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Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Rambling Voyage

The place to start is best at the beginning, on this clean white page with my new, never been used before pen. Well maybe I can write fiction. Certainly none of the above is true.

Recently on radio I listened (well you do don’t you, listen) to a psychologist (probably from L.A.) talk about helping writers with their block… His advice was to write the worst sentence you were capable of.

I guess the theory was it was all up from there…

But I am uncertain, what does an original worst possible sentence look like?

See, I am blocked already, by trying to figure out the word original. What does it mean? Totally new within the confines of language ever uttered/written?  Well I am certainly not clever enough to climb to those lofty heights. How about a collection and redistribution of words already written? Would that count?

I went to see a man about a dog, while watching that pig fly I wondered, how was it possible; surely gravity knows no bounds, when suddenly the lights went out. Is that bad enough to be going on with?

I did the math with the help of a calculator. I never was good with numbers, well  50,000 words in 30 days is 1666.66 words a day. What would .66 look like if it were a word? Enl probably.

Could I manage to even think that many words in a day let alone actually putting them on paper? That sure is a puzzle. I wonder too how many people cheat. Like me for instance, this I tell myself is a practice round to see if I have that many words in my brain in a day. Today is still October; I have yet to sign into the NaNoWriMo program. I wonder how many budding novelists (do they really bud?) have actually finished the novel before they even start if you see what I mean.

I am going to count these words now to see just how much I have accomplished in the last 30 minutes. Because that is what this is about isn’t it, volume! I make it 359 words that is 11.86 words a minute. Man, I shall have to buy a stop watch for this endeavor. Still that means what about 192 minutes a day. Whew that will take some doing.

Between coffee breaks, the resulting pee breaks plus the procrastination inherent in every creative endeavor you are looking at a full time job here. Can I really afford the time or must I quit my day job?

I recently attended a writer’s retreat where the NaNoWriMo  writing challenge was mentioned. We were all quite excited about the idea, but then ideas are easy to get excited about. It is the work entailed in the idea that usually puts the brakes on endeavor.

You will have noticed by now. I really like that word. And procrastination, that is another great word. We are all capable of it, but then my feeling is that we are all capable of most anything with negative connotations. Murder cheating, lying, stealing which really makes for an interesting story and perhaps an interesting life, but stressful too I think.

But if you were going to procrastinate about sitting down to write, would you really choose to clean the house instead, to knock down all the chandeliers in the rooms? That is what a friend called all those hangy downy spiders’ webs that adorn our ceiling, chandeliers.

As a general rule it takes months of accumulated dust and grime for them to take on a real presence. But they are worth the trouble. They dance on the currents of air and eventually spin into a whole world of interesting sculptural shapes when left long enough. History has its uses. They are quite beautiful in an organic kind of way.

dust on the window screens

dust on the window screens

Magnetic once again

Magnetic once again

I am irrational to the bone

A prehistoric collision of

Divine thunder dark with cloud

A stone woman burnt earth

Body scorched by life love flame

Sacred descent hand

Touching hand

Warm with certainty.

nude oil on canvas

nude oil on canvas

Another bit of prose from last November, somehow with all the fall birds migrating, dozens of crows, juncos, cedar waxwings, redwing black birds, all manner of sparrows and thrushes it felt right.

Decisions, Decisions

I always leave the framing of my work in the skilled hands of Bill and Andrew of Strand Fine Art.

Having made all the decisions in the works creation I find I simply can’t make the final one of framing.

It seems there is a threshold on how many decisions you can make in a day, in a life before you start making ones that are questionable. This rings true to me.

Georgia O’Keeffe always wore black or white, she decided not to make the decision every day on what colour to wear. As artists it’s true it is hard work to decide what colour to put on the end of your brush.

But with discipline and a lifetime of practice often comes grace, then the work flows from eye to hand without conscious thought, the decision is made in the ether of endless possibilities.

At age seventy eight she exhibited mammoth cloud paintings ; ”she seemed to levitate above the concerns of most mortals as she immersed herself in the grandeur of nature”, the paintings “objects of quiet delight and contemplation”.


Balancing Acts

Balancing Acts

(1 pg. 391 Portrait of an Artist, A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe author Laurie Lisle

Art alleviates pain

Published in 1956

This illustration reminds me of Frida Kahlo’s paintings. I wonder if she would approve?

We saw the film Frida recently and I was reminded that the first  time I saw her work outside of a book I was stunned at how small in size they were, many no more than twelve inches square. But now I realize she started painting to alleviate pain; her father’s idea. She was bed ridden for more than a year as a young woman, it makes sense they would be small.

In Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle also talks about the ability of art to relieve pain. Her granddaughter was struck by a truck, with serious head injuries no pain medication was possible, so the family spent hours at a time, for days and then weeks reading to her as she slowly recovered. Her continued refrain is heart wrenching, “Please read me another story”.

Acclaimed Haida master sculptor Bill Reid in later life suffered from Parkinson’s, but if active in his studio had no loss of motor control.

The creative process is still a little understood thing, how wonderful is that?

The illustration is from In Search of Adam, very outdated as it was published in 1956, but with very good black and white photographs.