Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Leafling Story

I don't have time for blogging today, I really don't. But it's time to talk about this. I just hope I can do so without sounding too stupid....

Not long ago, I had an emotional crisis while watching news reports about terrorist attacks and police shootings and Donald Trump, climate change, parents murdering their children, floods and fires and fill-in-the-blank. The whole world was in chaos and needed help, and here I was with nothing at all to offer.

It was about that time that I began creating my leaflings. I'd go for a walk, find a leaf, take it home, and draw on it; wash, rinse, repeat. Faces, mostly. Sometimes I'd write a wish on the back -- "Mother Earth, may your heart be healed" -- things like that. Then I'd release them on the wind to work their magick.

Doing this helped me. In my head I saw each leaf go on to spark a little change, even if all it did was fall to the curb and decompose. Then I began imagining that each was discovered by the one person who needed it most, someone who looked down at the earth and saw the earth looking back. I liked to think that that person was suddenly kissed by magick and began seeing the wonder and beauty in everything, and they began paying it forward. In my head I was changing the world one leaf at a time....

I know that my few friends and fans on my Facebook page like to know that I'm being creative, so I shared what I was doing on social media. Thankfully, it all got the reaction that I was hoping for. Nothing crazy, mind you; just a few folks being charmed by my efforts. The fact that I'd spent time creating these leaflings only to let them blow away was a big part of what charmed them.

It was suggested to me that I add a hashtag or my email address or my website URL on the back of each leaf, so I can hear when and if one was ever found, and also because people will want to know who the artist is. But the idea made me uncomfortable. I didn't want anyone to see my work and wonder about me; I wanted them to see my work and be filled with wonder.

Occasionally someone would comment. "I wish I lived in your neighborhood; it would be so exciting to look down and find one!" A friend wrote that he saw a stand of old milkweed with clusters of empty pods still clinging to their stalks and thought to himself, "Wouldn't it be cool if Delayne drew on one of those?", then went on to say that he'd simply walked away with a smile, telling himself that I'd drawn on them all. When I read that, it was like everything came Full Circle.

My leaflings were making their magick.

But it wasn't long before other comments surfaced: "I hope you're weatherproofing them somehow so they last." (But then they won't decompose; I'm trying to commit a random act of wonder, not poison the earth....) Or, "I live half a world away; I'll never find one!" (How do you know this? They're MAGICK.) Or, "Can I commission you to make one of these for me?" (You're talking about ME taking MONEY now, right?) Or, "Where do you sell these and how much do they cost?" (Yeah, you're talking about money....)

Here's the thing:

I'm just the delivery system. Mine is just the hand that helps the Other Side make contact. Some of us are already 'awake' and familiar with the divine, but others need a miracle, a bit of serendipity, something completely unexpected (like seeing a leaf that sees you back) to make eye contact and kiss them on the heart. To me, it's magick of the highest order.

And I sincerely believe that by working this way -- with fallen leaves and their impermanence -- the message is rather like a glamourbomb (look it up), free to decompose and release its wonder-filled stardust in the air like a perfume. Does that make sense?

That being said, let me repeat that I am just the delivery system. I'm assisting the Fairies, let's say. I'm a minor part of the team. And the thought of taking money in exchange for the small thing I'm doing gives me hives. Money is Donald Trump. It's greed. Yes, yes, I know that I call myself an 'artist' and that I try to sell my work so that I can live to do it all again another day, but don't think it doesn't bug me to have to do this. I've written dozens of blog posts (like this one) about my aversion to being paid for what I do and how bad I am at business so I won't repeat myself. Let's just say that if there was a way to do what I do every day, share my work with others, and still eat and pay my mortgage, I would do it.

But no. Money factors in here, so I deal with it as best I can. I sell my artwork. But this? This is different.

Because others have asked to see my leaflings in person, I've chosen to bring them with me to Fest this season. They're in a display case on my counter, and when people appreciate them I tell them the whole long story. Some get it, some don't. Some lecture me. Some roll their eyes.... I understand. In a place where NOTHING is free, where tickets for a family cost a fortune, where costumed street characters roam the grounds with tip baskets hanging from their belts and seed money tucked in their cleavage, where the smallest of interactions come with the expectation of reward, where food booths have tip jars on their counters next to the napkins, where you can't request a song without waving a five-dollar bill first, what I'm doing is so dang dumb that I can hardly type this without shame.

And smarter heads remind me that it's dumb. Like they did, repeatedly, this past weekend. "This is a business. Take peoples' money." And I really do listen, I swear; I'm just trying to take their advice in a way that is comfortable to me. And I think I've come up with a solution. Maybe.

For the moment, this is where I'm at:
  • All the leaflings I create, starting today, will be gently coated with a water-based solution to protect their tiny faces and keep them looking fresh. (This way, should one find its way to you, it will weather the trip, thus allowing you to frame it, gift it, repurpose it, or release it.)
  • And if you live 'half a world away,' you can still 'find' one of my leaflings, because I'll mail it to you.
  • And you can commission me to make one if you need some magick in your life (or know someone who does). How much do I charge? I don't. (Read on....)
  • And if you're at Fest and one of my leaflings 'calls' to you, then you're obviously the one meant to 'find' it. Give it a good home. (Read on....)
I never meant for these to be 'free.' (Magick isn't free; there's always a price.) But in this case I'll let you decide what this is worth to you and what you want to give in exchange. All I ask is that if you wish to pay me in real money, you do so without putting cash or coin in my hands. Give it to me in an envelope and I promise someone else will open and deal with it; I won't know if you think my work is worth 50 bucks or 50 cents or 50 paperclips, so there's no humiliation factor for either of us. Or make a donation on this site (I'll link a Paypal button or something here if/when I can figure out how to do so). Or do something else like rescue an animal, donate some books, read to a kid, fill-in-the-blank. Just move the magick forward, 'k?

Because the Fairies have given me a serious job: to begin their work in this little way and make sure it continues -- without pause -- to heal the Earth and its inhabitants one magick leafling/one kind deed/one act of wonder at a time.

And if you so choose, it can be your job too.

And we can heal the Earth together.