. It has always been this way for me. I think we humans were meant to live our lives together...as families...as friends...for all of the days. This living in snippets of time is not natural. It doesn't feel good. A heart splayed open by distance is always fettered. The waiting is something that gets pushed into the small corners. Living a life full...requires rapt attention. Now this is what asks the most of my creativity. Attention...to the moments...all the moments...even when grace does not come easily.
I am in love with ohdeedoh! Check out this amazing idea. Kitchens For A Cause was started by Jane. She takes old bureaus and creates play kitchens to sell. She then donates money to a program for the homeless lunch program. She also has a great tutorial on making your own play kitchen. This has got me thinking of starting something like this around these parts. This would be such a great addition to any play area for a child. When my daughter was young my husband built her a lovely little kitchen set out of wood...with a little blue enamel ware sink...faucet...it was well loved for many years!
How about this for a grownup kitchen? This is perfect...a tea kettle, a burner for simmering rice and another for a pot of beans...a wooden box to put teaboxes in by the stove.
Okay this is the coolest thing! I am going to give these as gifts, send messages, create journal pages, post notes...it is so much fun! Wordle...try it.
An open air workspace which acts to facilitate the creation of small-scale architectural structures to be implemented into the surrounding community and utilized by the public.
B-Home Studio is a fantastic blog about creative space. I love the organic structures. I'm thinking if we didn't have building codes then perhaps everyone could live in a small home that they could afford. And if these structures couldn't be homes...then, the creative thinking and designing that could happen in these open air spaces would revolutionize the idea of space and community.
Okay...so, now I want to design things! Design structures, talk about space, create a community project. There are an exciting bunch of folks living and creating space, home, community. I'd like a center where we could come together and manifest creations like these together. Sure, we can do it alone but, it's so much more fun and meaningful when done in a pod of people using Pattern Language.
Great form to help think about space you are creating.
This post shows you how my mind works. One idea becomes another. The idea gets bigger, encompasses more...morphs into rounder...moves out in including community somehow...creativity turns up around every bend whenever I'm thinking about a subject or project. I have to turn everything into a pod of people project in my thinking. I want the world to be a more creative place. I want people to work together. I want everyone to have a chance to be included....poverty be damned. This way of thinking can be frustrating as well as exciting. I see all the possibilities in a project...settling becomes an exercise in frustration. Communicating that feeling to others is nearly impossible. All I can do right now is try to "show" folks what I am trying to say. I hope for my community to continue to try to bring a beauty to whatever they are trying to create...it feeds our souls. Soul work takes time...where do we find more of that?
Day 6 in pocket of birthday garland....David Byrne.
Home Hacks shows you a nice tutorial to make a Waldorf Gnome. We've had lots of these gnomes live at our home over the years. These gnomes are wonderful for open-ended imaginative play and storytelling and puppet shows.
This is the gift that showed up in Day 5 pocket in my birthday garland!
So, creativity and home...that's what I've been focusing on this month. I have read books, made some art, cleaned out clutter, sorted through some books and rearranged a little. Home...it's the canvas of our life. We can create every day in small ways. While you're washing up the dishes...put something pretty nearby to look at and it makes it easier to move outward to create beauty in the whole space. So, it becomes...not about just washing the dishes. It becomes creating beauty while you're washing the dishes. You're not just racing or mindlessly getting through the task at hand but, focusing on how the canvas before you...the dishes...allows you to think about and move outward with your creativity in the space. It's a perfect time to think about home. Wash dishes...paint beauty.