Easy now. I beg you. From the rains, there is a stillness. Curl up in that quiet. Listen to the crying, It’s coming from Soul and gut. Never again Will I doubt my own doubt You played me Like a drum and I was so dumb In love and committed As a wife Wearing no ring. My value is Not yours For appraisal. And you’re mad and Angry That these words Make sense, That I could Make sense Here in this canoe. Swim down Albacore Down stream For I will not catch you Again… For I will throw you Back in.
In 2009, I was lucky enough to attend an art workshop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, by the brilliant artist/photographer/author Sabrina Ward Harrison. If you haven’t heard of her or attended one of her memorable events, find out more on her website: sabrinawardharrison.com. This event was the spark for my own small brain child, Art in the Park, which I have been hosting for almost a year now with the help of my right-hand, p-ART-ner in crime, Diana Fraser.
We journey to some of the best, most picturesque parks in Central New Jersey. (Suggestions for new venues are always welcome.) And we indulge in all things creative under the trees. We free-write, do arts & crafts, create collective art work, share our talents, take photographs, eat snacks and have a blast.
I’d like to extend a warm welcome and invitation for my blog readers to attend. Keep reading for all the details.
Art in the Park Revival Day is Saturday, May 28 · 10:30am – 1:00pm
This is a free event! Art in the Park is a creativity group held in select outdoor venues in NJ. It runs from 10:30am – 1:00pm and includes guided creativity sessions. The goal of the group is to promote creativity in its many forms while communing with nature in our beautiful local parks.
Things you might need:
Bring a blanket, a snack, a mixed cd of your favorite songs and your art supplies (paints, paper, charcoals, etc.)… AND bring something meaningful to you, a drawing, a photograph, a beloved journal because Art in the Park is getting started again.
If you aren’t familiar with the day, we have ice-breakers first thing in the morning, followed by a workshop facilitated by yours truly (bring your journal and something meaningful, SEE BELOW FOR WORKSHOP Description), and then an arts and crafts workshop by Diana (expect the unexpected).
That will wrap up our day – and the rest will be yours to mix and mingle with your fellow Art in the Parkers, have some lunch in the sun or explore the gorgeous woods and Surprise Lake in the Watchung Reservation. Cameras are welcome. We love to see pictures from our events. But if you are taking pictures of a person, please get their okay first. Also, our event is PG so children are welcome. We will be very close to a great playground too.
Find us at the Watchung Reservation and Directions:
Watchung Reservation in Union County is a 2,000-acre wooded tract where animal and plant life are protected. Highlights of the park include Surprise Lake, the Deserted Village of Feltvile/Glenside Park, the Trailside Nature and Science Center, Seeley’s Pond and the Watchung Stables. Take Route 22 to New Providence Road in Mountainside. The entrance to the Reservation is marked and on the right about a mile and half up from Rt. 22. At the circle, take the second right which will lead you to a picnic area. Look for the snack bar. We will be set up directly across from the snack bar under the trees.
We always devote some time in the beginning for quality introductions to develop a strong group rapport for the day. We will have intros and icebreaker questions. We will go over some group rules and goals. Then, we will have a stretch and some deep breathing to relax and prepare for some creating.
Something old, Something new, Something you
I will be bringing some amazing old photographs from the turn of the last century. I don’t know how I acquired them. I just have a bunch. We will take these old pictures and incorporate them into a work of art that also includes something new from the park (a blade of grass, a leaf, or a flower) and something you brought that has meaning to you. You don’t want to miss this workshop.
Arts & Crafts
This is the session where we get hands-on and craftsy. Diana will lead this session by introducing the group to a new craft technique. After her demonstration, the group is free to experiment with the arts and crafts technique at this time.
Several days ago, I realized that I have never written a love poem before, not a pure one that is. I’ve been writing poems since I was twelve years old so that’s almost twenty years of poetry and not one love poem. Well, I take out my pen and pour myself over the task, known here on this blog as “Winning”. Then, I look at my phone this morning and I’ve been broken up with over a text message!
I will not get into petty details but it has come to my undivided attention that I do not understand love one bit. Oh, I used to think I knew everything there was to know. Oh, I used to think I was an expert, the crème de la crème of the love, how I would bask in it, how I would commit to it, how I would go to the end of the earth for it.
But listen to me now. Love is like invisible algae. Sometimes you can grasp it, taste its salt, but other times it slips right out of your fingers and you wonder if it was ever there in the first place.
Well I know this. I may have been through the ups and downs of romances. I may have had numerous failed relationships. I have never been married. Maybe I will never be a lifer, a no-matter-what committer, a wife. But I have loved. I have loved hard. I am loving. I love love even though it kills me sometimes. But I don’t understand it. Are marriage and life long commitment the ultimate expression of love? If so, I can’t speak to it.
And I’m a thirty-year-old woman now. I am no kid. What is it, if not love, that I have been doing? What are these sacrifices? These time commitments? What is the sweetness? The kindness? The passion? The caresses? The tenderness?
I love even though I’ve let go. And guess what? I think that’s love too. I love even though it may not be the right choice for me. I’ve loved more than one person in my life, and to some people, for a woman, that makes me a whore. Well, I know that they know even less about love than I do. I know that when and if I say “I do” it’s going to be because I mean it. I know that I don’t need a ring to love. I know that some people who do that do not know love at all. I know that the people that marry for love I admire greatly.
But I will end this musing on love reiterating that I do not understand love one bit. I do not know why love would lead you down the wrong road time and again. I do not grasp why love would leave you completely and utterly alone. I do not know why it is here for moments, for days, for years, and then disappears. I do not know why it reappears in a different form.
And you know, maybe I have written love poems. Maybe I have written lots of them. Maybe it’s just too painful to look back on all of them, knowing that in real life it didn’t work out. Maybe I have only yet to write a poem about marriage because the right person has not come into my life.
But now I’m convinced that this love stuff is really invisible algae. It may be lovely, soft and graceful, a joy to be covered with, but it has slipped from my fingers yet again. And this time, I don’t know that I want it back. Here’s hoping I don’t slip into love amnesia again.
I’m on a romantic getaway in Atlantic City with my boyfriend. We’re enjoying the casinos, our gorgeous room with the view of the city and the ocean, slot machines, mojitos, Cabernet, Caribbean Breeze, delicious feasts, Qua Spa at Cesar’s, the pool and hot tub at the Borgata. I should be relaxing. I should be having the time of my life. I should be in the moment. I shouldn’t be shoulding myself.
But instead, I am obsessing about my body. What the hell? There are mirrors everywhere here. I am ruminating over every physical flaw, over every bite of food, over every choice of food, wishing I hadn’t brought short summer dresses to wear on this trip because I am not comfortable showing my legs. I cringe with guilt over the drinks. And, maybe it’s because I’ve been so vigilant with my diet and exercise for almost four months now. I’ve managed to take off thirty pounds. It took constant monitoring of food portions. It took working my tail off in the gym, sweat-drenching work.
So why can’t I take it easy on myself? I guess I feel like I’ve lost a bit of control and I am disappointed in myself. I have found a new resolve to exercise more, get more active, 2-3 times a week in the gym plus dog walking may just not cut it. I am thinking dog walking plus gym 4-5 times a week. If I can transform into a mini athlete, then perhaps the obsession with food will lessen. As soon as I typed the words, I already knew that the obsession is not going to get any better. Can you tell I love the show, The Biggest Loser?
I’m not going to bore you with the details of my weight gain and loss journeys. But I will say that the struggle began with puberty. I flirted with eating disorder in high school. I’ve blown up like a balloon the last ten years of my life and I’ve been on the yo-yo dieting rollercoaster ever since… protein shakes, Atkins, Weight Watchers, gym memberships, personal training. Hello treadmill, hello elliptical. Hello free weights, hello zumba. Maybe that was too much detail.
My doctor said that I need to focus on real permanent choices for my diet. He says that I should not lose more than 1 pound a week. He says I should drink skim milk with every meal and have fruits and vegetables with every meal. He says that activity is more important for me than any diet and the more physically active I am the better.
Well, these changes are not going to happen overnight and definitely not tonight. As I head to the slot machines, I have resolved to call it a night on the alcohol. My alarm is set first thing in the morning so that I can go do laps again in the pool before we leave. And mentally maybe I wasn’t ready for this mini vacation. But I’m not going to let it stop me from having fun.
It’s a beautiful day in New Jersey. It will be seventy degrees and full of sunshine. In a few hours, I will be going over to my grandmother’s house for a mother’s day lunch with my mother and grandmother and rest of the family. We will be partaking in a small feast complete with heavenly cupcakes for dessert. But the greatest part of the day will be getting to party with my two favorite women.
These two women love me a lot. I cannot begin to describe how much they’ve done for me and how great a debt I owe them for making me who I am. They are the shoulders I cry on, the women I turn to with anything. They’ve been there for me when no one else was there, through thick and thin, storm and high water. My mother has toiled in the trenches to provide support and my grandmother has been a constant caregiver. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Between the two of them, I have the double-whammy of female role-models so I know the multifaceted nature of being a strong woman. My mother goes out into the exterior world. She is a superstar of song, hard work, and living your dreams. My grandmother is the master of the interior world and making a home and caring for your family.
I hope to one day be the best of both their worlds. I eagerly look forward to the day I will have my own family for which to care and support. I also want to be an example for my own children in living my dreams. I think I am that woman. And it is thanks to my mother and grandmother.
In love of mothers everywhere, happy mother’s day!
I am the proud parent of two beautiful puppies, Angel (1 year and 4 months) and Cocoa (7 months). They are quite a handful, especially Cocoa who I am still housebreaking. But they are such a delight. I rescued them from shelters. They are both little black dogs. Angel is a dachsador: half dachshund, half labrador retriever, weighing in at about 23 lbs. Cocoa is a chiweenie: half dachshund, half chihuahua, weighing in at about 15 lbs.
My puppies have such wonderful and distinct personalities. Angel is a happy-go-lucky, friendly labrador type and my guardian angel. Angel is the official protector of the den. She is also a runner and got off her collar a couple of weeks ago and scared me half to death. But to make an hour long story short, she came home and has been under lock and key ever since.
My boyfriend nicknamed Cocoa “Coco Gaga” because she is a wild, crazy diva of a dog. Diva is probably not the best word for it. But think of how strange and bold Lady Gaga is and I think you could apply a little of that to my Cocoa. But, for such a tiny wild thing she has a ton of heart and showers me with love and affection.
It led me to ask her today, “How do you get so much love in there?” Amazing really.
I haven’t posted on this blog in over a year. Where have I been? How can I explain such absence? Well, various events and circumstances have contributed to the hiatus. But probably the most influential factor was having someone close to me tell me that this writing was “not that good” and that I should stick to poetry. It was crushing.
Yes, I was indeed a victim of a dream-killer but I have seized my power back as a blogger. This was supposed to be a space for my synthesis and reflections. And, this is exactly what I will continue pursuing.
I have suffered from illness last year and have been out of work. I have not, however, been idle. I started and host an art group with my friend, Diana, called Art in the Park that features a day full of creativity workshops in the gorgeous parks in central New Jersey where I live. I hosted an art exhibit party last month in my home which was a huge success. I am actively working on moving forward with my novel (currently seeking feedback and advice about agents). And last but not least, I have picked up the pen again, literally. I have burst through the clouds and have started writing and journaling again. I have several new poems. I am even looking forward to some open mike opportunities. My health has improved. Since February, I have lost 28 pounds with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
In short, I live a full, active and blessed life. I am so grateful. And, I am so happy to take up this blog again. Carpe diem.