Saturday, August 14, 2010

Submerged emerged

On Friday, I wrote a short story and painted my first canvas painting. It was an ecstatic day for me. I loved both of my productions, even if, in fact, they are not, or won't be, critically acclaimed. But, I was in heaven. I had produced. I had expressed something buried inside of me. Not one but two forms had emerged and waved their hands to say, "I am here. Finally, you let me out."

This was especially true with the painting, which was supposed to be a base coat for a bigger plan. Yet, a face emerged after the base coat dried. My husband and I both described it in similar ways, as if we both turned as the ghost departed the room and both bore witness and could testify. A young man with a well-proportioned face appears in my painting. I had no intention or skill at drawing such a face, but there he is. I knew immediately that I couldn't paint over him, so I went to the art store for another canvas. Now, if another face emerges, I will be wondering and worried, but yet, strangely and unexpectedly . . . . honored?

My short story is quite expressionistic, drawn from a painting of Kokoshka's 'The Degenerate Artist" which I found in my art book. Yet the story has clear progression and unity, of which I'm thankful. I need to fill in the gaps and make it less bony and more muscular. I think I'll get it ready for a competition in November. I wrote it in two hours, and I really did like the results.

Now, I'm writing curriculum, which is also a creative act of gathering and/or bringing forth.

My husband has been jokingly calling me an artist all day. When I rode the bike with him, he said that I was an athlete artist wonder woman beauty. I love husbands.:) He is supportive of me taking a hike in a mountain meadow while he counts things somewhere. I am blessed. Thank you, God, for wonder and goodness and support. Amen.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Walden moment

I am on the back porch and the air presses hotly down, suppressing buoyant plans. Inside, the television is on, and the air is cool. Outside, I hear the elm tree blowing against the pine tree. I hear the lawn sprinkler pattering, and I hear my rough-edged rear neighbor whose voice belts out, and I wish I was far away down a lane, away from society. Yet I could be in a city, like Paris, where you see and hear and experience all the human drama around you, and you adapt and perhaps call it good. I'm not sure how I could adapt unless I had natural sounds transmitted by ear buds into my ears. All that commotion would be hard for me to call good.

I wanted to come outside and think on what Thoreau is saying in his next, second chapter which is called "Where I Lived, and What I Lived for." He talks here about living a life which is full and deep and not "frittered away by details." Again his theme is to live freely from encumbrances which detract from having "lived life fully."

Thoreau was quite detached in principal. He advised his readers to avoid commitment to anything and to value simplicity and solitude: "I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion" (30). He's funny too.

I think many of us long to live Thorea-styled lives because we have many interruptions, commitments, lives full of those who depend upon us. We've already entrenched ourselves into the life that Thoreau would not promote, although he concedes at times that if this what you love, by golly, love and live it fully. But, many times, we find ourselves living a life that we didn't really intend. My husband says this which give me permission to say it as well.

What life did I intend to live? And, is it even possible to reach that life because it would also be fraught with uncomfortable stretches, of swamps, of people which I wouldn't know what to do with when they tried to do something with me. My sympathies have been like a trumpet vine which want to climb up rocks and wrap around branches. I doubt that it would have even been possible to live the life I wanted, given my personality, dispositions.

However, I know a few people who have tried to retrain what used to cling on to others' hopes for them and not their own. I've taken a small group at church to assert my claim to me (as the self-identity wave of Christianity is favorable right now). But yet I still have fish nibbling at my legs when I stand in the pure creek, and those fish are mine to feed, and I have character to develop as I go outside myself and tend to others. Somehow Thoreau seems to promote both in a way that begins with self: "Set about doing good." By good, he means by living well, healthfully, and without giving anyone else your "disease" of living without awareness. Among other ways, awareness hits one while outside tending to one's own garden, listening to the birds, being industrious without the work itself becoming the master, but the means to a better end of freedom from it. I've heard these ideas before on walks and from books.

But for me, I have a few minutes until I'll be called to go shop at Home Depot for new bathroom tile. I will have to make do with this because it's calling me to attend to it. I want the spirit of awareness to be part of what I must do, rather than expectantly waiting for detachment which isn't where I am or will be. And, do I really want detachment? I don't think so.

Yet Thoreau makes us strip things bare, and he tells us to look and see for what we're living. If there's a pack of bottle rockets I can avoid setting off, then I still do have the chance to live worthily by not lighting the match that makes chaos happen. Just yesterday morning, a lily with sparkling dew snuffed my disquieted thoughts. I walked away having bathed in my own under-nose Walden Pond. A Walden moment, a God call.

Those moment retreats can happen in any setting and in every life which finds itself in places unintended but yet unfurling with a wave of hello.

Off to the building store.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Henry David

I've turned to my blog again to state and express how much I'm enjoying reading Thoreau again. If I stated the same on Facebook, my relatives might think I'm uppity -- one relative said as such about some of my postings which had to do with thinking or reading.

The point is, though, that I'm enjoying reading Thoreau quite a lot. His humor in the chapter "Economy" is really making me chuckle. He inspires me to think again of the "less is more" stance and to question what freedom really is. What owns us? Does our house? Our knickknacks, our mode of travel, our inheritance, our clothes, our strife? Would true freedom even interest us? If not, then he would surmise that we have something growing crooked within us.

When I think of Henry bucking the traditional way, going against the grain, being looked at as an oddity, I am inspired by his vision which looked toward the elemental - consciousness as being the clearest. So often our vision is impaired and obstructed by things and ideas. Even in a faith walk, my vision can be cluttered by what isn't even there, or necessary, or projected.

My blogging time is up, but pleasantly reading Thoreau continues!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


It's easier for me to walk away than to stay. I used to go into hiding all too often when young -- down the hill into the wooded back 20, into the hall closet, out and up in the grain bin in the old milk barn. Quiet places for quitting. Thinking, detaching. Human emotions were too strong to deal with. Sounds were too loud in our small house. I was best as a quitter which meant peacefulness and restoration.

I'm reading a book now about quitting called, "Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith" by Barbara Brown Taylor. It helps a quitter to know a quitter, and to realize that quitting isn't a full response; it's a partial punch at something threatening, and it's often a sacrifice of what poses as good to what is better, or necessary.

I've always felt badly about quitting. Even now, after I've quit my first local music group, I've agonized about what I'll be missing even though I know I will not miss the : frustrations : complexities : the dullness : the time : the lack of challenge in a new direction: lack of developed friendships. I will miss the singing : the laughs : the nursing home residents : the songs, their small group histories : members.

All in all, I really despise quitting. I know that I desire something different and new; however, the stepping off and away can be like a lonely girl moving off down the cow path in tears for something she can't control or find.

Perhaps the idea of permanence is one of the best appeals of the Christian faith. A permanence of joy and belonging, a permanence of relationship, a permanence of goodness. Here in this world, quitting can mean ourselves seeking for the best, seeking a way out of impermanence (turmoil) which can be threatening in some way or the other. Striking out for the one-day, perhaps today, hope of a strand of permanence.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


No wallops; no self-improvement programs to become Christian Barbie; no shame; no apple blame. Tonight, at church, a woman spoke about how women bear God's image and how we shouldn't be ashamed about our femininity because of tradition, or abuse, or misogyny, subtle or direct. There were video voices, faces from women speaking about how they --
hid being a girl when they were a tomboy, hating pink
hid being smart
hid behind baggy clothes after their figures had been violated
hid from church leadership
hid from shame of desires, ambition
hid from judgment of working outside the home
hid who they were created to be

and had to learn that who they are is Good. Ordained. Fashioned for strength. Promoted for clearer identity. An Image Bearer of their Creator. A thing to ponder and proclaim.

The sermon was quite unusual. Dare say "empowering" of women. Women empowerment has definitely been looked down upon, caveat-ed, constrained, retrained. My husband says it's because of fear, always when someone might be better than you. And, lack of control over a segment which could potentially overpower the other at times. (The police with clubs in Memphis during the MLK's peace march.) Placing one in a category/role to be tidy. We all do this.

A message specifically relevant to women without the wallop, perfection-plea, apple blame. Amazing. I sat at the edge of my seat for this new and startling and positive message sent to men and women alike throughout our congregation.

Fruit. May it grow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Swinging on the front porch while Bo bale jumps

A new/old friend reminded me of blogs, and, thus, I remembered Bo out jumping the figurative bales, waiting for me to join in writing-wise. I'm glad, always needing the writing reminder, the water-splash in the face. Good! Thanks.

Speaking of faces, I will become one soon above a guitar or a mandolin in a new musical group I've been asked to join: Front Porch Swing. Ah, yes, I'm just one of the girls in Front Porch Swing. Quite excited. I posted, early on in this blog, an account of watching them play downtown, and how I dared to long that one day, I could be one of them. I guitar-subbed for them last month and moped for a week when it was over, until one of the members told me that the democratic process had extended its hand, and I am a new band member. Jubilee! Yet, I must practice and impress by not being any trouble to those who can spin out the songs, particularly the rapid hammer dulcimer ladies, who even though sweet, need quick action so they can fly. All "better" players want the flight. Therefore, here goes ==> a chance to jump off a musical cliff for some kind of results. We shall see what kind.