“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

4.30.2009

The Gift of the Cherry Laurel

The cherry laurel tree drops some magic on the plants below.

They accept with open arms.

The sidewalk that winds its way
beside the tree
and
under the blue lights ~
earlier laden with pear tree blossoms
and
red camellias ~
is now covered
with these tiny flowers.

I hear their song as they fall.

The cats build secret nests lined with their perfume,
tucked away in the darkness under the stairs,
adding pink petals
from a late blooming dogwood
and
honeysuckle blossoms.

I stand under the tree
and wait for the wind
to cover me with magic.
I will bring a piece with me
when I come back inside.

4.29.2009

A Field of Poetry

Yesterday morning I had a conversation with a friend about poetry.

I thought about it the rest of the day,
wondering if poetry consisted only of words,
but deciding it did not.
Not really.

These flowers above,
laid out at my feet,
beckoning me onward, forward,
the rain dripping from overhead leaves ~
surely poetry.
Surely.

Standing in this very spot,
I silently watched the trees
where last year the owls lived.
Five owls on a limb?
Oh, surely poetry.
Surely.

These catawba blossoms,
and stalks of blue morning-blooming flowers
the only colors against all the green,
the yet-to-bloom hydrangeas
and
Turkish caps
a memory of last year,
a promise held for this year.
Surely that promise is poetry.

The trees of spring are empty now;
pear, tulip, dogwoods.
Surely that emptiness is poetry also,
the leftover blossoms here & there,
just words of a different language.
A language taught by the wind,
by the rain, the sun, the storms.
A language whispered at night by the moon,
the stars,
the clouds drifting across the darkness.

I plant my feet in a field of poetry
and
take a step.
And then I am walking,
running with the poetry against my skin.

4.27.2009

Easy Easy Easy

bird soar glide
swoop dip float
ride the breeze
easy easy easy

detail from another bird
finished size - 14x14
mixed media on canvas

This one is complete.
Same paper - different paint combination.
Full painting image to come later.
i am so loving this little bird flying away home

4.26.2009

Feeling bad, silly politics, movies

jingle box

I am feeling bad today, all sinus-y & earache-y & my jaw - oh Lordy, it shouldn't be legal for a jaw to ache like it's been aching, and all the teeth on the left side of my face just hurt & my face, too, is all achy-breaky & I think that little lymph node thingy the doctor always checks right there under the side of my chin is a bit swollen & I actually stood in line at the drugstore yesterday evening to get the good decongestant - the one where you have to sign a white sheet of paper before they'll take your money for it, the one that requires you to have your driver's license ready to be scanned, and I was really trying to not be annoyed about it - I was actually thanking the powers that be that at least they had the stuff, even if I did have to buy the 48-count box because the pharmacist said they were out of the 24-count, and, really, how would I know?, not being allowed behind the counter to doublecheck his truthfulness - but I was really wondering where all those people who lobby so tirelessly to keep us from having to present a picture i.d. before we can vote happened to be when this law was passed? I mean, surely if having to present your i.d. to vote disenfranchises the poor (and I admit here that I have no idea why that disenfranchises the poor, me being pretty poor myself), this also must be unfair - if it requires an i.d. to get the stuff that really works, and if being poor = no i.d., well, then that's just wrong, isn't it? Okay, I know it's silly, I know poor people have picture i.d.s & driver's licenses (like I said, I am one of them) & that it's just a political game, but some consistency would be nice. Especially when you're feeling bad. And I was feeling pretty bad, and I was wishing one of those lobbyists was feeling bad also, and standing in line behind me. Actually I was also wishing one of the folks who'd passed the law requiring this stuff to be behind the counter was in line behind me & really feeling bad, because I was not above taking my time to dig out my driver's license, and not above deciding to pay with exact change & looking for all that change in the bottom of my purse, because it's a silly law. Truly. They do nothing with your information. I asked once. They just keep that paper you've signed - just a plain sheet of paper, usually with lots of other signatures already on it - and if the police or sheriff's department or whomever (whoever? whomever?) wants to look at it, they can. None of your information goes into a computer database alerting law enforcement that you are buying tons of the stuff to use in making meth - however much that might be. And I admit here, being the libertarian-leaning person that I am (and now I am probably on the government's watch list, having made such a radical statement), I'm glad of that, but so much silliness. And like I said, I wasn't feeling good. I even bought a new thermometer. Just in case.

And though I am feeling bad today, I think maybe I am feeling not as bad as yesterday. I am hoping, anyway. I have not yet eaten and we will see how that goes. Sipping on a coke has so far not made anything worse. If possible, I will work on paintings & collages (the 30 minutes I managed yesterday really leaves me quite behind on my imagined schedule) - the jingle box shown above is not glued down, and its silliness appeals to me today, so maybe I will finish that piece. I will finish watching Slumdog Millionaire, which, I admit, I am finding not fun at all. I much more liked yesterday morning's Vicky Christina Barcelona , even though it has the usual cliches about artists and photographers - that oh! you take such interesting photographs, oh, you must stop using digital; here, let us find you a film camera, you need a darkroom - it just drives me crazy because photography is photography is photography, and yes, there is that darkroom magic when you are printing black & white & can watch the print appear before your very eyes, but. But. Photoshop is just a different kind of magic. But I am just an old fogie & I have been in this business a long time, and I have developed film & hand printed pictures & hand retouched & hand painted pictures, and I perhaps no longer appreciate that first aha & oooh & aahhh, but still, digital is here, digital is photography, and I admit I love it. The ever-wonderful Michael, who has been in the photography business even longer than I thought the movie was just ridiculous - a chick flick - a "you too are an artist" flick. He just rolled his eyes. But I wasn't feeling good, and it was nice & mindless & full of pretty people.

And I did see a dress I wanted. Penelope Cruz was wearing it.
dear Lord, I am rambling. time to stop.

4.25.2009

Saturday Morning

The latest accidental collage.

I keep this acrylic stand on my desk/table top, next to the computer, next to where I work on paintings if they're small enough. Usually facing me is the R. Buckminster Fuller quote - Dare to be naive, an old calendar page-a-day quote. But in the hustle-mustle of last weekend's painting binge, things got moved around, knocked over, pushed here & there, words scattered hither & yon, and when I began to clean up (I say that in all seriousness, knowing that there is still stuff piled everywhere; I should be ashamed) I was taken with the above phrase, when no wind stirs, and I dropped it into the stand next to those hands & that blank Polaroid I love so much, just so I could think about it later. Maybe it will inspire me, I thought. I looked later & realized what a lovely juxtaposition it made. Self made art, found poetry.

The wind is stirring outside, though, and last night brought rain. The catawba tree is bursting with blossoms, and I opened the blinds this morning in the semi-darkness to silver pools of water gathered in the street, reflecting porch lights & street lights, white flowers floating atop those reflections. The day has now dawned, gray & cloudy, and green, green, green; the monkey grass is almost knee-high and honeysuckle is blooming all along the wall of the creek, white & pale buttery-yellow. If I were out in the rain, I could smell its sweetness - it greets me each evening when I come home, wanting its honeysuckle belly rubbed, just like a cat, and I seldom resist. There is no other color in the yard but overwhelming green, made brighter by this early morning drizzle, slowing down now - I can hear individual drops hitting the back porch and the front sidewalk. As I type this sentence, however, color comes into view in the form of a neighbor out for her morning walk, wearing a raincoat the exact pale yellow of the honeysuckle, a pale yellow that seems startling bright against all this green. As she passes by, Mary's porchlight twinkles into view behind the catawba tree limbs & green ginkgo leaves - it will always be Mary's porchlight to me, though she is gone, and the house will soon have new caretakers; you must forgive me. The wind is stirring a bit more now, and the rain is stirring also - I can see it hit the bricks of the road, each individual splash a silver spark in this dull morning light. Except for the sound of this slowing-down-again rain, there is only the soft whirr of the computer, and the clicks of the keys as I type, and the almost silent hum of the refrigerator behind me in the kitchen. No fan, no air conditioning, no birds yet. A quiet, quiet morning. Maggie the cat is asleep in a basket atop the washing machine, waking now & then to peer out the window, hoping the rain has stopped, wanting to be outside. She won't have long to wait. I can hear a bird welcoming the weekend.

If I can stay awake, it is a perfect day for painting.

i hope your saturday is as calm as today's beginning

4.23.2009

Waiting

detail of almost-finished mixed-media painting

I'm not even sure of the size - 16x16, I think.
90% completed.
But the last 10% is the hardest.
:)

Another piece for my upcoming show.
The stillness of waiting.
I am so loving this paper

4.21.2009

Just Sit

Another piece I will be offering for sale.
I've posted this image before, also, but not talked about it.

I'm not really sure where it came from. Oh, I don't mean I found it an alley somewhere & just hung the beads there - I made it with my own two hands, but still. Well, still is really the word. As in sitting still. As in sitting. As in just sit. Just breathe. Just sit. Just breathe.

It was made about the same time as Suttee Gate I & I had this grandiose idea that I would make tons of chair altar pieces, but I never did. I tried, but I hated everything, and just gessoed over the poor things, or painted over them, and just stuck them back. Nothing very still about it at all. I was full of hurry, full of annoyance, full of rushing, full of self-judgment, self-criticism, and although I have taken photographs of chair altars, I've not made any more mixed-media pieces.

I like this piece a lot. It speaks to me quite loudly, telling me to slow down, to calm down, to take a moment, to just sit. Sit. But I am willing to let it go. Finally. I have been so shy about showing my work to real people - you know, people who are right there in the room with me, looking at my soul hanging quite indecently outside of my body. It's been a dozen years since the last time I showed any art in a public place. In my defense, there aren't many places around here to do so, but at the same time, I haven't tried. I've just made a piece here, painted a painting there, dilly-dallying, not admitting to myself that I really, really, really want to be an artist, want to be a writer, want all those silly things you want as a child, but know instinctively that they are just a child's wishes. I also wanted to be a florist. I just wanted to be surrounded by pretty things. My mother tells a story about me - when I was about 2 or so, a million years ago, when it was safe to do such a thing, she & my father would park their car at a closed shopping center, and just let me walk from shop window to shop window, admiring the displays. They would watch me from the car, and I would meander along, saying "things!", pointing out pretties to them. I still do, but they're not watching, and I've learned not to point, but still. Pretties.

So this show. June 11. One night only at Caffe Tazza, a local coffee shop. The invitations/announcements must be designed this weekend - I must fit that in with all the painting waiting on me. I am scared that no one will like my "pretties", that I will return home with every piece, but at the same time, I am excited to be back in the game, whether I sell anything or not.

Just writing about it all makes my chest feel tight.
With happiness & fear.
So.
I just need to sit and breathe.
Just sit.
Breathe.
Sit.
breathe

4.20.2009

It's a Wonderful Life

I have been searching high & low for missing magic.
All the time, it sits here in front of me.
Look in the mirror, it says.
Your life is full of wonder.
I forget to be thankful.
I forget to be happy.

So, for me, a list.

Remember these things you thought were not gifts,
but most definitely were:
**the spring rain that kept you inside ~ lazy, drowsy,
the tv full of old movies**
**that old car you drove in high school ~ standard shift,
and now you can drive any vehicle, which = freedom**
**that boyfriend who broke up with you
when you were young,
the one who never brought you flowers,
saying nothing was exotic enough & you knew it was a lie**
**typing class**
** that move you made,
fleeing a loud, horrible neighbor,
from the town into the country;
a horse across the fence your new neighbor**


And these things you know are gifts, but forget:
**ice cubes**
**quarters**
**Sweetarts ~ thank you Christy**
**hot baths**
**Granny Smith apples**
**pencil sharpeners**
**postage stamps**
**a cat who wakes you too early every morning**
**another cat who greets you every day at work**
**shelves of books**
** +1 reading glasses**
**sunglasses**
**can openers**
**air conditioning**
**gasoline**
**24-hr grocery stores**
**matches**

All those dreary, wonderful things.
A table by the door to hold my keys,
my phone,
my mail full of bills.
Very "It's a Wonderful Life".

And it is.

4.19.2009

Suttee Gate 1

I've posted this image before, over a year ago,
but never talked about it.

I've almost sold it a couple of times, but it was probably overpriced so I still have it.  It will be part of my looming-ever-closer art show in early June - there is one change I will make & the price will be lowered.  I have done nearly nothing this weekend but continue to work on pieces, slather on backgrounds - layers & layers of paint & paper & gel & more paint & paper & more gel & stuff here & stuff there.  One piece is done, I think - I will have to look at it the rest of the day before I decide.  But truly, the part I like best is this background art, this no-object/no-message part, which is, ironically, really what the pieces are about.  Stillness, but stillness surrounding actions.

The piece above - Suttee Gate 1 - was inspired by a book I read every summer, and have been reading every summer for years & years - The Far Pavilions by MM Kaye.  It is a book about India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, set in the mid 1800s.  A wonderful book, a sprawling, epic novel,  as they say - full of history & romance & pictures painted with words.  It was a time in India when the act of suttee had been outlawed by the British, but in this book was still practiced in some places.

So first, the definition: "suttee: the act or custom of a Hindu widow willingly being cremated on the funeral pyre of her husband as an indication of her devotion to him; also: a woman cremated in this way."

Second, just a bit from the book: " . . . presently they came to a narrow gateway cut through the thickness of the palace wall. It was an unobtrusive gate, barely wide enough to take two people walking abreast, and decorated with a curious formal pattern that on closer inspection proved to be made up of the prints of innumerable slender hands, the hands of queens and concubines who down the long centuries had walked through that gate on their way to the fire and to sanctification." 

Just a bit, as I said.

The idea of suttee is mentioned several times in the book, foreshadowing coming events, and even the gate is mentioned, but it was this  bit that got to me.  I could just see those tiny henna-ed hands softly placed against that wall, leaving for eternity that message "I was here, I passed through this gate", some of these hands belonging not to grown women, but to young girls.  It killed  me when I read that description.  I've never gotten over it - I began to use handprints in my artwork, and for years tried to paint a suttee gate - my God, what a thing! - but I just could never get there.  It signified so much to me.   Not just the literal gate - it was also that following-your-husband-no-matter-what idea.  Please don't misunderstand.  In my life I am surrounded by strong women, smart women, self-sufficient women, but I have also known women - or known of  women - whose lives were dictated by their husbands' lives, by their husbands' fortunes or lack thereof, by their husbands' cruelty or infidelity or disappearance when times got tough.  I think of my grandmother trapped in a horrible marriage by lack of money, by too many children - a marriage she made in her mid 20s, under family pressure to avoid being an "old maid".  These women's lives, my grandmother's life, seemed not much different to me.  I still get chills down my spine when I read those words; my chest becomes tight, and I must remind myself to breathe.

And so, the piece pictured above.  I made it about 3 years ago - maybe 2.  I just suddenly knew what to do, how to do it.  I wanted that stillness, and I wanted all those hands.  When I signed it on the back, I also left my  handprint.  When I am rich and famous and have my own art studio/gallery, I will have a show with a gate one must pass through.  I will let the women leave their handprints on that gate - only the women, because I want them to feel that separateness.  And because they  will feel it, so will the men.  The idea stays with me, I feel it in my bones, I feel the underside of my skin shake ever so slightly.

That is why Suttee Gate .  There will be a 2.  Probably a 3.

4.16.2009

Two Things That Make Me Happy

It's that little hint of blue smudginess
on the lower left hand side
of this image that does it for me.

In fact, I almost don't care if the other flowers are there or not - okay, to be honest, I really don't care if they're there or not, at least in this image; in real life I want them to be there absolutely, and I'm so glad they are, and hope they will be tomorrow, but for right now, looking at this image, it's that smudginess I'm in love with. That hint of other blue flowers back there in the distance, which in turn makes me remember that there are lots of blue flowers back there in the distance, which makes me happier than should be legal. Other things that make me happy are Ferris wheels, one of which the ever-wonderful Michael & I passed by today, a small carnival setting up in town, and I wanted to ride it, but oh! said he, it's the most boring ride. But it goes high, I replied, and you can just sit and look around, and besides, as he does not need to be told, I am quite a big baby about carnival rides, the Ferris wheel being the only one I am interested in - that and perhaps a ride through the Haunted House or The Tunnel of Love; anything that does not jostle me about or go in small circles.

So there!- there are two things that make me happy,
I will tell him
(we having one of those weeks
when he says nothing makes me happy) -
blue flowers & Ferris wheel rides,
preferably at night when I can sit close to the stars.

4.14.2009

I Still Have 2 Ears

Ooooohhhhh, another door.

I just want to get behind it, to see what's there.

I'm still in art mode, still putting backgrounds on canvases, putting backgrounds on metal, altering signs, gluing paper, slopping on gel, more paper, gesso, paper again, and it is still just backgrounds. I know what it's all about, what all these pieces will talk about in their own silent way - Storms & Stillness will be the name of this show - but it is slow going. Storms & stillness have been my life for the last little while - kind of like baseball; lots of waiting around for something to happen and then a whole bunch of stuff really fast. I know I must be boring you all to tears - all these gray images, all these just not very pretty pictures, all this constant introspection & worrying & agonizing & overthinking, and to be honest, I am quite boring myself to tears, so I understand. Any day now I expect to reach the lopping-off-an-ear stage. I come here to this blog every day & think I will change the background, change the banner, change the colors, brighten & lighten things up - I visit other blogs that are just bursting with cheer & color & thank goodness they are out there, but I just get jealous & feel as gray as my images, as shadowy, as dreamy, when I want to be anything but all those things, when I want to just be the sparkles of sunshine on a lake. But for now, I am where I am, here in this artist's frame of mind, wherever it came from - was I born this way? - and I will be here for a while. I am taking so few photographs, concentrating on these canvases (should that be canvi?) strewn all over my house, staring me in the face, sending out invisible energy, luring me into their world.

So please bear with me.
I will be back to finding magic after a bit.
Right now the magic is lurking nearby,
hiding in paint & atop canvases,
and soon I will see it.
Soon.
You will be the first to know.
promise

4.12.2009

Shoulder Against the Gate

A gate begins to open.

So odd how things change, time changes, circumstances change, moods move around, life shifts, love evolves, new priorities arise, we grow new memories. We put our hands on a doorknob, or, more likely, our shoulder against a gate that's a bit stuck, and begin to push it open, peering through the spaces between the boards, pushing harder against overgrown plants that are blocking an easy opening, knowing all the while that there is a secret garden inside and it will be all ours if we just keep trying. The gate perhaps sags, dragging the ground as we inch it forward, and as we keep our shoulder to the task, our mind drifts back in time, wondering how we came to be here. The day is damp, rain has fallen all morning, and the earth is muddy beneath our feet. Last year at this time it was all sunshine and warmth, and the day was frothy with pink dresses, but this year April seems muted - all grays & silver & rain, soft with memories and possibilities - and our shoulder grows wet against the rain soaked wood. We continue to push, spying through the gate not a world full of flowers & blooming trees, but a world that looks much like the place where we stand. But we have faith - somehow we know that once this gate is open, once we enter this secret garden, our life will change. And it will be good. We aren't expecting miracles, we know we will have to work, we will have much trimming of all that overgrown foliage - we can tell that already - but still, we are ready.

It is quiet,
but there is birdsong
and
the dripping of the wet honeysuckle
growing along the fence top.

The gate is almost open.
My paintbrush in my hand, I push harder.
almost there

4.09.2009

I Will

Come rain or come shine, I am not fighting it this weekend.

I don't care.
I will just go with the flow.

I will paint.
I will let it be what it be.

I will read,
I will listen to music.
I will avoid the news.
I will slow my breathing.
I will buy chocolate bunnies & jelly beans.
I will make last-minute Easter baskets
and I will not care if they are imperfect.
I will, in fact, embrace imperfection.
I will own it.

I will tie ribbons into backward bows,
having learned to tie a bow that way as a child,
imitating my Mother's bow while toe-to-toe.
Her left my right.
I will shred tissue paper for Easter grass,
my niece so not into pink anymore,
you understand,
being 12 & all,
black high-tops more the thing,
so white grass for her.

I will wish for warmer temperatures,
these lingering cold nights having worn out their welcome,
but I will accept willingly
whatever number the mercury climbs to,
piles of white blankets at my toe-tips.

I will be me.
I will relax into that.
I will ask for what I want,
but I will understand if it does not come.

I will, however, ask again.
a house in the country, space, solitude, the ability to relax

4.08.2009

Hours without Ambiguities, Texas Style

When in doubt, I always say, post a picture of a cat.

Maggie.

I am out of dreaminess & art mode today, and on my way to the woods, to sit for a while, to enjoy food cooked in the outdoors, and listen to a bunch of good old boys talk about stuff and sports and guy things, and I cannot tell you how happy the idea makes me. I am exhausted this week with neighborhood dramas, and worrying about art, and much in need of life without ambiguities, if only for a few hours. I am glad of the the chance to just sit & listen to people who are who they are, with no excuses offered. And, like Maggie, they care not whether you like them or not, even though I do, and they care not whether they like someone or not. What was it Lyle Lovett sang? In that song "You're Not From Texas"?

But at a dance hall down in Texas
That's the finest place to be
The women they all look beautiful
And they'll say that's right you're not from Texas
That's right you're not from Texas
That's right you're not from Texas
But Texas wants you anyway.

That's the kind of men these are - they will always buy your beer.
Whether they like you or not.
the phone just rang - more beer, they said

4.07.2009

Seeing a Story: Staying in Art Mode

An image I've had for a while.

I look at it and see circles of all kinds.
The lights mimic the giraffe's polka dots.
It's a carousel;
it goes round & round & round.
The boy's head - there in the back. Almost a circle.
The boy's arm - there in the front.
I can just feel the big circus-y loop he draws in the air,
like a bull-rider on a bull,
hand swinging like a lasso above his head.

However,
I am quite taken with this arrested movement,
with how still it seems it the midst of all the action.
I don't hear the music that no doubt is playing.
It feels silent.
Mysterious.
That boy in the back controls the entire image.
He sets the mood,
the tempo,
despite that big, happy, looping arm in front.
It should be a joyful image,
a laughing image,
full of the noise of children.
But it's not.
It feels like letting go, yes,
but a tentative letting go,
not quite sure where this all will lead,
but willing to see.
Perhaps eager to see.

Do you see any of that?
Do you see a story here?

This one is made-up, of course.
There really were laughing children.
There was blasting music,
the smell of cotton candy.
But all I saw,
at that moment,
at that place,
that spot where my two feet stood,
was that boy in the back.
That giraffe.
That almost-loneliness.
Almost.
the giraffe feels like the boy's protector

4.06.2009

Big Girl Panties

Well, that title oughta get this blog a lot of hits.
:)

But I have to do it.
Time to put 'em on.

Things are going on, things that are not making me happy, but things I cannot control, things I have to learn to accept, things I have to live with. Nothing life-threatening, and in the end, I will be probably be glad these things happened, these things that are forcing me out of my comfort zone - things I won't talk about here, except to complain about the unfairness of life, the annoyances & aggravations we are forced to put up with. I've been doing just that to the lovely, lovely Katie, who looked at me last night and said well, time to put on your big girl panties & deal with it. I looked at her - I am so blogging this, I replied, and we laughed and laughed.

She is right.
Time to put 'em on.
But if I gotta wear 'em,
they're going to be pretty.
With ribbons.
wish me luck

4.04.2009

Old Things & New Lives: Time Goes On

I am full of unspoken thoughts & feelings,
but if you tip me over like a teapot,
they will come pouring out.

I like that image, and I can even picture the teapot - it was one my grandmother owned when I was a child and I'm not sure you could really use it for tea; I suppose it really  was a music box, but it was china - white with hand painted dark pink roses & gold flourishes & dilly-dallies, and there was a little performance stage on one side, although actually it was in  one side.  A little concave cut-out surrounded by scalloped, gold-trimmed edges, and dancing on that stage was a little ballerina.  She stood on one toe, her arms in the air, and she wore a white frothy tutu with tiny, tiny red~pink velvet hearts scattered all over the skirt; I loved running my fingers over those little velvet hearts.  I can't remember the song it played, but when you wound it, the ballerina would spin & twirl & dance & dance.  I remember very distinctly being just eye-level with that lovely little thing - it sitting on a counter, me just tall enough to stand there & rewind it every time the ballerina stopped.

Where did it go? Where does anything go?

Today is Mary's wake/Bon Voyage celebration, at last.  Six weeks have gone by, and it is finally here.  Her daughter & son-in-law have been in town for the last week, across the street in her house, deciding what stays, what goes, giving all her books to charity, asking us to take what we want, and I have wanted so little.  I took the white abalone heart we'd given her one year for Valentine's Day, I took an old copy of Out of Africa,  and I took her old, manual typewriter. Her daughter keeps asking me to take for myself the other gifts I'd given her over the years, but I cannot.  They are not mine.  They will go to Goodwill or to the Salvation Army or to other friends, and like the books, hopefully they will end up with someone who loves them.  They will start new lives of their own; those lives will not be with me.

I am supposed to speak at the wake for a few minutes - just 2 or 3, in line with other speakers, and I am supposed to tell a neighborhood story.  I have nothing written, but I will tell the story of Bob the cat, I suppose, tell the tale of Mary enticing him away from me, how he  began a new life with her.  When I awoke this morning, I realized he has been gone almost a year.  His grave in Mary's backyard is marked by a hanging basket of blue flowers, but otherwise now undetectable.  Almost a year. Where did it  go?  Will I be here a year from now, typing about how this past year has flown, has Mary has been gone over a year? Probably.  Hopefully.  But today is a day of remembrance for us, a day of stories, a day of celebration, of food & drink, of fellowship, of closeness.

I will keep that thought.

4.02.2009

this girl . . .

this girl . . .

is pale blues & aquas & sweet tea with lots of ice ~ she is lying in a boat in the middle of the summer lake at midnight, waiting for falling stars ~ she is Texas: SUVs & bare feet on a dirt road & climbing roses & trying to figure out the secret workings of her grandmother's 4 o'clocks; she believes that the smaller the government, the better. She is a questioner, impatient, she rolls her eyes at nonsense & sighs loudly.

This girl carries Pepto-Bismol with her everywhere ~ prefers silence to music, but loves the blues & Cuban jazz & Aretha Franklin & Patsy Cline. She is warm weather ~ a dreamer who sees reality all too well ~ a reader of anything you put in front of her ~ she is front porches & a cat in your lap, a dog at your feet ~ she is happy, happy alone & can change a flat tire if needed.

She dreams in color, of rooms & windows & houses with no walls.

She buys only white linens & has a white ipod lying empty in the drawer of a pale blue table, next to several empty-but-beautiful journals which she buys thinking that this time she will actually write in this one, but she never does; she writes on scraps of paper, in blue plastic 3-ring binders, on the backs of calendar pages & bank deposit slips. She is sloppy with her money, ones & fives & twenties shoved into her disorganized purse every which way & she wonders if that is bad financial feng-shui, but she doesn't really believe in someone else's feng-shui; she has her own.

This girl is shy & feels full of secrets ~ she is easily angered, but she also laughs easily ~ she is the person people depend on, and she is often annoyed by that; she is learning to say no, but still feels guilty each time she does ~ she is a triple Scorpio, sarcastic, distrustful, snide, but fiercely, fiercely loyal & she has your back if you are her friend; she expects the same in return.

She believes it does not take a village.

This girl eats Mexican food 2 or 3 times a week, and speaks just enough Spanish to find the bathroom or figure out the menu ~ she will not buy a swimsuit unless it is blue, and fears that her bikini days may be over ~ she feels lately that her artistic muse is awakening; she is brimming with ideas, and feels a change in the air. She is sunshine on skin.

This girl is not as scared as she used to be.

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This post is inspired by the fabulous Gillian at Indigo Blue.
Play along & tell her all about it.
Who are you?

4.01.2009

White Hearts

These leaves remind me of Susanna's wonderful, wonderful image of black hearts, of which I have a copy, thank you very much, Miss Susanna, and on the very next day after the photograph showed up in the mail to make me happy, happy, I awoke to find a small package wrapped in green paper propped against my front door - teeny heart candles on toothpicks, which just perfectly, perfectly match the black heart image. From the lovely, lovely Katie who knew nothing about Susanna's hearts.

I have had this image for a while, but could not figure out how to make it look like what I felt when I saw the leaves. But I am in painter mode now, not photographer mode, and as such I have no respect at all for the purity of an image, and am able to manipulate it to my vision with no guilt whatsoever.

Shameless.
dear God, I hated Garth Brooks' singing that song, holding that rose