nine notations

Scrolling around on Instagram, lazily watching the Insta-Stories, I stumbled across Alisha Sommer taking note of the day. She had listened to an interview with the poet, Marie Howe by Krista Tippett on her podcast, On Being. In it, Marie Howe spoke of asking  her students to observe, be present, record what they see without attaching meaning to it, without using metaphor.

 ... I ask my students every week to write 10 observations of the actual world. It’s very hard for them.

MS. TIPPETT: Really?

MS. HOWE: They really find it hard.

MS. TIPPETT: What do you mean? What is the assignment? 10 observations of their actual world?

MS. HOWE: Just tell me what you saw this morning like in two lines. I saw a water glass on a brown tablecloth, and the light came through it in three places. No metaphor. And to resist metaphor is very difficult because you have to actually endure the thing itself, which hurts us for some reason.

MS. TIPPETT: It does.

MS. HOWE: It hurts us.

MS. TIPPETT: You naming something.

MS. HOWE: We want to say, “It was like this; it was like that.” We want to look away. And to be with a glass of water or to be with anything — and then they say, “Well, there’s nothing important enough.” And that’s whole thing. It’s the point.

MS. HOWE: It’s the this, right?

MS. HOWE: Right, the this, whatever. And then they say, “Oh, I saw a lot of people who really want” — and, “No, no, no. No abstractions, no interpretations.” But then this amazing thing happens, Krista. The fourth week or so, they come in and clinkety, clank, clank, clank, onto the table pours all this stuff. And it so thrilling. I mean, it is thrilling. Everybody can feel it. Everyone is just like, “Wow.” The slice of apple, and then that gleam of the knife, and the sound of the trashcan closing, and the maple tree outside, and the blue jay. I mean, it almost comes clanking into the room. And it’s just amazing.

once upon a time | nested meditation

from July 2004:

This is a technique that was shared with my writing workshop group this week. It is called Nested Meditation. I will share what I wrote and then give the instructions that were sent to me.

May you live all the days of your life.

May you live. All the days of your life will be filled with beauty.

May you live. All the days of your life will be filled. With beauty, you will walk toward the horizon.

May you live. All the days of your life will be filled. With beauty, you will walk. Toward the horizon, you will fix your gaze and continue walking.

May you live. All the days of your life will be filled. With beauty, you will walk. Toward the horizon, you will fix your gaze. And continue walking to find more grace.

May you live. All the days of your life will be filled. With beauty, you will walk. Toward the horizon, you will fix your gaze. And continue walking to find more. Grace and mercy will paint the sky.

May you live. All the days of your life will be filled. With beauty, you will walk. Toward the horizon, you will fix your gaze. And continue walking to find more. Grace and mercy will paint. The sky will burst forth with vibrant colors of love.

once upon a time | and forgiveness still

I finally watched the movie Moana this week. There was a line spoken ( that I haven't been able to find listed as a quote ... so maybe I made it up but I don't think so ) that was something about you can't know where you are or where you are going if you don't where you were. 

And that is why I am revisiting posts from the past. It's difficult to go back to who I was, to how sure I was of a life and a faith that I have now left behind. It's easy for me to label what was in all the negative ways. It is more difficult but also more important for me to hold every step with grace, honoring where I was because it brought me to where I am. 

wander and wonder

not all those who wander are lost
— jrr tolkien

and so the words say, as if being lost is a bad thing. 

What if being lost allows you to discover new paths?

What if being lost drowns out the external voices that scream, "This way! That way!"

What if getting lost is how you find your way home?

chasing shadows

As a fair skinned red head, I've never liked being in the sun. Though my growing up years found me inside more than not, when I did venture out, I found my sanctuary in the shade of the trees. Many times, I would hide in the branches of an old, unbelievably large, dogwood tree in our backyard. There I was sheltered from the harsh beams of light and life, held within the dappled soft play of illumination and shadow. 

I have said that it is a softer light that I seek but it is the shadow that captivates me. 

i'm an awkward penguin

It was fun to practice a new skill. I found this type of art making far more physical than I expected it to be and the process of identifying the negative space is challenging for me. I left with mad respect for the medium and for the work of the teacher, Sunny Mullarkey. 

I also left with the reminder that I am an awkward penguin. ( thanks to a nameless friend who first described herself as such ... I get it) Just like Roxane Gay, I am socially awkward, weird, and I live in my head. 

i am quitting my job

In the Summer of 2007, I picked up a paintbrush for the first time. Though I am sure I painted, drew, created my way through elementary school and maybe into the middle school years, from my teens on to the age of forty-three, I was not the artist. 

But then there was that day at an art camp my children were attending that someone believed in me before I could believe in myself. She created a portal for me and all I had to do was step through. It was a terrifying moment, huddled in the corner of the room, crying and wanting to run out of the building. I knew my life would forever be altered. With one big breath, I stood and chose my path. 

It was a mess of years that followed as I fought the old thoughts that tried to define me and undefine me. I slowly built this relationship with art making, with creating something from something else. It was my healing; it was my reclaiming myself. 

Something has changed. Something has worked its way into the process that is blocking the flow and the desire to create. 

once upon a time | the future is now

Once upon a time, a woman started a blog. She had no intentions other to find a space where her voice mattered. Being a mother of many, her hours were devoted to

keeping a home

living, loving, learning, and laughing with her children

the feeding and care of them, him, and others

At the end of the day, she had forgotten who she was or who she thought she was. Truth be told, moving immediately from adolescence to motherhood and marriage isn't conducive to establishing self identity. She went seeking herself in the words she could type out on a computer, click a publish button, and send out into the great world wide web. 

She found herself and she found others as well. Life seemed less lonely while navigating through thoughts, ideas, and dreams with kindred souls. The twists and turns of the quest led to a lovely life quite different than she ever imagined. A free life. 

and I begin again on the Summer Solstice

As I am typing this, the second hand has moved past the moment in time ... 12:24 am, June 21sts ... The Summer Solstice is upon us. The longest day of the year will now give way to ever shortening days. The dark will come sooner. My heart says yes. 

I love the darker days. It is where I find the mystery and the magic and oh, I am longing to create some magic of my own. I want rituals and rhythms. I want spells and potions.