Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
Dim lighting in the hallway that leads to the chamber
Where dreams become part of the sequence of life
Sleeping sprits ignite the vapors of memory contained
Within a secret dark closet under the stairway of memory
The crowded shelves of images and words are dusty
Brought into focus only during the deepest slumber
An appreciation for art of all kinds is a practical way to stay sane. During free time we can fall into the trap of planning too much, doing too much, and expecting others to do too much. Then the pleasure of leisure dissolves into another competitive realm to conquer. I believe that one of the best ways to indulge oneself and nurture creativity is to spend time making or admiring art. This is an open category. Art includes performance art, movies, theater, stand-up comedy, dance, and musical concerts of every kind. It is also written, painted, sculpted, and drawn. One can find it in museums, galleries, front yards, gardens, and libraries. There is plenty of art to view on line, but I think the best place to look for artistic talent is within.
It is fine to be a student, a novice, a dilettante. We do not need to be naturally endowed with talent, training, or determination. We simply need to dedicate some time to the discovery of the inner artist. I believe we can all seek greatness in one medium or another. It does not hurt to try, and it can enhance life to find a creative outlet at which we may excel. I have pursued many crafty, arty visual arts, but now I like to combine the visual art with something in writing. I am attempting a little bit of fiction lately, which I find liberating. It inspires me to broaden my vocabulary and learn more about story crafting. I think writing is good for my imagination and problem solving skills.
I love singing and was trained very well in my youth. I am a second alto and can hold my part in harmony. I no longer sing in public but I accompany many of my favorite recording artists, providing the harmonic third while I listen. I don’t want to go to choir practice any more, but raising my voice is a thrill and a chill. It puts me in a good mood, which usually means I dance around the house too. For me there is no better stress relief than belting a song.
Do you make time for artistic expression? Can you think of ways your creative side helps you deal with some of the more annoying parts of living?
The journey into my stationary drawer and the the mailbox this month is a very healthy investigation into my skills. #InCoWriMo is a challenge in correspondence by hand, by snail mail during the month of February. I have received the most beautifully written letters from around the country. I am so impressed with some of the cursive that I tried it myself. Good grief, was I ever bad at it. It is not like riding a bicycle, it does not come back naturally. I was never great at penmanship, but I could do it 50 years ago. I am not sure when I switched to printing, but it probably was in architecture school. When I attempted to write longhand it was incredibly challenging, and I only lasted a short paragraph before I abandoned hope. I also notice how very addicted I am to spellcheck. I halt in the middle of writing a word by hand, and no magic feature steps in to spell for me..I am almost disabled by this. I have personally lost my own skills by not practicing them. It is not too late for me to recover lost skills of youth.
My new pen pals have shown me that I lean to hard on digital skills. If the internet goes down what will become of me? I must balance my creative life by spending some of it by hand on paper..I can still take a picture of it and post it on instagram. I used to sew, draw, write songs and poetry, all without computer assistance of any kind. I even had a treadle sewing machine at one point. I made my living as a production potter, throwing pots on a kick wheel. I was such a home grown/ hand made/ alternative economy hippie that I did now own a television. Now I hear people talking about going back to the old Nokia un-smart phone to regain balance in life. I don’t really have a phone addiction so much as a general digital device issue. Balance for me will involve spending more time writing by hand. I need the tactile therapeutic value of putting the pen on the paper. The muse responds differently than when it is coming through a keyboard. My manual muse needs encouragement. What about you, gentle reader? Do you still write by hand?
State of the Moon is a semi-regular, bimonthly check in with the universe. This is my first post that focuses on the moon, on astrology, on how what’s happening in the heavens impacts us on earth. I am still learning about astrology, but I process information through writing. I will also include links to blog […]
I had a wonderful shopping day yesterday that included the Old Town Farmers’ Market in Scottsdale as well as the Greek Orthodox monastery in Florence, AZ. Tasting all the samples at that wonderful Saturday morning market challenges one to pick favorites because there are so many delicious choices. Since I had a long drive I limited myself to products that would have no problem staying in the car for a while on a warm day. One such product is ZorroZ Bloody Mary Mix. I tasted it and loved the complex flavor. I could honestly just drink it straight up, but Fran Rons, the creator of the magical elixir, provides a card with recipes to spark new ideas for using this tasty liquid party in a bottle. I must try it in sloppy Joes because those are a favorite at our house, much more than Bloody Marys themselves. I also like his meatball recipe which I plan to knock off with a vegetarian nut loaf. Once the bottle is open I know I will be trying it in many ways. Guacamole is another suggestion Fran makes that sounds like a very good idea.
Today is Sunday, and I know that Bloody Mary is the official cocktail of Sunday morning for many people. I have lemons from our tree, some fabulous jalapeño stuffed olives and some celery for the garnish. My own preferred version is actually a red snapper, made with gin. Bob is in the garden working and I have been packing up some home made sauerkraut, making a big mess in the kitchen. We will wait until afternoon to savor our new cocktail mix, using it as a reward for finishing our respective tasks. As I write this post my mouth is beginning to water thinking about it. Are you a Bloody Mary fan, gentle reader? If you are I am recommending this excellent product to bring your cocktail to a new level of excitement. Cheers!!
The Hindu goddess Saraswati represents creativity and artful expression. Her role as an educator in the arts is combined with her inspirational qualities. She once was a river in India, so her fluidity is natural. Art turns emotional states into keen statements. She is a guide to bring artfulness to all aspects of living. Her inventive spirit sheds new light on the creative process. She is popular in India today. I enjoy seeing all the ways she is depicted. She rides a swan and plays music. Her influence is uplifting and encouraging, helping you to locate your muse. You can invite her into your dreams and meditation in subtle ways. I like to use a visualization which is a combination of some of my favorite techniques rolled into one:
This exercise does not need to include Hindu deities if that disturbs your sensibilities. It may be too much for you to think of hanging out with a goddess riding a swan. This same sequence will work well if you go to the temple and choose any entity, alive or dead, to join you and give you a gift. In reality you are both yourself and the gift giver in this program. The insight comes when you grasp the meaning of the gift and are able to use it to be more inventive and artful.
Our memories are not accurate, but serve as a guide to learning more about what might have happened. We fill in the blanks with what we are told or what is presumably common knowledge when we think about the past. This was never so clear to me as when a group of my elementary school friends recalled our childhood together after 50 years. Most of us remembered different versions of the past, with a few striking exceptions. The most hated teacher was remembered in her worst aspects. None of us could recall her being nice at all during the entire 5th grade year. The memories had become more like cartoons than real events, with only a few details sparking us to bring up related stories. The only event we all vividly recalled exactly the same was an incident involving a girl who spewed vomit out of her nose. In the third grade this made a very big impression on all of us. I believe the intense olfactory element of the memory is what made it so specific. We laughed about it, but this was the most memorable shared experience we had from our time in elementary school. She was not present, but she was the center of attention for a while.
Good and romantic memories may be built on delusion or on fables that are repeated and slightly altered by each person who tells them. We recall certain details and omit others to patch together a self-fulfilling story of cause and effect. Our dreams and pastimes create frameworks for the past to become a fairy tale, and our self-image a sport. Time changes our perspective and buries much of the unpleasant reality under a blanket of foggy forgetfulness. We are all in the same memory soup in this sense. None of us is a reliable witness to anything we experienced in the past. Some choose to highlight the suffering, and others feature past success or accomplishment as the anchor to the ship of self-definition. The overriding emotions blur the facts, and that is all perfectly normal.
I remember writing poems and songs when I was very young. I have no examples of any of it, but I am sure I was prolific. I sent poems to magazines for publication. I saved my rejection letters because I was into my role as a poet. I played piano and clarinet when I was very young, but switched to baritone ukulele, then later guitar for my role as teen folk singer. My first job in life was as a singer and a costumer when I was 17 years old. I traveled to North Carolina for the summer theater gig my high school choir director had helped me land. My mother and aunt drove me across Tennessee, stopping at the Grand Ole Opry to see a show. Minnie Pearl was on stage…memorable Minnie. I arrived in Cherokee, North Carolina in high spirits because I was working and living away from my parents. It was my high dive into the deep end, and I was thrilled. “Where am I going with this?”, you may wonder, gentle reader.
I am returning to some kind of remembered roots in this blog for the month of April, 2015. I will participate in #NaPoWriMo and create 30 poems in 30 days right here. I have been enjoying a period of study and immersion into poems and poets, and now will boldly commit to the creative task of being a poet all next month. I have done enough creative ventures in my life to know that there are many different tastes, and therefore room for all kinds of art. After April I will resume my matter of fact writing style. I hope my poetic posting will please you. For me it is a big stretch beyond my present boundaries, and that is why I want to do it. If you send rejection letters I will be perfectly understanding. By publishing I am already moving beyond my childhood limits. I believe it is good to find a new high dive into the deep end from time to time.
I recently reached the conclusion that I have never in my life done menu planning. I love to cook and be creative, and I also aspire to healthy eating. I own so many cookbooks they are running out my ears, and I am tuned in to all kinds of digital food situations including television’s Food Network. I have never examined why I don’t follow recipes and don’t do meal planning even though my food life is very big. I tweet about dishes and preparations with my friends at #Mmgd all year. We sometimes gather under that hashtag for twitter parties that include recipes and pictures. Some of us have met in real life, but all of us are food friends forever. Digital food is non threatening and completely calorie free.
I like to watch people make food at least as much as I like to eat it. Iron Chef was always popular at our house, as are many of the holiday specials traditional to this time of year. On weekends we take in all manner of victuals visually before we venture out to taste anything in real life. We follow our instincts and our mood to decide where to dine or which farmers market to attend. We have favorites but are always on the lookout for new places to try. We don’t like to overeat, but enjoy being very gourmet in our selections.
I now see that my aversion to menu planning has been an excuse to avoid realistic assessment of my diet. I eat well, and shop pretty well, but the specific desire to freestyle every meal I prepare is a real flaw. I have been pretending that I need to be plan free in order to reach my creative potential as a chef. Nothing could be less realistic. Chefs know how they will use ingredients and tightly budget to make the most of all the provisions they purchase. I shop with wild abandon and then later I must put it all together and avoid waste. I am going to shift the emphasis from improvisation on random seasonal ingredients to balanced menu planning. I will still have a wild card from the fresh produce in season and in abundance. I will not be entirely without my creative hobby, but will elevate my planning to a more strategic level. I will still be spontaneous, but for the first time I will be working with a plan. What a concept!! How do you like to arrange your food preparation, gentle reader? Do you follow a plan, or like to freestyle in the kitchen? Do you make up your own meal plans or take advise from other sources? Bon Appetite! May your days be tasty and bright!
In Greek mythology the nine muses are daughters of Mnemosyne. She was the muse of memory. Zeus slept with her for 9 nights, resulting in the birth of the 9 muses. They were raised by Apollo and a nymph in a secluded atmosphere. They became completely dedicated to the arts. Each was in charge of a different aspect of culture:
June 14 is celebrated as the birthday of the muses. Have you ever tried to invite a muse for a visit in your creative world? I have wanted to be more poetic since I discovered my Pilgrim poet ancestor, Mistress Bradstreet. I made some effort in April to write a poem each day, but I think the missing piece is the muse. I have trudged away at the poems without inviting a spark or a mystic inspiration to reach into the creative process. I have assigned myself the job of poet, but have not consulted with the poetic energy that inspires and makes art possible. Words themselves need a creative current or tradition on which to flow, or the audience will be left flat. I love comedy the best, although Mistress Bradstreet was more about sacred hymns. Next time I go out into the world I will ask Thalia to accompany me to find the humor in what I experience. Which is your favorite muse? Could you call on them to enhance your creativity more often? I know I could.
Yesterday I enjoyed making art in a new way with Jeanne Fellow at Blue Raven Art School. I had visited her studio and purchased a couple of her beautiful pieces and learned about the LumenArt class. My classmate Jeannie Gentry had done exactly the same thing. We both were very excited to try our hand at making one of these very special lamps. Our 5 hour class went by very quickly. Everything was set up for us on the shaded patio. Each of us had our own work table and basic tools. After a thorough demonstration of the basic techniques we chose colors and started our own experiment in color mixing. Some of the inks are iridescent, but those also block the light from within when it is a finished LumenArt. The fun of it all is that you don’t know how it will really look until you light it. Jeanne encouraged us to feel free and confident to play around. Both students created three possible candidates for lighting. The class materials include two sheets of incredible paper that allows all kinds of layering and special techniques without tearing. We each bought one extra sheet because we had enough time and were seriously into it. When dry we selected one to become our lamp. Choosing color for the base and tearing the final design we had supervision and plenty of encouragement from our teacher. This project is practically impossible to do badly. The materials guarantee that the finished product will be thrilling. She teaches a class in using these techniques on fabrics that will also be fun. If you are an experienced artist/craftperson you will love this class. If you think you are not creative and have no talent for art you will be blown away by your own amazing abilities when Jeanne shows you how to release them. My LumenArt is now making me very happy and proud in my living room at home. I also have two other fabulous pieces of art that I made. I even love my scraps. I would encourage anyone to investigate creativity and find your own inner light in one of Jeanne’s classes. She rules.