Artistic Paralysis

What am I so afraid of? I am practically crippled with regards to writing. I know I don’t get much support or encouragement from people in my life to pursue my craft. In fact, it’s been a bit of a fearful reaction because I’m too confessional a writer. And perhaps, even worse, is the fact that I don’t nurture my own craft.

What is this sense of artistic paralysis that has come over me for the past year? Am I so afraid of rejection that I will eternally maintain a “failure to launch”?

I need to go out there and launch. And with that launch take some hits and rejection along the way. I am strong. I am tough enough to take some blows. Maybe that’s the difference between last year and this one. I can flex my creative muscles and go out there into the external world and launch into all of its unknown with some bravery.

Because like Elizbeth Gilbert said in her speech I too am “lit up from within” like those African dancers.

So let this be my next accomplishment – just launching – going out in the big world with my naked art and my emotions on my sleeve.

And then I will know that at the very least I faced my fears, looked my demons in the eyes, and graduated to a new point in my life. Sure this process may give me anxiety. But I have to look at the bigger picture: having written two books and failed to share them because I was too afraid of how the world would react. I think in the long run that will weigh heavier on me than my nerves being shot every time I hit send on an email to an agent or click publish on my blog.

Olé Elizabeth Gilbert. Olé.

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“To live in this world you must be able to do three things”

“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” – Mary Oliver

There’s no one like Mary Oliver.  She really touches a pulse, doesn’t she?  I know that I have done the first two things on her list fiercely.  I have been “loving” and “holding it against my bones” (I love those words) my entire life.  But letting it go, that is the hard part.  Letting it go is the freeing part.  This freedom is exactly what I need here in my little pocket.

So today, I start a new day, er well evening.  I’m done trying to make amends and righting wrongs and singing sad songs.  It’s time to let go of the attachments, positive or negative as they may be.  I’m getting back on the rollercoaster that is my life, throwing my hands up to the sky, and just “let it go.”  So tonight, may my hair wisp away in the wind, may my heart be empty as the night, and may my mind be filled with wonder like the stars.

Your dearest dream is coming true.

No good ever came from loving you

No good ever came from loving you

And I gave of myself

And I gave

And I gave

Begging for

A crumb of reciprocity

 

I look back on our emails

And all the time I was

Devoted

You were such a prick

You knew how much I loved you

And still you used me

And shit

 

I know that in time

I will look back and know

That you were just an ebb

In my ocean’s flow

 

You are just a spoiled baby

And I am not afraid to say it

It’s not like you’re reading this

It’s not like you ever did

Read anything I wrote-

 

Not because you’re no reader

But because you could care less.

 

Nothing good ever came from you

Except my two dogs

And that is where I’ll leave this

Fucking song.

Love and Attraction

Love and Attraction

We do what we do to attract those we’re attracted to.

We cannot help who we’re attracted to-

Just like we cannot help who we love.

But when we love,

Love truly and completely,

We love across boundaries-

Real and imagined.

We love because of

And in spite of

Personal flaws.

We love because we wouldn’t want to live life without it.

We love because it’s in our nature to love.

 

That’s an oldie but goodie poem I wrote back in 2001 or 2002.  I bring it up out of the depths because it is still very relevant today.  I bring it up because the reverse is also true.  We can’t help who were attracted to just like we can’t help who were not attracted to… despite all your hopes weighing in for it to be so because of incredible common interests and compatibility.

I’ve noticed now an alarming trend.  I am attracted to people who are not good for me.  Holler at me if you are stuck in this dilemma and tell me how do you get out?  Why?  Time after time fall for the emotionally unavailable, aloof, space cadets or the (not so) borderline abusive?  Why not someone sweet, caring, and romantic?  Someone just like yourself?  But no, you only feel luke warm and angry now that you know that you are so deranged.  Don’t you dare blame this on my parents either.  No psychoanalytic bs, just need some real talk.

At the very least, I recognize this.  I am going to embrace my single time and try healing some more.  There have got to be some answers.  I turn my ear onto the wind’s breath and sink into the sound of air and spirit tickling my lobe.  Erase me.  Captivate me in the soothing answers of the clouds and sunlight seeping through my windowsill.  Let me know that I am on the right road, that I have done my best. And let that be enough.

“Let’s leave this year behind”

You try to check everything off your to do list.  You make resolutions you fear you will not keep.  You attempt to make amends with people from your past.  It blows up in your face.  Some people never change.  And they will hold that heavy hate in their chests for the rest of their lives.  But not you… you feel free on this cusp.  One less chip on my shoulder…

You meet a new friend who you connect with on an intimate level.  Seems like a crazy crazy dream and something stirs in your soul.  Sparks fly.  Creativity flows.  You emerge on play after a very long pause.  You touch me like no one else can do.

I am raw and a bit numb.  Maybe it’s winter or a cold.  There’s so much to do yet.  Ready or not, time bends.  And quit trying to figure me out because I still can’t.

 

Let’s leave this year behind – Melissa Ferrick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP2us_UfsQk

 

 

Still I can see… from a pause

I think of you from time to time.  And you are so many people.  I’m sure the reflection reflects back.  Play me some strings.  In fact, play me a song.  Or have you forgotten how?  Have you forgotten the music?  I almost did.   Perhaps it was a pause.  I can’t explain being on pause other than just stopping and that’s pretty accurate.  But there’s something violent in the impetus of a pause.  It takes something of a greater force to get going again.  And I will play you a song now.  How I forgive you…  How I wish you the world… How I wish you well…  I held on tight to a principle and paid a heavy burden.  And I realize I hold on a lot to this right and wrong while I judge you for judging and it’s a real hypocrisy that needs to stop.  But there’s only so much I can change.  The rest is fixed.  I only hope you forgive me too.  And I think you do.  There’s a light on in the hallway and it’s 4:30am.  I see.  I stand.  My hands toil this earth as do yours.  And mine’s always been outstretched in your direction.  It’s so quiet sometimes. I’ll wear a feather in my ear to symbolize flight.  I want to be like the honeybee working hard and sipping nectar.  And I think I am.  But would you believe me if I told you I suspect it’s a little harder for me with these emotions on my sleeve?

 

Here are the songs I was listening to while I wrote my rant from a pause.  Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpGrcXJcVWE&feature=colike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzoxFtsIV2o&feature=colike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f0hSU__zjw&feature=colike

 

Christmas

Christmas –

Under the North Star,

There’s a bend in time

There’s a mend in my mind

I put my hands up

I drove you out

And the galaxy smiled

Down on me…

 

There’s no better gift than this

No other gift

That gives like this

My present is my present

Belonging to no one other

Than me.

I toast to this.

 

And I wish I could say,

I forgive you

This Christmas day

Because Jesus

Would want it that way.

 

There’s always next year.

A rainbow sorbet end of the day

I often wonder about life. I ruminate about it and all the paths I’ve taken up to this day. And I try not to let that rumination ruin the present moment. I’ve had one of those days where reflection and enjoying the moment coincide peacefully.

After driving home after a breath-taking Jersey sunset, I took some time to reorganize my music collection to include some new additions as well as import some of my well worn cd collection catching dust on the shelf. It was a musical journey as I played familiar tunes of my past paths. This process was complimented by completely new songs and feelings. Lovely. It’s definitely something I will enjoy doing again and good thing I still have a lot more oldies but goodies CDs to import into iTunes.

Fishing

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.

An Open Invitation to Art in the Park

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.

Schedule:

10:30-11:00am
ICE BREAKERS

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.

11:00-12:00pm
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.

12:00-1:00pm
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.

Art in the Park

Reading the rules and goals of the day

Paints and cardstock and ribbons Oh MY

Group Paint