“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

8.16.2010

i bought a chair this weekend

and like so much in my life, it didn't quite fit in. it needed a bit of work. it's a beautiful thing, a wonderful little piece you are bound to see more of in the future, all sweet teal leather and sexy little legs, a big bottom, sooo comfortable, but those legs, as sexy and gorgeous as they were, just didn't work in my little space. they were sleek and black and fabulous, but i needed them to be less legs in high heels, more sandy bare feet on the beach. and so out came the sandpaper and stripper and butcher paper to protect the floor, and upside down went the chair and i set to work, hallmark channel movies my background music. it took all day and my back and arms will swear under oath to the truth of that. finally there it stood, just the wood looking back at me, and i began to wash on white paint and grayish paint, mixing as i went, acrylics and craft paint and wall paint smooshed together, and soon i'd overdone it, soon it was too much, soon i'd grayed it too gray, which meant some more sandpapering, and that's where it is today. still a work in progress, and i am more than okay with that.

because this is not the kind of thing that bothers me. it exhausts me and that can make me frustrated, but the truth is it doesn't bother me. it's just a chair. i'll get there, to that beachiness i see in my head. no biggie. there's not a piece of furniture in my house - except that blue/green table my mother gave me - that i haven't played with, changed, slapped with a paint brush, covered with a slipcover, made mine. yesterday, when one of the new chair's legs didn't quite match the others, i realized i paint furniture the way i paint paintings. slap dash, mixing colors as i go. covering up, taking off. if i am doing it right, with absolute irreverence. it ain't art, and how easy that makes things when you approach them with that attitude.

i try, quite unsuccessfully, to approach my life that way. it ain't art either. i make mistakes. i make a lot of them, and i so often take them oh-too-seriously. how much more fun are those days seasoned with a dash of irreverence, which is not the same thing as carelessness, and irreverence is maybe not the right word either because that implies no respect or spirituality, which is not what i mean. i mean i giggle while sitting in the back pew. i mean i say my prayers outside, surrendering to the sky, and i mean i understand how unimportant it all really is, but i also mean that by surrendering to the sky, art is born, that my heart is filled with life, and i understand what miraculous gifts even the tiniest of things and feelings are, that i understand that all is sacred. it takes that irreverence to get me there, a circuitous route, a silly route. i mean i cover things up and i take things off and i use plenty of sandpaper, but eventually i get there. all my days are a beginning again, a picking up where i left off, and sometimes there are days that are grayed too gray. eventually that won't bother me. it is just a day, i will say, it ain't art.

21 comments:

  1. And in saying that, you will make it so, just as you made this post so.
    I think that sometimes when we call something art, or call ourselves artists, we get too scared of that label, and run and hide. I like your idea of surrendering better. Especially to the sky. And with sandpaper. Do not go gently...

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  2. how much more fun are those days seasoned with a dash of irreverence
    Words to live by -- makes it SO much easier...

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  3. i need a book of my favorite "debi writes"....
    this is one of them !

    the less legs in high heels and more with sandy bare feet....that describes me every time i get dressed for a black tie event....or anything where i'm out of my comfort zone....

    you're brilliant when it comes to words...

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  5. ooohhh look at that soft teal ..just a marvel. i love your description of "surrendering to the sky" ..i get that, i so do and it makes me happy to know that you do too

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  6. Kelly - I always remember Bull Durham (and have talked about it somewhere on this blog), when Cash says you have to play baseball with fear and arrogance. I love that combination & think art is the same, and throw irreverence into the mix. It's funny, but it's part of the reason writing is so much easier for me. I never approach it as art or even think of myself as a writer. No expectations is a fabulous place.

    Donald - I'm thinking of making an irreverence shaker to keep next to the salt & pepper. Just as a reminder. :)

    Beth - Thank you! I need to email you tomorrow, and will. LOL! Bare feet is definitely my style, but I do love a great pair of high heels. For a few moments. xo

    :) Debi

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  7. Elaine - You popped up out of nowhere!

    I know you get that, and your images show it. And those few words in which you manage to say so much so beautfully.

    And it is a beautiful chair - I couldn't say no.

    xo
    Debi

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  8. Your physical toil with the chair and the background Hallmark story sounds like one of my personal therapy session. I often buy yardsale junk then work it to death while listening to an audiobook from the library. Is there any better time to reflect?

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  9. in the not thinking of yourself as a writer, your writing becomes spectacular!!

    count this one among my very favorites.

    xxoo

    and p.s. my word verification is:
    no pew

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  10. "it ain't art, and how easy that makes things when you approach them with that attitude"

    Oh this is so righty right right!

    I sometimes struggle with the art and the artist thoughts. Skating has helped me with this in that I can't really skate well, but it FEELS so fabulous and is so good for me and sometimes it almost feels like flying. It ain't the Olympics and so I can approach it with that irreverence and joy you mention. And, I can take my what I'm learning from skating, and from what you've shared here and apply it to my creative work.

    Amen!

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  11. I'm a fan and come here often - today I just had to leave a comment - fabulous post!

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  12. I so enjoyed your post---- seems like your spirits are up---- that is great news.
    I struggled with your blog about your dear friend ( kitty ) because it brought bad sad memories of my own losses which we all have. I rejoice that this blog is more upbeat and I sincerely hope you are learning to cope with your loss.

    Thanks again for your blog.

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  13. fantastic post. oh you make me sigh with the "getting it" as i read your words.

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  14. Liz - It was defintely therapeutic. A meditation - swaths of time with no thinking, just doing, then back again to somewhat paying attention to the television. I have never been able to achieve this blissful zoning out if music is in the background. Audiobooks are something that never occurred to me ~ sounds like a great idea. Muchas gracias!

    Graciel - LOL! That is so perfect! And thank you, ma'am!

    Jeannine - I struggle with this stuff when doing anything except writing, and am so grateful I have the writing to let loose in, to forget myself in. (Skating sounds pretty wonderful also! For you!) :)

    Jeane - Thank you. I took a peek at your blog and oh. my. goodness! Amazing stuff - I have you bookmarked and will be back. Loved it!

    Anonymous - I'm so glad you came back on a happier day. :) I truly am, and thank you for the kind words. I am really much, much better - there are just those days. You know. The fact that I picked up a paintbrush, even if it was to a chair, not canvas, is a sign of healing for me.

    Leslye - (Am I spelling that right?) We are just too hard on ourselves, are we not? How did we get this way? LOL! Here's to loosening up & letting go!!

    Debi

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  15. Thanks for these words. My day was gray today, no reason, just gray. But I must remember that tomorrow will be a new adventure and I can approach it again with JOY. The sacred is in the everyday gifts.

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  16. Marilyn - Oh, those gray days. Funny cause I love the color gray so much, but not those gray days. And so often they show up for no reason, not bad enough to ba a black day, but enough to make you just want to crawl back into bed with a book or watch bad tv or chick flicks. Lately I am eating - I admit it - Kit Kat bars. That crunch seems to help.

    Tomorrow is another day and the sun will be up and it will slide across the windows and lawns and the birds in the sky will cast shadows on the ground as they fly overhead. Those are gifts - I'll look for them if you will. Deal?

    xoxo
    Debi

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  17. amen sister! That ( it's just a day, it's not art) would make a great T-shirt don't you think?
    :-)
    xo

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  18. How thrilling! To claim a chair as your own in this manner. It's yours and no one else's. Although, I am feeling like I just watched a movie trailer of a good movie. I want to see the rest! : )

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  19. First, I have to say that I want to go chair shopping with you. Second, I might have to gently disagree. I think you make art with everything you touch. Happy Thursday, my friend.

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  20. Suvarna - It would, but we might be the only ones who would get it. LOL!

    Paula - I am the worst. I have to change everything. You don't want to know about the jillion teeny tiny dowels I once sanded to change this armoire thingy (it's not an armoire, but I don't know what else to call it) from dark varnished finish to white. I will never do that again.
    :)

    Relyn - Thank you! There were two of these chairs and I almost cried because I had to have it so bad. The lovely, lovely Katie bought the other - it looks fabulous with the original black legs in her house. :)

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  21. That chair is SO YOUR COLOUR!

    And you are so brave...I wish, oh I wish I had the guts to buy something and then sand it down and paint it to make my own. I wouldn't have the slightest clue as to how to make it look aged and weathered and stressed and beautiful. Maybe I should hit the garage sales and find something really cheap to practice on!

    Love your insights in this post. As always.

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