Life has a way of circling around, doesn’t it? The Indigo Girls have a line in their song Watershed that goes
“Ending up where I started again
makes me want to stand still.”
On January 10, 2015, I was in a very similar place to where I am now. Then, it was facing divorce after being married to Bob for 25 years. Today, it is facing divorce after 31 years. Obviously, the divorce six years ago didn’t happen; we had a turn-about and changed our relationship and stayed together. After some really difficult times in the last few years, we are now getting the divorce. There will be no turn-about this time. The heartbreak and grief I was feeling 6 years ago have been back in full force this past year for me, as well as facing the changes that come with ending a marriage. It is a hard place to be.
In January 2015, Bob had just moved out, and I dealt with the heartbreak by throwing myself a party. It’s not that I was feeling jolly and wanted to celebrate. I needed my friends around me, and I needed something to look forward to. So I planned an unusual party, one where I had my guests paint on my walls and paint on ME. It really helped me so much, in so many ways. Continue reading
[In which one writer finds other things to do with notebooks and pens besides furiously scribbling words.]
I have had a love-affair with art supply stores for years. Mostly it was drooling at all the colors and paints and pencils and artsy stuff like a kid in a candy store, but then circling back around to my “safe” area– pens and notebooks. I love buying pens and notebooks, as do so many of my writerly friends. How fun to pick up different pens for $2 or $3, and fill up the tabla rasa of white pages.
And then, inspired by a writer-friend who was diving deeply into making art as well, I started dipping my toe in, buying a few art supplies myself. Maybe a little watercolor box (cheap, like kids use), some colored pencils, some markers. I found a few Groupons for getting great discounts at art stores, and then I could really have some fun buying stuff. I didn’t know what I was buying and I felt like a fake in the aisles, an art imposter, but bought them anyway.
And then I put all of them in this set of drawers by my writing desk, and mostly never used them. Occasionally, I might hesitantly give something a try, like dabbling with some water colors, playing around, but not much. I had a yearning, but let all the discouraging voices in my head get the better of me. Some supplies I never even opened… Continue reading
This weekend I was driving down the river road and saw a young artist with his easel set up on the bike path. He was standing in front of his canvas, painting the beautiful Fall colors. I turned and craned my neck to see how he was doing as I drove by. There were colors and lines on the canvas, a half-finished work of art. “That’s brave,” I thought, standing there in public where anyone could watch his process, see the humble beginnings, judge what might not look like much in the middle.
I remembered watching Bob Ross on public television when I was a kid. My dad liked to watch him teach the audience how to paint landscapes, and Mr. Ross did have a mesmerizing quality about his voice (painting all his “happy little trees.”) I was fascinated by his process—he’d start painting the scene and it would look like a mess. It looked like a mess until he was more than half-way through– every time I watched, I was sure he had totally botched his painting this time. Wouldn’t you know, he always managed to turn his mess into a miracle, and end the show with a lovely nature scene.
All this has got me thinking about Perfectionism lately. Continue reading