Hello friends! It’s a gorgeous, cold, sunny Saturday morning–one of what I call my “movie Saturdays” because I have nothing else planned but you guessed it. Despite the fact that I recently cleaned out my Netflix queue, there are still 276 documentaries, comedies, horrors, thrillers, foreigns, dramas, and television shows on it, and it’s fun to spend a day trawling through them. I’m watching a German movie called As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me, about a German prisoner of war who escapes from a Russian prison camp to get back home eight years later. It’s okay. That I’m writing this with one eye on the screen lets you know how merely okay it is, but it’s interesting enough to stay with until the end. I hope the poor guy gets home after all he’s been through, including having to spend a few blizzardy months cinematically copulating with the beautiful Siberian nomad woman who rescued him. Poor, poor man. Can you imagine the horror?
Oh look, there, he finally makes it home to his wife and daughter, who gaze up at him with barely a twinge of surprise and eye-rolling madonna-like adoration as he interrupts their evening church service to make himself known, despite the fact that he’d been at the house only moments before, hiding behind a corner when they left to GO to church. Yay. So anyway, that’s done. I’m sorry if I ruined the movie for anybody, but seriously, it just wasn’t that good. You’d be much, MUCH better off watching The Cuckoo, an unfortunate name for an excellent movie on the same-ish topic.
I haven’t been over here writing because I’ve been otherwise occupied. Still doing what I always do–much inner work, dream recording, contemplation, keeping my feet rooted to the earth while bending toward heaven, so to speak, because that’s what I like doing best. It has been an incredibly rich time for me; I feel so full of wonder and joy… and sorrow… and anger… so many emotions erupt as I pay heed to my shadows and gather my gold. The best thing to come from this time is a fuller sense of who I am and a strong determination to live my own truth, clear-eyed and upright with my hands to myself. You remember in grade school when the teacher would tell little Jimmy to keep his hands to himself? All of my life I’ve reached out to somebody to define me, anybody to tell me who I am. I don’t need to do that anymore. I define myself. And I really do now; it isn’t just a distant concept, forever barely out of reach. Here it is in my hand.
But for now, I’m not talking about it. I want–need–to keep my dreams and details to myself, like a dragon in her cave, sleeping on her pile of treasure, like a fern frond unfurling in the dark, or a crocus tucked down in the soil of winter, making its infinitesimal preparations to emerge in spring. As Rita Greer Allen wrote in the book Leaving My Father’s House,
The image that fills my mind today is the wall painting in the temple at Pompeii, the point in the sacred ceremony when the gown of the priestess swings upwards and hides from view the act, whatever it may be, that transforms the initiate into the fullness of her womanhood. I know that I, too, as my guardian warns, must draw a veil over whatever is to come.
so my expression must be oblique, via doing, not talking. Communicating through tangible pieces of art, not little black strokes on a white background. Don’t get me wrong: I love these little black strokes, which is why I’m here now. I love my journal; it saves my life every day. But I am in love with my color, my three-dimensional objects, my creations–the ones that I can smell and stroke with my hands. The buddha I made, when I touch his forehead with mine, smells sharply of paper pulp and frankincense, paint and varnish. His knees, which I hold when I pray, are smooth and round and cool in my palms. I don’t worship my buddha; it is my creation, the loving work of my own hands. I love it as I imagine God loves us. This love I feel is intimate, between my beloved and me, alone behind the veil.
(I took a few photos with the aim of posting one, but discovered afterward that there was no memory card in the camera, and the usb cord is long gone… so… no picture yet. Soon.)
I’m working on a new sculpture now, also papier-mache–a middle-aged salt I’ve christened Captain Rita. She’s leaning over a metal and glass object I already had; her hands are clasping the sun’s rays like a ship’s wheel, her left leg is cocked at a jaunty angle, she’s full of movement and grace even though she’s still only an armature. I can’t stop glancing over at her face, which, though as yet eyeless, is staring straight at me, willing me to get off the computer and start applying her layers. She’s compelling me to bring her forth–it’s the most amazing sensation. She’s a force even in her unfinished state, and I’m telling you what, working on her exhausts me. I can work for only so long without having to crash on the couch in a heap to recover. When I mentioned this to my mom, she said it’s an indication of how much energy I’m pouring into her, and she’s exactly right–it is; as well as a mark of the emotion she generates because of what she symbolizes to me.
Art is LIFE.
I have so many projects in mind that I despair of ever getting to them, at this rate. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Giving myself as fully as I can to one piece of art, even if it takes a week, a month, ten years, is far better than releasing to the world a hundred soulless objects. That’s the hope of every artist, even when we’re a million miles away from the skill of Michelangelo or Van Gogh: we can always give our creations a soul, and soul speaks with a very clear voice to whoever is listening.
All right. Time to tear some paper. I wish you all very, very well! Love. xo