a memory of long ago….
Our church had just expanded with the addition of a new sanctuary, one that was airy and light and full of new spaces to decorate. A friend and I became a team to design and paint large panels of gauzy fabric that would hang during the Lenten season. She and I worked on the panels in her art room at the middle school. It was a delightful time. We sketched a design, figured out how to outline it on the sheer fabric and experimented to find the right shades of paint. We talked about our children, similar in age, and our careers as teachers. We talked about our beliefs and our passions. It was a spiritual experience both of us will never forget.
The panels hung that year and we heard whispers of disappointment from others in the congregation. The following year, additions had been made to the panels totally changing their appearance. We were both hurt and withdrew from being active artists in the church setting.
Until now. It has been a long time but we are stepping forward again.
There is art that is a spiritual experience for those viewing it. And there is art that becomes a spiritual experience for those creating it. Does it have to be both just because it hangs in a church?
Saying more would be saying less.
So tell me, how is it going?
Well I have some ideas but they are the really dense kind.
What do you mean by that?
The ideas that have come to me in the past few days have a lot of emotions attached to them and while I know what sparked them is significant and I want to pay attention by writing, I haven’t been able to sift and sort through all that has been caught up with the initial thought. “Trolling” through life over the past week has snagged a bunch of good stuff, I just need to haul it on board and figure out what to throw and what to keep.
Tell me about something you’ve caught in your net.
Well I went to a meeting on Sunday with a group of artists in our church. Some of them are professional artists, some are like me – dabblers. Both kinds of artists have produced work for our church and we ended up having an interesting discussion that I would like to process by writing about it.
Why is that important to you?
Because there were interesting perspectives shared. Because I had an emotional response. Because I want to figure out more about what I think and feel about the topic.
So start there, start with an outline with each of those statements and tease them out.
Good idea, maybe I’ll find out what to keep and throw from my net.
The sky is pale,
not gray, not white, just the color of a cool glass of water.
I walk through wet grass, my toes getting wet through my shoes,
soon my pant legs are soaking.
My cheeks become moist as my breath condenses on them
and my hair clings to my neck.
Finally I just stand in stillness and drink in the morning.
What is it about seeing more light at daybreak that fills me up and sends me off into the day with joy bubbling like soda pop beneath my skin?
The metaphor hit home for me. Snakes rub their noses against rocks and hard places to make a tear in their old skins in the process of shedding them for new ones.
Rocks and hard places
shedding old skin
claiming a new one
my Easter best?
Why do I write? I responded to this question on my blog with a poem almost a year and a half ago. I still like my poem and think that it expresses my feelings about writing. But my experience of writing on my blogs has made me keenly aware of other reasons I write.
At first, with One Sunflower, it was all about telling a story, airing my opinions, sharing my discoveries as a classroom teacher. My family and friends responded in such a positive way that the blog became a repository for more – photos of my art and essays about my work. Participating in the March Slice of Life challenge that first year of blogging made me realize I wanted a place just to play with writing.
Wake Up and Write was born and I love it here. I put all kinds of stuff into this blog; it is a catch-all for poetry, stories, photos, word experiments. Although I have linked to Facebook, that is mostly for the convenience of my daughter and other friends. I am often baffled to note new “followers” appearing or “likes.” I, myself, follow blogs just so I don’t have to go searching for them on the internet but I feel a connection to those writers. I have never tagged anything with a “like;” I’d rather just comment.
My newest realization about why I write is that it has become a promise I make to myself. It is a promise to reflect on my day, to pay attention to little thoughts that keep appearing in my brain and need to be teased out and integrated into my thinking more fully. Composing and playing with words helps me exercise my intelligence as I work to choose the correct word and construct meaningful sentences and phrases.
Writing with some regularity is therapeutic gardening for me. I can till, and weed, and plant and reap. I feel more alive because of it.
I move about the house with feather duster in hand
for too long I have avoided these corners
cobwebs stretch into dark recesses
oh how tedious this is
now with damp cloth I move my hand
across shelves and counter tops
the scent of lemon lifts my mood
yet still I shuffle in slippers
back and forth with the mop
I kick the bucket across the floor
pants rolled to the knee, bare feet on soapy tile
shelve books, fold clothes, shred mail
load dishwasher, wipe stove, scrub sinks,
hang fresh towels, shake rugs, store away boots,
finally banishing the last of unfinished business
I am still
and become a non-anxious presence
in my own house
Escape from the World
Chicago School Closings
Less Pain at the Pump
GenY Shopping for Homes
Washing of Feet
Break from the headlines
coming down to earth
families on vacation
dogs and children
bicycles and buckets
life, love and the pursuit of happiness
washing of feet
The entry I wanted to write yesterday….
I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to stick with this March Slice of Life challenge of writing everyday. I decided to make it a “quest,” as in: The journey is the destination. I decided from the beginning to spend less time composing my entries than I have in year’s past and to just write about whatever was bubbling up in my heart on that day.
I feel like I fulfilled my mission. I only missed 2 days – although the last day was a flop because I couldn’t access the internet. As in the past, writing every day was indeed a challenge but I can state unequivocally that the experience is worth every extra minute it takes to participate.
It is interesting for me to compare my engagement in the daily writing experience from one year to the next. My first year participating in the challenge was 3 years ago. I only had one blog and I took a lot of time planning my entries and writing them each day. The second year, I started this blog as a place to focus on writing only, not necessarily my experience as a teacher but I still spent a lot of time each day composing my entries. This year, I couldn’t afford to do that because of other activities I’ve taken on – but I still thought about my writing each day. I just don’t think I was as particular about topics and composition.
Cannon Beach, OR 4-1-2013
My slices have been snapshots of my thoughts over the month. I wanted participation in this challenge to be like a road trip with stops at view points and places of interest, side journeys on dirt roads, breathless gasps at amazing vistas. Maybe I didn’t get to many “vistas” but it was definitely a trip off the beaten track.
And I plan to be back for another road trip next year.