Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reflection: Art

Hi folks, I recently led a guided journaling session at the Call and Response Writer's Workshop in Monroe, and I promised to post my handout.

Still really pressed for time, so I'm keeping the journal entries short. In the center of all of us is a burning need to answer the beautiful complex universe that we perceive. To me art is the heart's cry to the loveliness, the terror, the joy, the aloneness, the vastness, to the complexity of the this place that we find ourselves. Art is in a east/west position when it comes to monetary concerns. It is a fine pursuit, something that we instinctively know makes us more, makes us better, and ultimately is the testament of hope.

I know in my heart, art is a gift. It is a high road and connects me to the river of truth flowing through the fabric of life -- I hear voices murmuring in these waters, "Love triumphs over all loss, don't be afraid, look up, behold the cosmos and wonder." This art is a witness to what I ultimately believe: it all works out, mercy triumphs over judgement, and in the white core of it all, goodness prevails. Art communicates what I have seen, not just the physical form of the thing, but all the layers I see beneath. Meaning, that's the key for me. Deep calls to deep, folks.

I hope you take time to give yourself over to the wild pursuit of art today. Seize the day.

This week's doodle is from my response to petroglyph at the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, NM. Art responding to art. Gotta love that.

Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come. Michelangelo

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reflection: Roots

Today I'm going to reflect on where I came from and how that is shaping where I'm going. Where are your people from? I'm mostly English and Irish with a dash of American Indian thrown in. My mother's family is from Mississippi. My father's adopted family is from Texas. My mom's family was full of wild farmers. They knew gardens, horses, and apples. They knew how to tell stories. Ooh, did they. I get shivers just thinking about it. On my dad's side, his people were pillars of the community. They knew good jokes and how to get things done. They asked lots of important questions and had a social conscience that was as deep as the ocean. Who is your neighbor? Everyone. End of the story.

So where am I going? This unique mix of history has shaped me into the storyteller I am today. From the beginning this has been my talent. I'm no high-brow literary genius (but I'm sure I don't need to kiss the Blarney Stone, in fear that it might try to steal some of my power). I'm not a poetic soul baying at the moon. Boo, no green gold ribbons, no scarlet flame. In me is rip-roaring adventure and complexities that would give any weaver a headache. And, sure enough, I hope to send shivers down every one's back, and I'd like to think I dive as deep when it comes to the important questions and the social conscience piece. I let my roots draw up the life for my fiction. Each story turns out like a new leaf, rich from the roots.

I hope you take time this week and think about where you came from. Give it some deep thought. Try feeling your roots. Consider what they are drawing into the creative part of you.

This week's doodle is "Baby Grass."

All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.
Saint Teresa of Avila

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reflections: Hope

Hi folks, still time hungry, but wanted to leave you with a quick thought. A creative life is generally fraught with some struggle. There is the struggle of creating a work of art, followed by the struggle of finding an audience for the same work. The rope keeping you in the game is hope. For a long time hope is the only substance you're going to have of the thing you are hoping for. Hope is the buoy of reality of the thing you cannot see. I always write lists of things I'm hoping for. I thought I would share one with you.

I hope everyone comes together.
I hope suffering comes to an end.
I hope all the weary find rest for their souls.
I hope that I continually forgive.
I hope that mercy triumphs over judgment.
I hope the spirit that gives life endures.
I hope everything works together to the good.
I hope I don’t bow down in fear and give up.
I hope my words help.
Patience, endurance, endurance, hope.

Maybe you should try writing a list. Have a lovely week and seize the day.

Doodle of the week: "In a palace a spider wove a web."

I have two quotes this week because a lot of people have thought this hope thing through.

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire; what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young women and young men to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause. Hope is what led me here today -- with a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas; and a story that could only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have courage to remake the world as it should be. Barack Obama

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Reflections: Quiet

Welcome, folks. I'm going to be time hungry for the next few weeks. I'm going to post a series of simple reflections this month. I begin with quiet. I find quiet is an important piece of the creative journey.

Be silent. Be still. Let the words, images, all the noise, go. Listen. Hear the hum, the pitch, the pressing of nothing...silence. Let it flood it the corners of you. What whispering voices have you missed in the bustling of today? What future has escaped your grasp in all the NOISE? Turn it off. Quiet your soul. Contemplate the still waters, the glorious dawn, the falling night. Feel the wind on your face. Smell the rising spring. Breathe. Shh. Be quiet.

This week's doodle is called "Bluebonnet".

I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. Albert Einstein