Today I find strength in others’ words and posts. From Mo’s exaltations of Pinkola Estes to Liz’s resolve to find beauty wherever she is to an NPR radio interview with Kimberle Crenshaw on the historic and catastrophic parallels to “finding unity” and “moving on.”
And, as is so often the case these days, Acey’s pictures and directions and catalogues of thought and image are rolling through my nervous system.
The sewer cap above is one of many answers to Liz’s question: can you find beauty in the suburbs? Look at the color of that brick! The rust! And the delicate shadow of a twig. They make my heart sing.
The magic green dots thrill me every time!
As I begin to explore yellow* — my cutting and piecing paper instincts want to be translated to cloth. Can I even remotely achieve the immediacy of paper collage with stitch and fabric? What a wonderful edge to open up the power of the will.
I might follow along with Roxane Gay’s reading list for the year. One book a month. I ordered the first one, which is getting a lot of buzz and I really wanted anyway. If this effort is like others, I’ll last until April.
I’ve finally attended to the minutiae involved in being able to borrow kindle books from my library. What a gift! Using the Libby app, I can reserve books and then they show up in my kindle reader without having to go anywhere! Black Futures looks like a beautiful coffee table book, though, so I ordered a copy. Here’s the full list in case you’re interested.
In other news, “we” are installing a gas fireplace. This old house’s current fireplace is very inefficient and sucks warm air out of the entire first floor. Plus, you know, because of the mess and effort, we just don’t have fires all that much. We already have gas in the house. I can’t wait to be able to start a fire with a click of a button. Don’t judge me!
By “we,” I mean my husband, of course. We save almost two grand this way.
I just discovered an Instagram group — @pariscollagecollective — that posts weekly image prompts. I may take part (again — will I last until late spring?) Here’s the first prompt for 2021.
I’ve put together one of my digital-collage slideshows (one minute, below), but I intend to work with paper this week. And then maybe, using a photo of the paper collage, create more layered exposures with the Diana app — my preferred method.
Some of my faves follow. Some of you will recognize collage images embedded from the Collage Challenge with Acey a year ago.
Snow to begin before sunset.
* tattooed torso is a dancer from recent remake of West Side Story and featured in the New York Times. Cloaked Egyptian and other smaller white cloaked figure from National Geographic. Cloth is my own. Virgin from photo I took in cathedral in Assisi. Black woman looking at lens, I don’t remember — but very possibly Vanity Fair.
Today, I should say. Today, orange equals overwhelm.
A little background. My tech skills need updated. I need to learn how to transfer photos to my new laptop so that I can then delete 1,000’s (and I mean 1,000’s) of pix from my phone. Talk about too much!
Then, I need to figure out why blogger won’t let me leave comments (and there, I speak of too little. Too little interaction with some beloved blogs because *#%*£#).
Finally and most immediately, I need to update my blog-reading app. I thought I was keeping up with a chakra exploration led by Acey and come to find out, I’m way behind. Way behind.
Which is actually a terrific place to begin: with that ancient and enduring sense that I am not enough. Perhaps this sense dwells in the lower midsection. A second chakra phenomenon.
Is looking backward an indulgence? Is it at some times and not others, for some people and not others?
Wondering about that.
I scanned Acey’s posts and took a few pix before and during the morning’s dog walk and then pulled out my SoulCollage cards (so much orange!) and went down to my studio (so much MORE orange!)
There was no prayer, music, or movement involved. Just a burning punk and curiosity. I will let most of the photos sit while I let an approach appear.
But to start: a corner of orange fabric sticking out of a desk that once belonged to my mother caught my eye this morning.
It’s a piece of high-end linen given to me by a local upholsterer with a scavenged piece of paper stitched on top. I don’t remember when I made it, but it’s years ago. The design looks map-like and therefore holds excitement, but the grubby aspect makes it also seem forlorn and wrecked. As I go through the chakra exercise, I will add to this little wrecked, forlorn, exciting map-like shape and see what comes.
I was already thinking about yellow and how key it is to orange, when on our walk (our very COLD walk), I came across a plastic gate in a neighbor’s yard.
Look! In that space between panels, is where orange vibrates.
If I was to pick an emotion that would be moderately difficult to explore right now, it would be MISSING. Missing, as in tender longing, not as in regret or obstruction. I suspect I spend a fair amount of time avoiding how much I miss certain aspects of earlier phases of my life, including (MOSTLY) but not limited to my sons.
Opener: The Hanged Man was right to hand in the box of scraps I chose to rifle through. A suitable symbol for certain aspects of my childhood. Perhaps this explains my attraction to the cross as a symbol. I return to it again and again.
When I do this work, collage work specifically, the old crap has a way of showing up. I don’t apologize for it, though an uglier subject can hardly be conjured.
But it’s all so long ago and after so many hands and hearts offered one kind of healing or another, it does surprise me a little — the persistence of childhood trauma as a theme.
PS I did not sleep a wink last night which means I was awake at the time of the partial lunar eclipse in Gemini. The cloudy sky prevented any viewing. What wind and rain we had yesterday and through much of the night. A disturbance of the atmosphere!
It’s 60 degrees here. Crickets sing their autumnal songs. Hard not to feel blessed, with zero hurricanes coming at us and zero fires raging nearby. The finches are feeding on the echinacea seed heads near the side door. When I come out, they fly off, startled and pretty.
K went to work today for only the second time since March 13. There were 313 Covid cases in Massachusetts yesterday, so I don’t know? Finn understood the change and stayed up in bed with me.
I am adding batting to the single-layer sections of the global warming quilt. Tricky. Fussy in a way that would be avoided if I were a Point-A-to-Point-B creator. Believe me, sometimes I wish I was.
But just look at that amaranth! It is one of the few glorious results of my seed planting efforts this year. Exactly ONE of the dozens of sunflower seeds I planted survived the rabbits.
The huge squash leaves came from a rogue seed that took root when a piece of compost fell into a yard waste bin and took off! I love how surprises arrive in the garden with a casual regularity that defy their miraculous nature.