Thursday, June 26, 2014

Doing the 'Unfriend' Fandago

Know what's funny? I always draw myself as a kid. What's up with that??
You know who's good at losing two Facebook fans for every single fan she gains? This girl.

Each time I think I'm hitting my stride, I go and share something that bugs a few folks and they leave me.

Most of the time I find it hilarious. Unless I'm in one of those frames of mind -- you know the kind; the low-esteem, full-of-self-doubt kind -- and then I worry. Why did they 'unfriend' me? What did I do to make them decide not to be a fan any longer? Did I sound too honest? Did I sound dishonest?

And yeah, I'm making it seem as though they run away in spades when really it's only a few at most. But, dang it, they do it all at once and I panic when that happens.

It seems like I begin losing fans when I post something that sounds 'less than perfect.' Like maybe about struggling with a creative block or doubting my artistic abilities. I get that posts like those aren't fun to read. But they're Me being Honest.

And I think honesty's important. There's nothing worse than reading an artist's blog that seems too good to be true. It makes me wonder what's wrong with me that my creative life isn't that perfect. And eventually I begin to dislike the blogger, as if they're responsible for making me feel bad about myself....

But do I continue to follow them? Of course! Even if it's not 100% true, their life still seems to be pure MAGIC. Every thing they do works out, looks great, sells immediately, gets rave reviews. Creative blocks? Never!

And I want that.

However, now I'm also on the lookout for that chink in their armor. And when I find it, there's that "A-hah, I knew it!" victory rush inside and I'm suddenly able to cut myself some slack. "Hey, we can be friends again because they're flawed, too, just like me!" Only I admit it -- up, down, and sideways....

I'm always admitting it.

It's one of the first things I tell people about myself, actually.

And maybe that's my problem....?


Anyway -- (*gives self a good shake*) -- in the case of my own blogging, time passes. I pick myself up. I tell myself that it's OK to feel what I feel, it's OK to have doubts, it's OK to express them. I don't have to apologize for what's going on in my head. It's a struggle in here! Some days are creative gold; I think I'm making progress, learning big carved-in-stone things about myself, finding my definitive voice. And then moments later I question it all.

I can't be the only human bean on this rock who rediscovers herself anew each day and wonders just who the heck she was the day before. My layers-upon-layers are painful to peel sometimes, but it's fascinating to see what each uncovers. Some things stay the same (sort of) and just get more antiqued and beautified (or just more weathered and less sharp and pokey). Other things just gradually wear away. I'm never the same, never 100% the bean I was yesterday, not yet the interesting one I'll be tomorrow.

That pleases me. I like my layers! And I guess those 'unfriends' are gonna miss all the fun of the future.

Bummer for them. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Adrift in the Space Between

Photo: Grandiloquent Word of the Day: Hiraeth
-A Welsh word that has no direct English translation. The University of Wales, Lampeter attempts to define it as homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, and the earnest desire for the past.

Hiraeth bears considerable similarities with the Portuguese concept of saudade (a key theme in Fado music), Galician morriƱa and Romanian dor.

Used in a sentence:
"Every time I drive down the street where I grew up, I am overcome with hiraeth..."
Courtesy of Grandiloquent Word of the Day

I caught the clock switch itself to 11:11 today and I made my wish.

I wished that I'd get my groove back....

Since my return, I've repeatedly sat down to paper and pencil, and -- nothing.


Zip, zero, zilch....

Not a doodle. Not even a word....


It's not that England wasn't supremely inspirational. (Holy hedgehogs, was it inspirational!) And it's not like I've really had time to draw since touching down again in Minnesota. But time is critical now. Fest is just minutes away and I've got art to create! LOTS of it.

But if shutting down and immersing myself in my memories is so important, can't I do both?

Apparently not.... I've tried....

My big plan was to bring art supplies with me to the UK. Sketch on the plane, do a drawing-a-day, photograph my quickly scribbled impressions and share them with you via social media. Didn't happen. There was no TIME, for one thing. Paper and pencil felt foreign to me, too, like trying to draw with a rock on the water.

And you saw how well I kept in touch.... Even if technology had cooperated, nothing I did -- write, draw, even photograph -- made sense to me. It was all so feeble and disappointing and not a bit like the amazing extraordinariness that I was trying to capture! It was as though some strange force field was scrambling my skills and preventing me from expressing my experience. And since my return I've yet to figure out how to shut the damn thing down....

I've had creative blocks before, and I've worked them out. But this still feels different. Foreign. Like more than just a block. A wall, maybe. Something BIG. Something not-see-overable....

This morning I opened an email from My Inner Pilot Light (go here, sign up, do it!, you'll thank me). It mentions the magickal place it calls The Space Between:
"...between where you were last and where you are going. It’s important to stop here to get crystal clear on some specifics before you can continue on."
I doubt that my creative block is what it's referring to, exactly, but the poke I felt as I read it seemed important....

And then just moments later I was gifted the word 'hiraeth' -- it came at me from multiple sources at once. Friends used it in a sentence, shared it in a comment, and then it came up in my Facebook feed. The site Grandiloquent Word of the Day (follow the blog HERE, 'like' the Facebook page HERE, do it!, you'll thank me again) gives this definition:
"A Welsh word that has no direct English translation. The University of Wales, Lampeter attempts to define it as homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, and the earnest desire for the past."
And that's when an a-ha moment began somewhere in my very busy head. I've yet to sort it out and make sense of it, but it's getting clearer as I write about it now. I am still processing, obviously. And missing the magickal heck out of my English visit.

But I can't just recall it fondly while otherwise forcing myself to get back to Minnesota Normal -- frantically cleaning, weeding, unpacking, grandbugsitting, fill-in-the-blanking, all while trying to force myself to be creative, too. Time to seriously unplug and immerse myself. Time to imagine floating on a still and glassy sea, adrift in the gently rocking boat of the Space Between -- where nothing can happen, really, until the tide comes in again.

Makes sense. Plus just imagining it now feels safe and comforting and right, like it's all part of the plan.

And if it helps, who's to say that's not the case?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gathering the Ingredients

Been home nearly a week already and every day has been full-to-overflowing. There are pets to reconnect with, gardens to weed, grandbugs to wrangle, Mayfaire biz to take care of, suitcases to unpack (still), and big thoughts to think....

The list is LONG and I can only address one thing at a time (because I've forgotten how to multi-task, apparently), and the more that queues up for my attention, the fainter my England trip grows.

I've become the kind of human bean that experiences even the simplest of events with every sense available (and I'm not kidding, I think I grew some extra ones over the years; it might be my mutant X-Men power....). And afterwards I almost have to shut down, go far into my head, mix the ingredients of my experience, bake them, taste them, savor them, and enjoy their leftovers x 100 in order to feel like I've Been There, Done That.

But that hasn't happened yet with my Trip Of A Lifetime, and my memories of England are growing a little stale....

My body has ways of dealing with stress -- it waits for the first sign of a lull and then pulls the plug -- and this morning I woke with a Mucinex® commercial playing out in my lungs. It was a phlegm Frat Party down there! And verbally evicting the celebrants was out of the question as I'd even lost my voice. :(

However, today began with rain and shadows. It's the American twin of Derbyshire out there. No lawn work for me today. So my plan is to unplug even further and go within. Mix the heavy ingredients of my English recipe and steam them. Baptize the results with a sip of spirits so they stay moist and tasty forever. Then indulge at my leisure.

And share in little bits, of course. Even the smallest of servings is rich beyond measure.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Feet On The Ground Again

I'm back....

This is both a happy and a sad thing, as I didn't realize how much I was going to miss England until I had to fly away from it. (Nor how much I'd missed Minnesota until I returned to it....)

My original intention was to take you with me: get off the plane in Manchester and stay connected by updating my posts often, blogging at least daily, and otherwise filling you in on every moment as it was happening. But seriously, my mind was boggled! And wi-fi opportunities were spotty at best. Things just didn't work out the way I'd hoped.

And it was a good thing they hadn't. I see that now. Because right from Square One I realized how monumental this trip was for me and how lifechanging it would be, and I began to tuck it in my heart and protect it.

It all felt so singular and holy, for one thing; like it was meant for my eyes only. How was I going to share that, I wondered?, and not make it sound like just any other Trip To England....

Since my return, I've hit the ground running and have been kept way too busy to really process my experience. I immediately got sick, of course. (I knew this would happen, but thankfully the whole fibro flare nonsense stayed at bay until I at least touched down again here at home.) As a result, I have yet to unpack, flesh out my notes, or even look at my photo cards.

But I'm hoping now that being back at my computer keyboard once more will help. Writing is a comfort. And I'm desperate to wrap my head around this trip and nail down what is already beginning to feel like a dream....