Sunday, September 28, 2008

Expressions In The Arts

I crossed paths with an acquaintance of mine during a grocery store run. She is a fellow artist and it seems whenever we meet, we have lengthy chats about our recent ventures and struggles to "get our artwork out there". I have never seen her artwork, but for some reason, her and I have this relaxed understanding between us that confirms my nagging belief in reestablishing a meeting place for hungry artists. Hungry for reassurance, inspiration, motivation and a place to show and tell our tales of expression and strip away the layers; hiding our soul's intention.

In fact, I know and have met many creative souls that are always eager to talk with me about their craft because I love to listen. It's fascinating when I hear the language of spontaneous art. It is the emotional songs in our conversation that sing about intangible, imaginative and moving moments that can only be captured by the artist's mind and eye. Beautiful, irrational, ghostly, fleeting, timeless, raw and sometimes unintentional.

In the next few months I will dig through the files of "someday" folders and place them in the "today" pile. A few years ago I nurtured an idea and it was called Expressions In The Arts and was followed up by my monthly newsletter called The Artisan Article. The way I see it as the days unfold, the HUMAN spirit is in GREAT DEMAND!! A thread of ideas, forging community spirit, and creative ingenuity. Not just art, but a forum for inspiration, uplifting escape and personal expression. I'm sorry and tired of hiding and pausing my talents and good intentions. I can sing, I can speak, but I lost my courage somehow.

Courage: (noun) mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Got it!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Up To My Elbows

Dirty dishes in my sink
Gives me time to stop and think...
What it means to wash a glass, a mug, a spoon, a plate and knife
Contributes to your well-being and purpose to my mundane life.

I don't like doing the dishes. Other days I hate it. My emotions fight it every time it is time. See? I'm here at the computer, instead of washing the morning dishes. It only takes about ten minutes or so, but it feels like an agonizing endless chore. I did time myself once or twice using the microwave clock-timer. I set the countdown at ten minutes and I raced through the whole pile give or take a few seconds.

Now a good stack of anxiety could consist of about four to five dinner plates, five glasses, several cereal/icecream bowls and assorted utensils. Throw in a coffee mug, some of those Chinese take-out bowls that accumulate even though you just want to throw away, and of course, a greasy frying pan with matching flipper. If I can arrange and rinse the mess in some sort of order on the counter before I begin, the roar and growling from irritated food particles isn't as audible. I robotically fill up the stainless steel sink with hot water, add about seven or eight squirts of liquid soap, swish, swirl and animate my sculpture of suds. There's no turning back now.

I have the classic set-up. My back is to the room and I have a window with a view. A view of the driveway, old mother tree, and the tree lined road. Like I said, I have the classic set-up. My back is turned, I am banished; facing a spotted and smudged, cobweb laden window. My anguish soars along the tree lined road hoping someone will rescue me.

I don't slip into latex gloves like some ladies. Indeed I have a pair. I even bought the hot pink Playtex ones over the yellow thinking I could fool myself to add whimsy to my cleaning experience, but I really only use them for the real scrub jobs. This is a ten minute dig compared to a hour scourge in the bathtub but that's another story.

Dishes stacked. Check. Sleeves rolled up. Check. Nose is itched. Check. My hands glide into the steaming water and my thoughts drift through the window screen as suds stick and roll along my hands and arms. If I hurry, I'm sure I'll break something, but if I can focus on the diligent rhythm of dip, swirl, dip, swirl, stack, rinse, stack, then this task will not reach that nerve. So in the words of the famous zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, "The time of dishwashing is as important as the time of meditation. That is why the everyday mind is called the Buddha's mind." (from Present Moment Wonderful Moment Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living)

The moment arrives when the last orphan spoon shines in the running water and plops into the draining cup. Down goes the water. Down goes the soap. I'm free! I'm free! I have put aside all traces from my transcedental meditational session, and I turn around to embrace my release. I whisper never to wash another thing for the rest of my life and then I gasp and witness my youngest son filling up a clean glass with refreshing, cold milk. "Thanks Mom!" Ah Heaven.

Friday, September 05, 2008

What More Do You Want? A Political Statement

(a letter to an Obama supporter)

Can you convince me that democracy will still stay in place and I'm not going to have to share MORE of my hard earned income and wealth (peace of mind) with lazy asses that collect welfare and sit in front of a computer all day upgrading their My Space (They've got satelite TV, cellphones, jewelry, drugs, nails, and fresh tattoos) and then listen to how they're really hurtin' and can't wait for the free stuff Obama's gonna give 'em. Y'know, that white collar computer nerd, stock broker, engineer, pharmacist "employer" just bought me Christmas dinner, gave me a raise and a 401K option so I can support a family. Who else is gonna do that? Joe Schmo, the union president, taking his 5th cigarette break and figuring out how he's going to stick it to the man, fuck over his fellow co-workers and fake some "on the job" disability? I certainly don't want any hand outs from the Government, although the economic stimulus package was helpful, but SURPRISE! you only got it if you paid taxes! People have to take care of themselves. We don't need a president who is going to coddle lazy people with more government programs. We already have Medicaid, and don't even get me started on Medicare and Social Security that I contribute to every week. I never met so many wealthy unhappy, unappreciative, selfish seniors in my life! "Whadda mean my monthly co-pay is ten dollars? My entre at Red Lobster is only $9.99!"

Tell me that I can proudly still hold on to my guns and religion, that I don't have to watch the family unit be mocked by trans gender legalized gay marriages, that the freedoms we enjoy today, like walking in a mall, visiting a historic site, traveling abroad, like to the Grand Canyon (lol) isn't going to be diminished because for the last eight years, we haven't had a single bombing incident on American soil. Please don't be one of those nuts who believes Rosie O'Donnell. Wasn't the National Guard in Louisiana for "the storm of the century?" See what happens when you have a real leader there that says, "Either you get the fuck out (evacuate), or you're screwed." And in came the buses. We've got a kick ass military, let's keep it that way, and let me tell you what, I want them over there on the offensive in the Middle East keeping an eye on those fuckers and helping the Iraq people live freely, kids play, people shop, eat, dress, speak their minds. We take it all for granted here.

And who the hell are these 21st Century 20 something anarchists breaking the law in MN? Get a fuckin' job you wayward brat! They've got is so bad. Did Mommy forget to put the jelly on both sides of the bread?

It's 3am...and I know where my children are, we are a proud hard working, law abiding contributors to our community, and this country. My DH works for a municipality with all its BS, but it puts food on the table, shelter over our heads, gas in our cars, health coverage, and all the other necessities we need to live and be . I work for a pharmacist who owns several properties, drives a nice car, has a fuckin beautiful Jag, doesn't know how to hold a hammer, but he's awesome to work for! I wish I made more money, but it's my choice to stay and work there. I could've gone and finished college, but I didn't. I'm not going to blame the government for my life! So we live within our means and when all is said and done, we're content because as you know, it's not ever about things. I do wish for you plenty of success and wealth as you pursue your happiness. See you at the polls.

“My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.” ~ Barack Obama

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Call It What You Want

During my earlier artistic endeavors, I illustrated and colored spirited and spontaneous designs of color and shape. It was very freeing to create. Controlled doodling, really.

Applying myself to that natural response, I completed this 12" x 18" colored pencil piece that you see. I was pleased to pursue my play and make mini frame and focus areas mounted for notecards. An amusing way to stimulate more expressive possibilities. Call it what you want.