Friday, September 24, 2010

the sky is red and i can't throw a ball

Vicka Sunflowers

"artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue.  those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid."  ~Jules Feiffer (cartoonist, novelist and playwright)

i spent my school years being different. so many times i was told how creative i was and then in the next breath was told to pick three colors and conform.  i wasn't a sports kid and i wasn't a cheerleader type. i was different. i read books- a lot of books. i carried one with me at all times and would often get in trouble for reading when i supposed to be paying attention.

i remember one moment with crystal clarity even though it happened 30 years ago. i was usually way ahead of my classmates in art so i would work on other projects while they were still messing around with the assigned piece. i was interested in fibers and weaving so i set out to teach myself to weave using a large hoop as my loom. one day as i was working on it in class a 'cheerleader' came up to me and looked down her pert freckled nose at me and asked me what i was doing- i told her i was weaving- she responded with a snort 'oh isn't that what they do at new hope village?' and walked away. i stopped doing extra projects in school and did them at home. in secret. where no one could make fun of me. it wasn't until years later that i realized she was one of those people who painted the sky blue because that's what color  it is "supposed" to be.

...i loved history, theatre,art and writing.  i wrote poetry and short stories, created costumes, drew a lot of pictures and attended numerous live performances by professionals and amateurs. i was as comfortable listening to "top 10" as well as NPR's "all things considered"...and spent 12 years hearing teachers tell me i was very smart BUT was NOT working to my full potential * my youngest child is in high school and last spring his favorite teacher told me the administration was phasing out creative writing because it is not practically applicable to today's graduates. what?!?

                         creative writing...

who are these people? what rock do they live under?

my son is a lot like me- except he is really into sports in a way i don't get. but sports aside he loves to write. he has a poem that was published in an anthology of poetry written by middle school kids across the country. not every poem submitted was published. his poem was about music and what it meant to him. i encourage his creativity and his writing. he plays soccer but he's not the best or the fastest and he gets discouraged because he really enjoys soccer.

my son is spending his high school years being different. it means that for him being home on the weekends happens quite a lot. he isn't interested in going out and partying so he often doesn't get called when his buddies are making plans. he's very involved in speech and drama. he's a natural born leader and he writes. a lot.

so it blew me away when this teacher told me about phasing out creative writing. if creative writing and proper writing skills are not taught in high school then when?

when my daughter was in 4th grade she wanted me to read a paragraph she had written for school. i read it and it was written well enough to hand in but for the misspellings. i started to point these out to her and she grabbed her paper back and said 'my teacher said spelling doesn't count' 

spelling doesn't count? when does it begin to count? what's the magical age you reach when all of a sudden spelling counts?

so if we don't make our kids spell correctly and we don't teach them creative writing skills where will our books come from in the future? if we don't nurture talents that encourage creativity and individualism then we are failing our children.

my son is taking creative writing his last 4 semesters of high school. he told me he doesn't care if it's the same information each semester, he is taking it to prove a point and he will argue with his advisor if she tells him he can't.  he wants to be a writer. how can he be a writer if he isn't being challenged to reach his full potential? *perhaps there is a connection here?

i am encouraging him to color his sky red ... and spelling does indeed count.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

summer is over

autumn blue

today is the autumnal equinox. the days have been getting shorter for a while now.  i really enjoy autumn. the changing colors of the leaves. the cool nights and sleeping with the windows open so you can get cozy beneath a quilt. and then there is autumn blue. that's a color i made up- it is the shade of blue the sky is on a sunny day in fall when the leaves are turning and it's crisp outside. i am not sure what makes that shade of blue- the contrast of the yellows and golds and reds or the temperature- but it is a glorious color.
sunny days in autumn gives me  an energy i don't get in any other season.  and even though it is overcast and there has been a constant mist in the air for the past several days it doesn't seem to make my depression worse. in fact i enjoy walking outside on a damp misty day - it reminds me of when i was younger and walking was my only mode of transportation. i would disappear for hours hanging out at the park or walking to a friends house or just walking through the fallen leaves and kicking them up. i wish fall lasted longer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

it's all a lie

i keep waiting for the world to discover that it's all a lie. i'm really not an artist. who do i think i am putting myself in the same category as Botticelli or Grant Wood. i can't draw like MC Escher and i can't paint like DaVinci. i published a book too but i'm no JK Rowling.

neurotic? yes. people around here tell me all the time- "Well, you're the expert..."

i'm not!

i'm just this person who has a bunch on knowledge inside her head cuz i like to learn and i read a lot.

i'm just this person who likes to make things with her hands.

i'm just this person who HAS to create or else she'd disappear.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the bucket list-

have you seen this movie? The Bucket List is about two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.

i think we spend so much time being so busy NOT living in the moment that we put off too much in the someday list...

....someday I'm going to....

and then someday gets here and we have run out of time.

so what's on your bucket list? what if you made it your "in the moment list" and tried to do at least one thing on your list in the next 3-6 months?

i know what i want to do before i die-and i mean right before i die-i want to be holding the hand of the one i love beneath the Aurora Borealis ...there are so many myths about this wonderful natural phenomenon the one i like best is this one from the Algonquin Indians. They believed that Nanahbozho the Creator, after he finished creating the earth, travelled to the far north, where he still builds great fires which reflect southward, to remind those he created of his lasting love...

Monday, September 13, 2010

...sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams....

i saw "The Elephant Man" onstage years ago. that one line has been with me ever since because i am so full of dreams and ideas that at times i feel there isn't room for them all. sometimes i can get one of those ideas pinned down and actually do something with it. i beat myself up at other times because i can't seem to get any ideas out of my head and into my hands. is it part of being depressed? or is it just my real personality? some of my ideas are so out there i am not brave enough to do anything with them because i am afraid people will think i am really weird or scary.

have you ever seen that poster with the list of famous people with mental illness? It says people with mental illnesses enrich our lives vincent van gogh , charles dickens and leo tolstoy are on that list as are  beethoven and michelangelo...

so where do i fit in? i'm a tiny speck in a big universe with a head full of dreams trying to get them all out....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

i can understand...

...but i can't. big news around here the past week was a woman who went missing. she was found today and had apparently committed suicide. i know i have talked about depression and maybe even come across as a bit whiny at times.  i can't begin to know what her triggers were or even the thought process that went through her mind as she took her own life and left behind two teen aged daughters, a boyfriend and close family.. be honest i can put myself in her shoes because i have had thoughts of ending it before.

i am not a stranger to death. i have known death first hand and personally since i was 7 years old. my youngest sister died- that was the first funeral i attended. i observed my parents pain and sadness at the loss of their one month old child- my sister. by the time i was 29 years old i had attended 4 more funerals- my older brother, my grandfather, my grandmother and my father. by the time i was 40 the total had grown to 9- my husband's aunt who was like a second grandmother to my children, my mother in law, father in law and my own mother.  these people were all very close to me.

so it really doesn't matter- suicide, natural causes, accident or terminal illness. death is hardest on those left behind. and even when you're prepared for it you really aren't. and even though you had time to say goodbye you still feel lost and abandoned at times. the death of someone is not something you get over- you get through it. you can go for days, weeks, months at a time and be just fine and then something will happen- it might be a song you hear or a smell or the shade of blue the sky happens to be that day. you'll remember and think about the person who died and all that grief comes pouring out of you again. time heals the physical wounds and the scars will fade. the scars on your heart never completely heal because love never stops. love is the reason i'm still here. i love the people i would be leaving behind too much to cause them so much pain- their pain would be far greater than my pain -real or imagined.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


why is that when things seem to be going right i feel that something is wrong? i should be on top of the world right now, well not maybe to the pinnacle but pretty high up there. i have taken my struggling business and turned it around to where i am actually making money and i am doing what i love- teaching art to kids!

there are many times when i am my own worst enemy. i sabotage my success. Freud would have a field day with me on that one. i want to be successful and can even see myself successful ... take diet and exercise for an example. i am not happy with how much weight i have put on. i avoid mirrors and i dress to hide the weight. i know what i need to do i just can't do it. i have talked about this before and still i can't seem to find the right "thing" for me. i'm 49 years old and i plan on living to be 103 at least- i'd better get it figured out soon because middle age will be here in 2 and a half years....

so tonight, instead of reading in bed for awhile i am going to take my kindle and put the font size to this big and i will walk on that stupid treadmill  that i stub my toe on at least once a week  for at least 20 minutes. i'll let you know how it goes...and if it continues to go or if i sabatoge myself like i have done so many times before.....

ps. is it ok to walk barefoot on a treadmill? you see i really hate shoes

Monday, September 6, 2010 all makes sense now

growing up my mother was very taken with a painting by Edward Hopper. the title was "rooms by the sea"

i will admit when i was younger i didn't see the fascination for the painting, in fact i found it to be disturbing in a non threatening way. why is the ocean right outside the door? why does it look like there is nothing alive in this space? our public library had a program at the time where you could borrow framed pieces for your wall for a nominal fee. i think "rooms by the sea" spent more time on our living room wall than it did anywhere else. mom was so taken with the picture that my dad had a copy of it painted on canvas and framed for her for christmas one year. when mom died she left the painting to my brother.

 mom's been gone nine years now and i bought her house from her estate because i needed a home. right away i changed things so it wouldn't look like my mother's house. nothing huge because i was not a handy person and did not have the money being newly divorced but still i changed enough.

fast forward to a couple of weeks ago-my son and i were shopping together and he wandered over to the poster section.when i found him he was carrying this large print of "rooms by the sea". i was surprised by it. he told me we had to buy it because it belonged in the living room. you see it had always hung in the living room of nan's house and he loved the painting. he couldn't tell me why he liked it he just did and he really wanted me to buy it.

so i did. and it is hanging in the living room and it looks perfect. in fact it looks like i painted the living room just for that picture. now when i look at the piece i see a calm, quiet room with warm sunshine spilling in. i can imagine curling up on the red couch in the sun reading a book with the ocean outside my window to keep my company. it's a good place and i think now i understand why it spoke to her.