Good morning. I think I’m going to fast today. Last night I was complaining to Scott that lately I can’t eat anything without feeling sick afterwards, and he suggested a fast so that I can hear what my body is telling me. An excellent suggestion, so here I go. It’s an easy decision, today at least, because I can’t think of one thing that sounds good to eat. I drank a small glass of orange juice that tasted like heaven, along with my giant cup o’ coffee… it occurs to me at just this moment that both are highly acidic, good grief…but I am plain not hungry for food.
I finished my frame yesterday, but found that the inside of it didn’t swell like the others had. This is a problem because I’d made allowances for swelling in the construction of it, so now the canvas doesn’t fit snugly inside. That means I need to go back and papier-mache a few added layers to the inside, allowing for a little bit of swelling, but not too much, and it’s all a calculated risk. Once the papier-mache dries, that’s it. No room for error. But it’s nice to be close to the finish line. After the new layering, all that remains is to paint the frame to look like old, weatherworn, painted wood. I love that part. Textures are so fun to create.
While the layers dry, I’ll begin researching my next painting. It will involve a woman, butterflies, maybe something about a butterfly heart. That’s as far as I’ve gotten concept-wise, so there’s a long, long way to go until I can nail down an image to spring from. When Michael’s had a sale recently I bought two brand-new, fresh, white, plastic-wrapped canvases, ahh. I love opening a new canvas, the way it smells, the possibilities it represents. A million years ago I bought framework and canvas to make my own, but I haven’t mustered the energy yet, and besides, it’s for a ginormous painting, and I need a ginormous concept to fit it. One day. It might be something underworldly and archetypal…well, it will be that, since they all are, but on a very large scale. Like Demeter desperately grasping a shrieking Persephone by the arms while Hades tries to drag her back to hell. That sort of thing. I anticipate being ready to paint something like that around, oh, 2025.
I am still very much in desert mode. Yesterday I watched Coyote Waits, a PBS Mystery thriller starring the painfully handsome Adam Beach, le sigh. I was even more drawn to the setting, however, especially the gorgeous New Mexico rock formations. I was agog. It was like Smith Rock EVERYWHERE. One of our future motorcycle trips will be to the Southwest, especially NM and Arizona, and in the meantime we can always drive two or so hours to Redmond on the odd weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about my Native heritage, especially in conjunction with a couple of dreams I’ve had. My great grandma was Cherokee, and in one of my dreams, I met an older Indian man I’ve been calling Grandfather, who acted as a guide and took me along a beach, showing me beautiful, buried gemstones. He was a healer and was teaching me to be one. Another great thing about Coyote Waits is that the character Beach plays, Jim Chee, is both a cop and an apprentice-healer: two occupations I find fascinating. I think I might watch it again today while I do my papier-macheing.
I’ve also been thinking about death and the quality of life, especially when death is very close to us, even nipping at our heels. One of my beloved friends, Stevie–a young woman who sees me, and there aren’t many of them–has pancreatic cancer that has now taken over her liver. I have watched her transform into a star-being over the past couple years she’s been dealing with this. I’m not kidding, she literally GLOWS. I wish you could see her. She has become otherworldly and fiercely fearless as she navigates through life, creating adventures for herself, refusing to fall over and give up in bitterness. She’s picked up love like a sword and is swooping along her difficult path–not tirelessly, because she gets exhausted, and not stoically, because she often collapses in tears, but transparently. Vulnerably. Authentically. I have never met anyone like her and consider myself her student, full of gratitude that I can know and love and be known and loved by someone as vibrantly alive as her.
She sent me a snail mail letter the other day and I answered it two days ago. There’s something about writing an actual letter with a pen on paper that you don’t get by typing onto a screen. You’re closer to the bone, you have to think a little slower and deeper because you can’t hit the backspace button. My letter was a MESS, all illegible handwriting and crossed out words and meandering lines and addenda in the margins, but it was immensely satisfying to write. I actually got down under my mask and pricked my stony heart so that it bled a little. It was very good for me to write that letter. I spent the remainder of the day in a misty emotional cloud, which didn’t feel great, but on the other hand, the mist has always held strange and wonderful and magical creatures in it, their forms barely visible as they pass. I like that. I feel comfortable in the familiar world of mist and shadow, with a broken-open heart.
Now it’s a matter of letting other people in to see it again. Not easy, but imperative. Something is burbling inside of me… I’m like a cauldron, or more, a crockpot. Ha. Martin Prechtel writes about how we’re not adults until we’re fully ‘cooked’… and that’s how I’ve been seeing what’s happening to me. I’m being cooked. When I’m done, at least with this stage, I’ll be ready to serve, whatever that looks like. I feel it happening, though it’s still a long way off. In Guatemalan Mayan culture, a person doesn’t become an adult until they are of grandparent age! The older I get, the more sense this makes to me.
All right, time to make the donuts. Have a lovely Friday. xo