Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Blog-o-Sea

I spent a lot of yesterday looking at blogs. I even commented upon a few of them, like I said I was going to. That’s good, big step up in my not being a frickin hermit and hiding my head (and my writing) in a hole. I found this one blog that I thought was hysterical and brilliant. The best I’d read in… well, possibly the best ever, in part because she isn’t trying to be something that she’s not, and part because she’s just that good a writer, and part because she is, did I say it? HYS. TER. I. CAL.

Check out this post if that is in dispute… but don’t if you have a sensitivity about cuss words, condoms, or the torture of teenagers.

I think she is so funny that it makes me all shy inside. I have my sense of humor, but it’s a much lighter, dryer, flakier kind of humor… like a biscuit.

A biscuit? What kind of metaphor is that? I guess I also just went to this blog so I’m feeling kind like blueberry cobbler.

Looking at all these blogs, though, got me thinking. I am no novice to this genre. Not to blogs and not to personal essays and not to journaling. Computers, I’m not so good with, but writing, that’s my thing. And journal writing? Well I’ve got about 70 hardbound journals sitting in a bookcase to attest to my experience with that. I’ve got just as much of a right to be seen and read and enjoyed as any other blogger. Everyone does, hurrah for the democracy of the internet, but why do I have this feeling in me that no one would want to bother with what I have to say? I mean, any more so than anyone else.

It’s time to take myself seriously as a writer—as someone who can and should be read be persons other than my immediate circle.

Get on out there, Rosy, the water’s fine (sharks? what sharks?)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When nothing is sure, everything is possible

So says Marge Drabble

Good quote. So true.

I probably won’t be living where I live by this time next year, because of a psychotic landlord who has just up and decided he won’t renew our lease. Don’t know where we’re going, but I doubt it will be here, (unless said landlord gets therapy.)

Instead of freaking out about all the change, instead of worrying over unknown possibilities, instead of grieving the loss of my home, I’ve decided to embrace the change. I’ve also decided to take advantage of all that my neighborhood has to give.

I’m looking forward to change. Change gives a fresh start in live, and I’m kind of feeling as if I am in a transition period… or perhaps nearing the end of the transition and wanting to really move forward. A new home, a new neighborhood… it could be good. I have faith that we will find a place that we will be happy with. So believing that, I want to have fun with the last of my life here.

I want to go to galleries. I want to take the boy to that little garden by the park. I want to walk across the Williamsburg bridge. I want to go to the Metropolitan Museum of art. I want to take a ferry across the East River… I think there’s a ferry landing a few blocks to the south of us. I want to have more picnics in the park as long as it’s warm. I want to try that pizza place I heard was yummy. Maybe I want to write some articles for the neighborhood newspaper again, (maybe, maybe not.) I want to have better relationships with the other moms here, too. Stop being so antisocial, even if we might move far away, that doesn’t mean I can’t make connections that last.

It also means stop complaining about the sucky things in the neighborhood and the apartment, and just enjoy what’s there. Let go of it with joy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Think Warriors Should Know

When to ease back.

A warrior needs to take charge of herself, be aware of what’s needed and necessary and take a break. Be kind to herself.

Breathing deeply is important. Caring for the self. Figure out what recharges and what depletes.

It will be clear when it’s time to charge forward again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Having a project makes me feel closer to being an adult, again

A project or two not related to children, housework or being a mom, that is.

I feel a little selfish, sometimes, when my time and energy go into my art or writing, instead of the kids or the house, but I need to do this, for me. I don’t know if I would be happy with ‘homemaking’ as my focus for life. Sometimes, I wish I could. I would not be as pulled in as many directions. I wouldn’t feel like I was somehow subpar as a mother.

I’ve got to get all those expectations out of my head. There is no “should be” for life, mothering, or being a woman. There are lots of ways to be. And I am who I am. Ignoring the rest of myself won’t make the non-mom-me go away, it’ll just make me miserable. The all of me, mom-me and non-mom-me both.

I am an artist. I am a writer. I am a mother. I am not a very good housekeeper. I guess something has to give.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Cat Burglar

This was one of my favorite sketches from this week. I used the gouache I bought to paint it in my journal, but the paper is not good enough to sell, I think. I either need to find some good paper in my house, or go buy some. I might have it. I’m just a little disorganized with my supplies, since it’s been so long since I did any art.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chugga Chugga Chugga, Choo Choo. The little engine starts to move.

Searching through etsy gets the juices going again, but if you don’t capture that inspiration right away, it dribbles right out of your ears.

Today I painted three paintings. Not ones I can sell. I’m not ready to use good paper when I’m still just experimenting, but I’m getting the ideas and the style down. Closer anyway.

All three were on a blue background, then I gessoed in white figures, then painted the outline of the figures over the gesso. Child-like in style.

One was “Cookie Boy, with the power to resist dinner.” One was “The Super Pooper, with the power to: you don’t want to know.” Both of those were superheroes with red flying capes. And then the last was “My White Rabbits” and it was two child like white rabbits, one a big boy, one a baby. The big boy yelling/roaring and the baby looking up adoringly at the big boy.

I didn’t get to do any more mature art, but I guess we’ll just see what develops. Somehow, that kind of work didn’t come out, although I was doing sketches of skylines and birds and all. Oh well.

Friday, August 17, 2007

One Way to See the World Through the Eyes of Your Child

Take a different route home.

It’s surprising how new the familiar can seem when you see it from a different direction, literally. North instead of South. East instead of West.

I don’t know if I was delighted by my little adventure, but it didn’t feel like the same old same old. There was a bit of wonder.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Write in The Laundromat

Lately, I find myself going up and down with everything. One day, I'll have it all under control. The next, no so much. When there's so much going on, it's really easy to get overwhelmed.

The overwhelm is not worth it. It's not worth it to wallow in the 'poor me's. There are things I want in life, I need to get there. It doesn't do any good to panic about how far I have to go, or how hard I have to work to get there, or get bogged down in the fear.

I can only give this minute at any given minute. So, yeah, I need to keep my eyes on the prize and do some of my dreaming and planning to figure out what I have to do to get that prize, but really. Really. What I need to do is act. I need to write. I need to paint. I need to take care of my kids. I even need to wash the dishes. I need to DO what I need to do, in that moment. And I need to take all those moments I have and really use them. I don't want to waste any of it.

I just found Ariel Gore's blog and her post on this , was wonderful and just exactly what I needed right now, in this instant.

And so was the poem she shared. Thanks so much Ariel for your writing and insight.

I Write in The Laundromat:

I write in the Laundromat.
I am a woman
and between wash & dry cycles
I write.

I write while the beans soak
and with children's voices in my ear.
I spell out words for scrabble
while I am writing.

I write as I drive to the office
where I type a man's letters
and when he goes to lunch
I write.

When the kids go out the door
on Saturday I write
and while the frozen dinners thaw
I write.

I write on the toilet
and in the bathtub
and when I appear to be talking
I am often writing.

I write in the Laundromat
while the kids soak
with scrabbled ears
and beans in the office
and frozen toilets
and in the car
between wash and dry.
And your words
and my words
and her words and their words
and I am a woman
and I write in the Laundromat.

By Marcy Scheiner

Another Double Page Spread in My Alice in Wonderland Book

I did it a while ago, but never posted.

It’s all about the illustration, here. It’s when Alice shrinks and ends up in a sea of her own tears. I myself sometimes feel as if I am treading water in a day to day life of my own making. Being a mom is hard, and the demands of needing to be everything for everybody sometimes drown out your own identity, and you forget to be there for yourself. Trying to keep a hold of who I am.

The text says: (sideways) “As wet as ever,” said ALice in a melan-choly tone; “it doesn’t seem to dry me at all.”

(and below) “Why, she, of course,” said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out in a confused way, “Prizes! Prizes!”

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Did some quick paintings

Have decided that my paintings right now should be rather autobiographical. Stick with what you know, you know?

Follow my inspiration, which is, right now, my little guys. The boy did some painting on his own, then when he went to bed, I let myself be inspired by what he had done. One of the pieces was called “The Boy Wants to Paint.” Another was called, “The Boy Was Sad and Did Not Know Why.”

I used child like stick figures and watercolor washes like scribbling, the way the boy does, and put them together. Both paintings featured little boys with their mouths wide open—roaring, yelling, laughing???? I think I will call them the Roar series.

I kind of like them. So does the boy. I asked him. I am going to have to experiment with medium, though, because using kids watercolors and writing pen on a journal page is not the most enduring of artwork. I’ve got to find the right kind of paper and the right kind of ink/paint combo to sell them. Experiment, experiment. And develop. That’s what it means to be an artist again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My plate is full

But I’ve been struck by this idea that I can set up a shop and sell my art online.

I have always avoided selling my art or showing my art beyond a very small level. I always pooh pooh what I can do, although everybody around me thinks that I should do something with it, that I HAVE something. Maybe I blow my talent off because it is something I have always had, and art has always come easily to me, so I discount it. I also have a thing about the art industry. And I’m not very competitive… I get scared by the tough guys, the big guys, The Man.

But what if I were to open up a small art shop on What if, what if? I almost don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to be held accountable if I waffle and wimp out. I guess that means I should tell everyone.

But, like I said, my plate is full… I must be insane to take up a new project right now, with a toddler and a baby, a novel to be revised and rewritten and published, a second novel to be written (and a third, because it’s actually a trilogy. Go Sci Fi!) A house to be kept clean. Food to be shopped for and cooked. A photo project going on. A blog to be kept up. A relationship to attend to. You know, a life to live.

I think the key is to not got haring off in wildly different directions and try to be something I not, but actually build my art practice into my daily life.

I think I should use my day. If I am going on adventures with my children, I should document them in paintings. If I want to write a novel, I could draw images of my themes and questions. If I want to do an inquiry into what it means to be the hero of my own story, I should explore it in images. If I want to keep up my blog, I should post my art and write about my process and my progress. If I want to cook… well… not quite sure how to blend that one in, but you get the picture.

I also think that I should not try to adopt the styles of those artists that I see and like. I am not a novice. I’ve been painting and drawing for 30 years. I have recurring themes and images. I have ideas. I have a lot of previous work to use as inspiration. I have explored and enjoyed different media. I don’t have to find a new media. I have cabinets full of supplies. I don’t have to run to the store and buy new paints. Granted, a lot of what I have is old, but what I do have might actually drive my art.

However, I feel like I don’t have a cohesive style. That may just be my insecurity talking. It may be my rusty chops. I have to climb back on the artist wagon in order to find out who I am as an artist again.

I suppose, just like with writing, I can actually use my art to find out who I am as a person—since I have gone through such profound changes in the last few years.

I am an artist, because it is who I have always been, a creative. But I want to be a painter again. I want to be a visual artist. And I need to live it to be it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gabriel and His Guitar

He loves it. He can’t play it yet, but that doesn’t matter. Soon enough he’ll be able to play, I figure. For now, he can just sit with it, and pluck the strings, and watch people play on tv. Same with the piano, which he also loves.

We might be raising ourselves a little musician.

Not a singer, though. He doesn’t like to sing. Ivy seems to, even so young. I guess we’ll see where life goes.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

We didn't "go" anywhere, but it's an adventure anyway

This morning, Gabriel wanted to paint. He took out his set of crayola water paints and poured a cup of water into it.

Ha Ha. Big mess, but it wasn’t on purpose. He wanted to paint. The mess was a side benefit.

I got him his paper—one of the ones that got doused in the cup-o-water spill, and he ran to get his paintbrush and he just started going.

He’s only two, but I think there was some deliberation in his painting today. I watched as he chose, over and over greens and purples/roses. He repeated his motions and marks, tried to cover up some black marks. Then he asked for the pencil he’d left on the table, and added some more marks with the pencil.

Near the end, he stuck his finger into the paint and made some emphatic marks on the right side. Then he kissed the painting.

I think that meant that he liked it and he was done.

It is very interesting to see a child begin to make choices, to express themselves, to have vision. Come to think of it, that’s the adventure for me.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tried to be virtuous today

Turned off the tv. Fed the little monkey a healthy well balanced meal or two. Went on a morning adventure when we usually don’t leave the house til three. Cooked a nice dinner from scratch for a bargain. Used up fresh veggies that were sitting in the fridge waiting to go bad. Had actual activities like drawing, jumping practice, splashing in the sink, dancing to The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The second solid food meal for the baby, starring sweet potatoes.

But oh! The screaming! The tears! The tantrums!

If it wasn’t one, it was the other. Did the morning adventure screw up their napping schedule? Did I not give the boy enough breakfast? Was pierogi and apple sauce too weird for a late lunch, even though he loves all the ingredients, potato, spinach, pasta and apples? But then, he didn’t eat the cheese and crackers that I gave him for his late morning snack/early lunch,(his nap goes from noon to 3 or 4 sometimes.) All he wanted was chocolate or cake or more blueberries, and I wouldn’t give it to him with his lunch still sitting there. And then it was just hungry, cranky boy.

When I played with him, the baby cried because she was being ignored. When I fed the baby, the cranky boy got worse and at one point knocked over a step ladder, and ran into his room to lie face down underneath his crib. Whatever. Atleast he wasn’t damaging anything. Sometimes, they were both screaming at the top of their lungs at the same time. Usually it was when I had my hands wrist deep in raw meatloaf, or putting a full pan into a hot oven or something uninterruptable, like that.

I finally gave in and gave him the crackers and cheese he had left before. He only ate the crackers, but it got him over to dinner… which I do have to say he ate all of. He was so hungry he actually took a bite of the green bean, before spitting it out and wiping his mouth in disgust. Argggh.

Now he’s sitting here, happy with the milk and the brownie I gave him as a reward for eating all of his dinner. I never actually expected him to eat green beans, instead, I hid zucchini, onions, and olives inside the meatloaf. But as a tip for next time, chop the onions finer, maybe even grated like the zucchini.

So, I was virtuous, and didn’t give in to the lure and the easy out of the tv or of snacks or of processed food, but let me tell you…It was not enjoyable. I called my boyfriend and told him the next time he complained about my poor housekeeping skills while taking care of these two little kids, I was going to tear out his eyeballs.

I think threat of violence was warranted.

I've been working on this photo a day project for a few months now

And I must say, I think mama’s getting to be a good photographer. I’ve always loved photography, I am the daughter of a photographer, and I love to take photos, but except for the one term in High School, where I took a photography class, I have never really put significant time and effort into developing my skills.

I bought myself a 35mm camera for my 30th birthday and had a few enjoyable excursions with it. It wasn’t until I got my digital camera that I really had the opportunity to explore photography. I love that you can just snap away, hundreds of pictures, and not worry about developing things or rolls of film. I never develop them and they just sit in a drawer somewhere. I don’t know how to do my own development, either, despite that term of photography class and the old enlarger that my father gave me. But I do have an eye, even without the technique or the technology, so I’m really enjoying my project.

And this is a good time for it, with my kids so little and changing so quickly. It’s also a good time for me to have a project that I can put my energy and creativity into.

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