Unseen This Eternal Wanting
I had a long chat with a new friend the other day. She had just returned from a beautiful, three week holiday jet-setting to a tropical paradise. A breath-taking holiday, to say the least, but somehow the aftermath of said holiday left her feeling a little melancholy. Actually it wasn’t the vacation itself, rather the act of returning. Returning back to life. The humdrum of monotony and routine. Paying bills!
Yes, I must say that I’ve caught the very same bug. It’s been years since I’ve truly been able to travel. YEARS! People think that owning your own business gives you the flexibility to pick up on a whim and head out to exotic places like Tahiti (or maybe even just sleep in late), but most of the time it’s the exact opposite. After I sold my payroll business, Capt Awesome and I took a 2 week adventure hopping around the State of Colorado. Carefree, we just picked a direction and drove landing in a new town every couple of days or so. It still remains one of our fondest memories. But the last time I set foot in another country where the native tongue was not English…well it’s been almost a decade.
So after a magical time in a far off land (France), exploring new surroundings and making new friends it almost feels like a rude awakening to be back home. (No offense, Awesome.) Those salty crepes are calling my name. The two hours required to casually enjoy every meal from breakfast to dinner with no exceptions…the waiters tssk you if you even try to rush their stride. Where the colors of green and red have no reference to Christmas but to the artsy district of Montemartre where the macaroons decorate every quaint, colorful sweet shop. And where the wine is cheaper than water, oh yes!
I want to go back!
Or at least somewhere new.
The winds blow strong with the scent of a new place to discover. Perhaps an island this time. Maybe even Iceland.
Yet another creation from the beautiful chateau in France at the Brooke Shaden Workshop. And what giant wardrobe doesn’t cry Narnia? I kept expecting to see Lucy peeking around the door to beckoning to me. Off to the land of Mr. Tumnus, Aslan and endless supplies of turkish delight.
A big thank you to Jen Brook for her delicate modeling sensibilities and KD for always reminding me to take my base shot….as well as providing some strategic fluffing! And for the cutest little lamb that crossed our path on the way to Salernes. Nothing gets my awhhh factor going like baby animals.
Pluck from the Depths
It was late last week that I stood on the ledge and looked down. All my insecurities waved back at me, beckoning me to jump and join them. All it takes is one little step…it’s so easy. Just jump.
After all, it’s so much easier to succumb to the devil in your head than believe you have grown enough wings to fly. So like an addict I called my “sponsor” for immediate support, as I continued to stare down the precipice.
He didn’t pick up. Damn! Now what?! I dialed creative “sponsor” number two.
Finally a voice. Then a “sounds like you need a pep talk…”
Like you wouldn’t believe! Only moments before I walked the plank to that godforsaken ledge, I was reviewing calls for proposals. Of the solo exhibition kind. That alone was enough to make my palms sweat and butterflies hatch in my empty stomach. But then somewhere along the way, that darn, pesky squirrel jumped across my screen and took me to a fellow artist’s website. One of whom I admire greatly. And before you know it, my ego shrank down to a paltry Thumbalina sized proportion and marched me out the window!
Oh, I should’ve known better.
So after a long chat, brainstorming of ideas, affirmations and a strong pat on the back, if not swift kick in the ass, I took one step back to properly assess my surroundings. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And although I’ve been creating since I was young enough to hold a crayon, these recent works, conceptual pieces of the digital variety, only truly made an appearance this last October. It hasn’t even been a year! At this point I have to remind myself that patience is a virtue. My work is still evolving and probably will until the day I die.
But I realize the first step is as simple as starting. We all have to start somewhere, even if we aren’t ready. Even if we think our work sucks! Even if the mere thought makes you want to do a little head-spinning, projectile vomiting a-la Linda Blair! Just do it!
So I did. I just submitted a piece for a juried show not but hours ago. Who knows if I’ll get accepted. But at least I started.
A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be on your way down. ~ Arnold Glasow
Thank you for helping me, Molly, before I let the “down” swallow me whole.
The image above was photographed on one extremely frigid day this past March. We’re talking COLD! Cold enough to make your entire body shiver, turn your fingers red and lips blue! (Have I mentioned how I am not a fan of the cold!)
Best friends, Megan and Grace agreed to come “play” with me this particular frigid afternoon after school. We climbed trees and ladders and wrapped ourselves in blankets for extra warmth. They were also brave enough to put on sun dresses despite the “felt-like 15 degrees” with wind chill kind of weather. Sacrifices for art! I commend you, ladies!
Desperately, we all tried to make something happen. I had ideas and two willing models! But the wind blew strong from the north, hitting us hard. I find it fascinating how the cold can burn. We called the day short and sadly, I didn’t believe anything was salvageable from the 10 frames shot. But sometimes tucking away ideas/images for a later revisit allows the eye to see in a different light. And that’s how Pluck from the Depths was born. It just goes to show that you never can tell.
Here are some behind the scenes from that day. XO
Left Far Behind
I can’t even begin to comprehend what it feels like to lose someone you love after decades together. Decades. As in tens of tens. Sixty two to be exact. The number baffles me. Having found Awesome so late in life, I’d consider myself lucky to get so many years, although I’d say the probability is quite low…maybe forty, if I’m lucky.
They say after you lose a limb that you still have memory of it’s presence. Can still feel it as if it were there, reaching out in front of you. After sixty two years, a person is no different. A lifetime of memories, you may as well be the same person. By now you can finish each others’ sentences. Know with one look whether it was a good or bad day. Memorized their scent; after all, it smells like home. Know all the right buttons to push to experience the ultimate atom bomb. And hopefully, at the end of each day still look at one another, smile and feel in awe of the blessing bestowed upon them.
So as much as I want to understand, I can’t even begin to know what she must be going through at this moment. To feel that emptiness of a broken heart and a silent house. To be left alone with the thoughts of yesteryear. Remembering the pleasant, forgiving the wrongdoings and begging for another moment to add to the list of cataloged memories.
She says things often. Like “I’m ready to go” and “We talked about leaving at the same time but he said that would devastate the kids.”
Sometimes she just sits in silence, staring off into space.
Sometimes she’ll start to talk about him, tears well in her eyes, then she shakes it off like a shiver and asks how your sister is doing.
Every day gets a little bit easier, she says, but I can tell that chain is still wrapped around her ankle tightly, pulling her back into the depths whenever it so feels like it.
It saddens me to no end. Always the greatest role model for a strong, independent woman. She’d tear you up one side and down the other if you wronged anyone she loved; a real steel magnolia, that one. I could talk to her about anything, often up until 2am, recalling childhood moments, telling stories, and making sopapillas.
I wish she could look at the rest of us, what the union of 62 years created, with gratitude and appreciation. You will see him again one day. But all that remains is the deep melancholy wrapped around the shell of the person she once was. But it’s so easy for me to say this, I know, never standing fully in her shoes. We are still here and we love you.
I hope when it happens to me that I won’t slowly die of a broken heart.
My sister and I have a running joke that when we’re older, and our husbands have passed (as women often outlive their men), we’ll live together under one roof. You’ll find us sitting outside with those ridiculously large straw hats, sipping mint juleps while the thousands of cats we’ve adopted (since both husbands are allergic) lazily lounge about. At least we have each other until we pass into the next.
And by each other, I mean family. Blood or not. Because that’s what this life is really about…right?
Here In My Head
Here in my head I can do anything. Dream big, fight dragons, write sonnets, paint a masterpiece worthy of the Sistine Chapel, run a 4 minute mile and…fly.
It’s safe in there. The sun is always shining and the birds sing my favorite song.
The other day I sat down on the couch with my niece and watched one of my favorite childhood movies, The NeverEnding Story. (Yes, I just pulled one out of 1984, I did.) The father comments to his son, who’s often daydreaming in class, that “it’s time to take your head out of the clouds and keep both feet on the ground.” It got me to thinking…
I don’t know at what point I stopped believing that dreams were possible. (Obviously, not that I could fly…although I still have my fingers crossed on that one.) But somewhere along the way I traded being an artist for something more practical. Oh, I got the art degree alright, but it had a nice little minor in business tacked on as my safety net. Never really believing I could make it in the art world, I jumped right into that safety net and held on tight.
So when Captain Awesome came along and saw that spark, he encouraged me, more so than anyone ever had in the past….and something changed. I believed I could.
Then the curtain dropped and suddenly I see it all. As if by magic, those living the dream step forward, some of them so ready to help offer advice and motivate. Others, stuck in the minutia of the day to day routine like they’re trapped in quicksand, always so quick to discourage.
It reminded me how important it is to have positive role models in life. Those closest might not understand or even have a creative bone in their body and that’s ok, but having a community of good, like-minded friends, that continually push you when you’re down, inspire you, offer helpful tips, brainstorm with you and just flat out encourage is essential. And to all of you, I say Thank You!
The journey has quite a few speed bumps along the way, most of them are my own personal mental blocks (you know, of the usual variety – fear, rejection, and self-doubt) but I keep plugging along. Keep trying. Keeping putting myself out there. (After all, you never when the lottery if you never buy a ticket!)
It’s starting to sprinkle outside. Little raindrops each time a door opens. One day I hope to stand out in a rainstorm without an umbrella. One day.
“Never give up and good luck will find you.” – Falcor, the Luck Dragon
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind adventure this past year. Picking up and moving to the other side of the country for 7 months only to pick up again and move once more. Luckily, I was able to plan a trip back home to Texas before the weather warmed to an unbearable steamy heat, visit family/friends and see how much and how little had changed in a year.
What I did find were two adorable, sprouting children who I have dubbed together as Barley Bean. A year doesn’t make as much of an impact to those who’ve walked the earth a little longer…but for the little ones, a year can mean a budding vocabulary, larger shoes, and blooming personalities. Full of belly laughs, inquisitive stops over locusts, a minor tantrum or two (to be expected), talks of bedroom tent building, and a small case of jumping on the bed…oh how I missed them.
For a family that likes to sleep in, strangely enough except for the youngest, we managed to get an early start, a stop for kolaches, and headed up to Greune before the weekend crowds took over the small town. After all, it’s summer in Texas which means tubing on the river! However, the day promised a swim in the pool at grandma’s later that afternoon, so no tubing this trip.
Barley Bean Go to Gruene!
Here’s a small collection of my favorites from our little adventure. Funny faces, kisses, pouts and bugs. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Any excuse to make a funny face!
Completely and totally mesmerized….
by a locust shell, as all little boys often are…
Sometimes we just need a little alone time.
But in the end, it’s all about the laughter.