brain dump

labelleizzy

Be the change you want to see.

I make words. It's what I do.


networking
labelleizzy

Friends Only

Hi there.

This is where you should comment if you know me IRL or perhaps have met me via a community here on LJ.
I'm not averse to having new Friends, and you are welcome to add my journal. Usually I will read some of your journal first before deciding whether to add your journal to my filters.

A few posts are public so people can see if they like my writing.

(June 11, 2007)
(Edit October 10, 2009)

conviviality, Dionysos
labelleizzy

Friending meme!



Looking for lj friends? Thinking that your flist has become a ghost town? Missing the heyday of lj?

HAVE I GOT THE MEME FOR YOU.

Come to kickthehobbit's journal and join the fun!
Tags:

dealing with demons
labelleizzy

hard to read but really fucking worth it

"But if being abused is a curse, it is not an unbreakable one. Yes, the path of least resistance is to recapitulate the abuse one learned as a child, but that is not the only path."

THESE are passages from a post by siderea that I really recommend anyone read who had a difficult, abusive, or neglectful childhood, or who loves someone who falls into that category.

Another passage:

"This is what the work of breaking the cycle of abuse entails: re-examining the past with the full cognitive capacities of an adult so that you can re-evaluate and replace the understanding you have of the abuse you experienced, and seeking out, identifying, and remedying the holes in one's interpersonal (and other) functioning skills. The former is generally pretty painful in the short term, but leads to radically less suffering and increased peace of mind medium-term and long-term; the latter is an ongoing hassle but pays steady and compounding dividends of improved relations and social/business success.

But the first step, in general, is realizing that there's something to be done. By the adult who was abused as a child. On one hand, it does seem terribly unfair that the victim is the person who gets stuck with doing all this work if they want to be restored to their full powers, or at least as much of their full powers as may be available to them. Would that you could sue your abuser into giving you back the childhood they owed you!

But on the other hand, this is good news: the power to recover what was yours is in your own hands. You don't need anyone's permission. You don't need your abuser's permission or assistance. They don't have the power to withhold this from you. Yes, it sucks that you are the one that has to do the work, but what a relief that you get to be the one to do the work. Because the alternative is being dependent for your very psychological well-being on the good will of people who have demonstrated not much good will to you. So the realization that there is something you can do is liberating."


please see also my post in a similar vein, Metaphor for Fear.

I have yet another post on this that I want to share if I can find it, the one about having to deal with the fact that you have to shovel your own shit, no matter how you acquired it.

tea
labelleizzy

heh

saw a woman with a travel mug today while having lunch with wrenb:

SHELTER
FOOD
WATER
COFFEE

(heh. I giggled)
Tags:

nanowrimo
labelleizzy

*enthusiastic* consent; the new paradigm to adopt

I want to thank tenacious_snail for introducing me to the concept of enthusiastic consent. I've been thinking about it a lot recently.
Her way of putting it, was "I have a fetish for consent", actually. I like this as well.

Just before the holidays, someone I should have been able to trust, put his hands on me, not just without my consent, but in a surprising way, from BEHIND ME, where I could not see him or be warned in any way.

This is the fifth time he has done this over ten years, in the exact same kind of way. Always from behind. Always in my blind spot. Always silently and without warning, he plops his heavy hands down onto my shoulders. *shudder* I don't see him often thank the gods. But he will NEVER do this again. I was already angry and unhappy with him due to his prior history with me and stories I have heard from others about similar behavior towards other women, and I had been very cold towards him, shielded and painfully polite during the visit so far.

This last time he did this he did it in the crowded basement and came up behind me, directly in front of his sons: my husband and my brother in law. It felt like some combination of a horrible creepy crawlie landing on my skin and like ropes starting to be tying my arms to my upper body. I had a full-body shudder, moving forward in the crowded room while ducking and batting his hands and arms away from me, saying, "no, stop, I don't want this, don't touch me!"

ew ew ew ew ew.

I put Jeff between him and me for the remainder of the evening, and he didn't make eye contact for the rest of the evening either; he was holding his grandson at the far end of the table. And when it came time for parting and good byes, he strangely was not in the room.

GOOD.

He still is owed a long email. I'm working on how to say things that might get him to actually fucking CHANGE his behavior rather than totally just shred him, which I am perfectly capable of doing, mind you. But I've had about three weeks to think about things. He's in his sixties, stuck in his ways almost to the point of fossilization, basically a social pariah. I can't change him, but this is a HARD LIMIT and he will NOT touch me again. If I can introduce a fracture, I will. I plan to.


*inhale*
*exhale*

This was not actually the post I meant to be writing, but it is pertinent and related.

What I wanted to talk about is that it is fucking CRUCIAL to ensure enthusiastic consent with people you want to connect with.

Even for a handshake. *shrug* I forced an introductory handshake on someone once and realized after the fact that his culture did not DO that kind of thing. Awkward, but hopefully not wounding.

Even for a hug. My friend N used to have another friend who insisted on hugs, even when she wasn't wanting to hug them. N will hug me, usually... the first time though, I offered and she initially said NO.

and it's so goddam important to respect the NO.

I said NO a dozen times to the asshole who date raped me in college. He ran right over the top of my NO. I was barely 21 years old. I presumed basic respect, and did not have the tools to handle a situation beyond my assumption parameters. (I'm okay now, but I'm still ANGRY about him forcing unwanted sexual activity.)

Our culture does not respect the NO. Too many romance novels and comedies have the love interest "sweeping someone off their feet", saving them in some damsel in distress trope, "earning their love" through defeating or humiliating enemies or rivals or getting past obstacles. There's a deep stream that says "do what you can get away with", witness subway creepers, upskirt photographers, catcalling on urban streets, drugging drinks in fraternities and bars.

I REJECT THESE TROPES.

I want to see more people learning the delicate dance of exploring and respecting others. Of seeking the people who enthusiastically want you in their community, people who you want in yours. Enthusiastically taking someone into your life, or your bed or your body, and them being as enthusiastic to be there as you are enthusiastic about wanting them.

I *will* take lukewarm hugs, and lukewarm acquaintance if that's all I can get.

I think I can do better than that, though, honestly. I'm pretty awesome. =) If you're not into me, why spend the time? That's just dumb and kind of a waste for both of us. Find something that sets you on fire, inspires you.

I will not take lukewarm lovers, and I will not pressure someone into being with me unless they're actually, really into me. I'm willing to be patient though and let a good deep secure friendship make slow progress toward something else. I can gently express my enthusiasm about the person I am into, and let them gradually dig me more until maybe they are enthusiastic about me, too. Someone who is enthusiastic about me, who will treat me as I deserve to be treated: with attention, time, tenderness, touch, and sweetness.

And I have to understand that I need to enforce my own No, too. If spending time somewhere or with someone is unproductive, unrewarding, uncomfortable or unfulfilling for me, I need to say NO as often as possible. Sometimes you can't do that, life is complicated. But you can often make choices to do the things that feed you rather than the things that drain you or doing stupid stuff because it's a habit.

Make more CONSCIOUS choices. Cultivate the relationships you really want instead of settling.
If something doesn't work to feed you, prune it out of your life. It's deadwood anyway, why should it stay if you can make room for actual growth, more sunlight, more breathing room. It can be awkward, painful, uncomfortable to do.

Can we all speak up a little more?
"yeah, I really love spending time with you."
"no, I don't have the interest in doing that, thank you for asking."
"hey, could you scratch my back? (rub my feet, pet my hair, help me with task x)?"

Be specific. Address the individual person or persons at stake. Be honest. Be kind if you can spare the spoons, if you can't be kind at least be direct and clear.

That's what I want to see. That's what I want to try to do.


Thoughts??

bunny writer
labelleizzy

Happy Thanksgiving.

I woke up this morning to sweet cuddles and caresses from a warm sleepy husband. Nothing more than cuddles this time, as he read his newspaper with one hand and ran the other absent mindedly over my head. I felt like a cat in a lap, warm and contented and loved. When he rose to wash up, I worked on my morning stretches. It feels so good to move the body, the First Home, to have it respond so sweetly to my requests. Bodies are wonderful, they soak up the sunlight and warmth, they feel the touch of loved ones, they can work, kiss, write, interpret for the brain. Bodies are the filters through which we experience pleasure, all the pleasures. Sex and food and running and tickling, laughter and back scratches and massage, intoxication of love or of good wine. I am in good health, able to accomplish what I set out to do of a day without more than slight pains or discomfort. Doing pretty well for a middle-aged woman whose favorite activities are writing, gardening, and cooking.
I am thankful for my body.

When I finished my stretches and my morning meditation, my husband had begun preparing breakfast. I always boil a pot of black tea for myself, as he doesn’t care for it. We had crepes with ham and cheese and apple, and a dash of maple syrup. Then he got on the computer to book hotel reservations and make other arrangements for our upcoming trip, and then we worked together on preparing the Thanksgiving duck. Last night he was working for hours, between research on a project for our house, fine tuning a home improvement project (this required a skill saw that lets him cut a tidy hole in the wall for a new electrical outlet). Before that, he had been supervising the final stages of some work being done in our yard.
I am thankful for my husband.

My life is very abundant. The loving husband and friends and chosen family and biological family are all blessings to me. Though I have never carried to term, I am a beloved auntie and sister-mom to many children, I have worked in schools with many children, I have loved many children. I am surrounded by friends who seek my company. I am surrounded by people who speak and write to me with supportive and kind words, who encourage my artistic endeavors, who inspire me with how they work and play and strive to build a better world.
I am thankful for my community, and the connections within it.

My home is colorful and comfortable. We have quilts on the beds, clothes in the closets, warm curtains against the chill. We have an outdoor space that is green and lovely, with water and earth and space to grow food. We have a kitchen and a living room with space to entertain comfortably, and food enough in the pantry and refrigerator to feed people we like and love. Our soft and lazy felines nap in the sunshine, on our laps, atop stereo speakers and under the kitchen table. They love us, rub against us, talk to us, chide us when the food is late or the box unscooped, and their antics continue to make us laugh down the years.
I am thankful for our lovely house, and for our sweet cats.

Recently I have been writing very prolifically. The ideas and images have been flowing easily to my pen and my screen, and releasing them and arranging them has been giving me great joy. For many years now, I seek the printed word for comfort, whether reading them or writing them. I feel like I am hitting “the zone”, as runners do, as other artists do. The words are friendly and flirty and I handle them comfortably, even when they zip and zing and burn, even when they are as cold and mean as dry ice.
I am so very thankful for the words and for my muse, and for the privilege of crafting with words.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

NaNoWriMo 2014: My first run

Hera and Zeus in establishing conversation: digression, deflection, bragging, outright lying and misdirection, condescension and patronization…

“Oh, sweetie?” Zeus said from behind his newspaper.
“Yes dear?” Hera replied, in a syrupy sweet tone, not missing an iota of nuance.
“I thought the boys and I might go up to Lake Tahoe this weekend, do a bit of skiing and drinking. Did we have anything on the family schedule?”
Hera is irritated. “Why didn’t you check with your personal assistant? who is it this week, Brad? or Carmen? You know that Iris always makes sure to update and sync our calendars. Everything is already on there, you just have to LOOK.” … you moron, goes unsaid but clear in her tone of voice.
He lowers a corner of his newspaper and winks at her. “But sweetie, you KNOW I always trust Iris to keep the calendars pristine/complete/professional/whatever/elephant. She’s an absolute PRO.” He smiles, so close to sincere that someone who hadn’t been married to him for 25 years might even believe him. “I was just wondering if you had anything that hadn’t made it into the calendar yet, or if any of the kids had called and wanted to come over. I would change my plans if any of the kids had made plans to come out?”
Hera barely restrains her eyeroll, maintaining eye contact and elevating one eyebrow slightly. “But DARLING,” she said with only the barest hint of sarcasm, “I do KNOW how much you adore visits from our progeny. I would definitely let you know if any of them had plans to come say hello.”
She tossed her napkin into the middle of her plate, and gestured for Gerardo to come clear the table. “Feel free to have fun playing with Cy and Des. Y’all don’t stay up too late, and drink your water before passing out tomorrow night, okay?” Genuinely irritated now, She rises and stalks over to the crystal vase of lilies and irises on the sideboard, rearranging blooms and pinching off browned petals, collecting them (the petals) in her hand. “I’ll see you when you get back, then. Drop me a text when you have an ETA.”
Glancing back at her obliviously smug husband, she slipped out the doorway before any of the servants could see the frustrated tears fall.

38873 words as of today.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

Yesterday's work. (nanowrimo)

Plot bunny: Artemis and her dogs.
Artemis ruffles the soft ears of the long legged dog panting between her feet. Her keen eyes scan the … (trees in the forest, could have bookend scenes beginning similarly at different points in the story) … house for the inevitable evidence of dog scuffles and minor misbehaviours. she nods and smiles, as Gwen rolls over for belly rubs. The house gnomes are not striking yet, the house looks tidy still. Gwen smiles up, tongue lolling out, as Artemis’s long fingers groom through her coat, pulling a few loose leaves and twigs from their last ramble through the fields. Artemis wonders why Arthur has not put in an appearance, as usually he is not willing (does not hesitate) to forego (demand) his share of any human attention.

She sniffs the air. Deliciousness is in the air, a right and proper British lamb stew in the making. Her one extravagance, a live-in housekeeper. She grins. Otherwise, as she knows well, the house will be a mess (in spite of the gnomes’ best efforts!) and she would be eating a lot of plain fruit, granola, cheese, crackers, and beef jerky. *grimace* She remembers her “bachelor phase” quite well and has no desire to go back to that way of living.

It’s a simple house, her house. Small and neat, with a rambling back yard and kennels along the side, attached to the garage. The puppies are born in birthing boxes in the garage, and once they are old enough to wean, join the pile of dogs in the kennel, until they are trained up properly as hunting and guide dogs. There is always a demand for guide dogs. There is always a demand for hunting dogs. Artemis loves both kinds of training, and her babies only go to clients who have been thoroughly vetted and interviewed and who will treat them as the treasures they are. Family members, but family members trained to help with specific and necessary tasks to make a person’s life BETTER.

Standing, after one last rub to the soft belly under her hand and a soft grip on one silky ear, she walks into the kitchen and greets Mrs. (elephant elephant need a fairy housekeeper name) with a grin and theatrical sniffing of the air. Gwen has followed Artemis into the kitchen, where Arthur has decided to rule today from under the kitchen table. His doggy-face splits in a grin and he scrambles up to jump up on her legs while she laughs and scruffles his ears and scruffs his neck, pulling his smile even wider as he tries to lick her face and she denies him, pushing his nose to the side so he can not get a good lick in. “Dammit dog, it’s a good thing nobody ever comes here to adopt puppies. Nobody would believe that our puppies have any damn training at all after seeing YOU at your worst!” But of course she’s not mad, she’s still laughing, he’s still jumping and trying to love on her the best way he knows how, and the housekeeper has her arms crossed over her apron and is laughing at all of them, even Gwen who is sitting in Good Dog Pose by the doorway, with a panting, smiling face.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

writing to prompt again, a quick little thing

MAUNDER: to mumble; to wander slowly and idly. (Can this apply to how slowly I've been drinking my tea this morning?)

Cy walks slowly along the waterfront, patting his niece’s hand where it is tucked up in the crook of his elbow. So good to have her here with him, they get along so well, essentially solitary people whose business it is to work with groups and survive the elements… Artemis is such a lovely person. She smiles up at him, and leans playfully against him as they approach a lamppost. “Whoa!” he protests. “Have not got my land legs back yet, apparently!” as he bumps her shoulder with his ribcage. She’s so tiny compared to him but she has absolutely no fear in her. And she’s tough like madrone roots, tough like her hiking boots. And yet, she’s not the littlest bit bitter. (what would she have to be bitter about? elephant elephant) They grin at one another as they walk into their favorite bar and get their favorite table. The barmaid slaps two coasters down and confirms: Coffee porter for him, habanero cider for her. When the drinks arrive, they toast and clink: “To family, chosen and blood.” They always toast to the same thing.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

Yesterday I got a good flow going. (nanowrimo excerpt, almost 1900 words)

Uncle Cy understands about her dad. They went to college together and apparently dad was even a bigger jerk with poor impulse control, in his youth. Oy. it is pretty damn bad now, she has difficulty imagining her dad being even MORE immature.

Cy says he’ll meet her at the visitor’s center for the park. it is a pleasant drive up into the Santa Cruz mountains, and a lovely walk from the parking lot into the park. He wraps a rough arm around her shoulders, his heavy canvas coat scraping against her wool jacket. He’s the only relative that treats her like this, like they can rough house a bit and they won’t “mess her up”. she knows she takes after her mother in wanting to look put together and tidy… most of the time. But Athena loves spending time with Cy. He treats her like an adult (why her father and mother can’t understand how to do that she does not know) but doesn’t shy away from hugs, physical affection, hair tousling, that kind of thing. He can also tell, without her saying a thing, when she’s too fragile or upset to play that way. And when she is, he makes sure to treat her more gently, though he doesn’t refrain from touching her, like her siblings do.

it is nice. it is nice to have at least ONE family member she can rely on for hugs and blunt, honest conversation.

They walk, an arm around each other, into the smooth and well manicured park beneath the towering redwood trees. it is a beautiful day, and the needles and leaves underfoot smell sharp and clean. The air has a tang of autumn in it. It catches at the back of her throat when she breathes in deeply. And here, unlike at work or at home, she wants to breathe in deeply. It smells so good. She can distinguish sun warmed crushed pine needles, and the bitter green scent of bay laurel and eucalyptus mixed. A slight floral note comes, she expects, from the small patch of flowers over there in the sunbeam. She doesn’t know what kind of flower it is. Corey would know. Her cousin knows all about the local and imported flowers. Anything that grows in California, Corey knows everything possible it is to know. At least that’s how it seems to Athena. She shrugs beneath her uncle’s arm, and he shakes her lightly.

“you lost in your own head again, there?” She looks up at him with a wry smile. He pats her shoulder with the hand that’s wrapped around her. “you might as well be HERE while you’re here, you know. It is more fun that way.” His tanned and weathered face bends towards her as he drops a kiss on top of her head. there is NOBODY else who does that to her. She loves it. As a tall woman since adolescence, meeting a man taller than her has been a rarity her whole life. A man taller than her who loves and hugs her and kisses her atop her head? rarer than hen’s teeth.

She hugs him sideways and leans her head briefly against his shoulder. “Thanks, Cy. Thanks for dragging me out of the city and getting me out of my own head and everything.” She heaves a sigh, shaking her head slightly. “My dad is being a jerk again and I just needed to get away for the afternoon.” She smiles down at the path as they continue walking. “I am glad you were free for lunch.”

“Anything for my favorite niece, you know that.” The proud smile shows up in his voice, even (when she can’t see his face) with her not looking at him. She darts a smiling glance upward. “I know you say that to my sisters too… but I am okay with us all being your favorite.”

Cy laughs suddenly and loudly. “It is true, you are all my favorites. And I love when you all, or any of you, come to visit. We’ll have to have a family sail before I put the boat in drydock for the winter storms.”

He shakes her gently again, as they start up a slight slope in the path, illuminated by the bright beams slanting through the tall trees. “I am sorry Zee is being a jerk again. I wish I could say he’d get over it, but after many years of experience with his charming and crappy attitude, I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s needed is a giant fish slap upside the head.” Athena snorts involuntarily with laughter as Cy continues. “Kind of like in that superhero movie recently. A cognitive recalibration, they called it.’ Athena flat out giggles. “I am giggling.” she says, holding her hand self consciously in front of her mouth. “You’re the only one who makes me laugh like this.”

“Probably helps that I am one of the few, the proud, the stupid, who continue to be friends with your dad despite his jackassery. I get what you’re going through because I’ve been there too.” He releases her shoulder with a final squeeze to step up high onto the next part of the trail. When he extends his hand to help her up, she takes it and lets him give her a tug. She doesn’t NEED the help, and she doesn’t get huffy with him the way she might have done with any other man… but she appreciates the gesture, coming from him. They stand for a moment to catch their breath and take in the view of the river below.

“Look, Kid.” And who else would call her, a 40 year old attorney practicing international law, a kid? She looks up at him, his hands in his pockets. “You know this, I’ve said it before. You need to live your own life. Your dad has his own stuff to take care of, and to be honest? Your mom does too. They both could stand to have some serious conversations and hash out some of the ancient stuff that’s just continuing the patterns that got established in the very beginning.” He shakes his head and stares out over the river gorge. “None of that nonsense is your fault OR your problem, even if Zee tries to make it so. Maybe you want to spend more time with your friends or your other family, if Zee is making life awkward for you.”
He cocks his head, considering, as he looks back down at her... “Girl, when is the last time you had a REAL vacation?” She looks up at him, wide gray eyes wary. “Don’t give me that, answer the question. Have you had more than a weekend off work in the last two years? Have you turned your cell phone off for more than a night (once it gets charged)? Ever refuse to answer it when your dad or your mom phones you up?” Her guilty glance sideways tells him what he needs to know. “Right then. It is October now. You book yourself a week off, and you go alone or you take a friend with you, and you go someplace new, someplace you’ve never been.” She looks up with that sharp assessing glance he knows she uses on fellow lawyers and board members. “Someplace you’ve always wanted to see. Tokyo or Kyoto, or Moscow, or Anchorage, the boating is superb up there. (He grins.) Boston in the fall maybe. Go shopping in Paris and eat baguettes and coffee for breakfast. Go visit Prague and study architecture for a week. Whatever.”
“It is time you do something for YOU, not for Zee.” His face quirks into a half-smile in profile as he looks away again.
“It is also time that he realizes how valuable you are to him, and how fucked he would be without you covering his ass all the time.” She joins him in a smile, though hers is shyer than his. “Your PA can handle your email and phones while you go. there is nothing huge on your schedule right now, which is probably part of why Zee is being such an ass right now. There;s no crisis for him to get high on, you know your daddy loves him some DRAMA.” She giggles again. “See there (it) she is.there is my smiling girl.” He turns and puts both hands on her shoulders, stepping down the trail till they are eye to eye. “you. you are amazing at what you do. You are competent beyond belief. You put on your armor and pick up your briefcase and you go into battle for him. But all warriors need rest at the end of the battle. And you? You have been working nonstop for entirely too long. We worry about you.” He moves his hands to her cheeks and places a kiss on her forehead. He holds her face a moment, looking into her large clear beautiful eyes.

“let’s hike back, have some lunch, and talk about what you might want to do next.”

She exhales and bumps her forehead into his sternum as she leans forward into his hug. His arms wrap around her and his hands rub her back in long, firm strokes.
She speaks quietly. “I am so damn TIRED, Uncle Cy.” She breathes in the salt and tar and wool smells of him as she leans her cheek on his chest.

“I know, girl, I know.” they stand in silence for a few moments as the sun warms their coats on one side and the shade chills their flesh on the other.

“Let’s get you out of town awhile. Maybe you can go teach that weaving class you started up a few years ago. Get your hands busy and get out of your head.” She raises her head quickly, and he smiles. “or,” he continues, “you could come crew the boat for me for a week? I promise you’d be too tired at the end of the day to worry, fret, or even think.” She raises one eyebrow. “Good point. I remember doing that with the sibs when we were kids, it was the best sleep I ever had, a night on your boat after working on it all day. The sea would rock us all to sleep in those hammocks you had.”

“All right then. Food, plans, let’s grab your sibs and the cousins and start planning a sail. And you start dreaming on where you want to fly away to. You deserve it.”
Athena straightens up, sighing and nodding. “I need it. You’re right.”

They pick their way back down the path, arm in arm, heading back towards the (guest) center visitors center. “I admit,” she says, “that I am NOT looking forward to telling Dad that I am taking a vacation.”

“So don’t tell him,” says Cy. “You’re a woman grown, and the head of your department. You’ve good people working for you, competent people. Let them handle it awhile. It will be FINE.”

She nods, already lost in her head and dreaming of a week of freedom to do what SHE wants to do, see, experience, and try for the first time. They walk the rest of the way in a silence broken only by birdsong and the sound of the water below.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

For NaNoWriMo, and for Robin, who taught me...

Artemis always loves the first few miles of a hike into the forest, the green, and the shadows, and the sunlight, the sweet fresh air. There’s the feel of the earth beneath her boots, the sweat on the back of her neck, the birdsong and the smell of leaves or pine needles being scuffed under her feet. Being in the forest is where she belongs.

She rolls her eyes. It’s slightly LESS magical when you are the leader of a troop of teenage girl scouts taking selfies at every rest stop. Fortunately this particular bunch is considerably less self involved and more cooperative than many groups she’s taken out for hikes and overnights. These girls volunteer to build the fires, to set up camp, to take those stupid army surplus collapsible canvas buckets out to the creek for water, to do the purification testing. Smugly, she thinks, these are some girls who are going to survive the zombie apocalypse, should it ever come to pass. These girls can use shovels to dig latrines or break up dead wood in the forest; they can sharpen buck knives and have learned how to fish and to clean and cook the fish over a fire they have built themselves… These girls are ready to be competent, to take care of themselves and to protect others. Time for them to learn what only she can teach them.

The cache is just where she left it, dry and secure even after a season spent wrapped in oilcloth in a hollow tree. She brings out an (a) hefty armload from the tree, mindful of the packets in the thigh pocket of her cargo pants. The girls are chattering amongst themselves, pleased to have a few hours of, as they see it, free time before dinner and campfire and bed.

They are incorrect, as it will not be “free” time, it will be time dedicated to learning a new craft. A skill that could possibly keep them alive if everything else were to go wrong.

Her lips quirked, amused at her own overly dramatic thoughts. Darling, she said silently to herself, teach them archery because archery is COOL.

strong
labelleizzy

100 things: back to the gym

Yesterday I was due to meet my seester at the gym, we were going to work out together. She had car trouble and had to cancel; I was kind of proud of myself for not finding an excuse not to go, but I already had woken up, gotten dressed, had something to eat (a couple handfuls of Cheerios, but still) and had found my shoes. So when she texted me I decided to just go anyway. I'm at the point where, after having neglected to work out for over 8 weeks, shit HURTS. my lower back has been sore like it used to be, my surgery knee has been tender and a bit wibbly, my shoulder is cranky and crunchy, and my middle back makes cracking noises when I touch my toes.

bad news man.

So I haul ass over there. Took the new car. Weird to feel like "I" fit in with the shiny Audi, Porsche, Prius, etcetera in the parking lot, but I did. I blended. (WAT)

And I go and get on the not the treadmill, but the elliptical trainer, because I wanted to have the option to work my arms, back, and get a bit of a twisting stretch in. I needed it. It felt good.

I got tired and bored pretty quickly. The last few times I have been to the gym I was either meeting my trainer, who definitely keeps me engaged and interested (I am a bit sad she isn't working there anymore), or I've been meeting tshuma, wrenb, or I run into angelkatharine and at least have a bit of a chat. But twenty minutes on the elliptical is considerably less fun when you have nothing to do but be in your brain (now granted, I mentally wrote some more for NaNoWriMo) and nobody to interact with. And I got fatigued after only about six minutes. I blame my not maintaining the habit of regular movement. Expect that there's lactic acid or stress chemicals buildup in my muscles and bloodstream.

(Side note: I know the body excretes waste chemicals in something like six ways: through sweat, tears, piss, shit, and from the genitals via ejaculatory fluid or weeping. that's only five, I wonder if I will remember what the sixth is or if I am misremembering. Point being, I wake up nowadays, sometimes, with my eyes just LEAKING. It's weird and a little disconcerting. But I'm guessing it's because I haven't been working out to a sweat very often recently, so my body has to find another means.)

Anyway, I do make myself do the twenty minutes, and then I go to the foyer where there's exercise balls and foam core rollers and mats, and I start doing some flexibility work for my hips, rolling big slow circles while seated on one of the exercise balls. Felt pretty good, and I was waking up my core muscles too.

And then I see Etty. She's the trainer that my former trainer Tal had told me I might enjoy working with. And we get to talking, and I was *sure* I had sent her an email or a text telling her I had an interest in training together, but she said she never received any such text or email. And I shrug, I don't know if I forgot or not... But it turns out she had an appointment be cancelled for the space that starts in ten minutes, and would I like to work out, gently, as a getting to know you kind of assessment and do we work well together. I'd been debating if I wanted to go in and explore the weights again like I had the last time; and I figure, sure! And she's willing to comp me the hour as we get acquainted. It was like the serendipity fairy came by and sprinkled serendipity dust all over us(me) to get me back into working out regularly!

We have a good getting to know you chat where I fill out the goals for working out worksheet and I find out that Etty also used to teach (and she says Israeli kids don't respect teachers the way kids here do, and I didn't disabuse her of her notion, which was maybe kind, maybe not) but she really likes teaching one on one, so physical training is a good gig for her. I tell her I have joined NaNoWriMo and a little about what it does, and she says, "maybe you should be a writer!"

and I think, maybe I SHOULD be a writer.

And then we go work out a bit, she has me do lunges and squats and moving stretches and checks my form (which is almost like I forgot the million little corrections Tal used to give me, in just over two months) and we talk about how important it is to have correct form, which I couldn't agree more on. I make sure she understands about my surgery leg and the tension from all that adaptation my body had to do while it was injured and uncorrected. And I just realized yesterday that I passed the third anniversary of surgery on Nov. 1, and how good my body feels in retrospect, now. So many little things that really add up. Fuck that first surgeon who tried to tell me that I didn't need surgery, that lots of people do just fine without an ACL, because now I can move and dance and work out and I. DON'T. FUCKING. HURT. ALL THE TIME. Not anymore. Seriously, fuck that guy. I'm so glad I got bk2wto recommend his surgeon, that guy was PHENOMENAL.

(end digression)

so we try me on plank position and i can't hold it long, and I keep shifting around trying to hold it and she asks me to hold still, and I make it about another three seconds before I just FOLD. dammit. welp this is where I am now, just need to know where I am now so I can set goals appropriately and then work to meet them.

and then we try my pushups ability in a couple different form factors, and she puts me in this frame to have me hold myself up and lift my knees up for core work and wow that was hard, so we try it on a weight bench lying down instead, like swimming instead of like bicycling I realized after I was doing it wrong. More core work for me! More EVERYTHING for me. *sigh* Okay. Need a little work to get back where I was. And to meet my goals of being able to do inversions and maybe start doing some circus arts work. Fun, playful goals. I need fun playful goals. And having a smart trainer who understands about teaching, is a damn good thing.

So I signed up for a new package with Etty. We start next Friday morning at ten, and I'm looking forward to it.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

A character has hidden something in plain sight, and is tickled nobody has seen it (#wordsprint)

Dionysos grinned like a cat licking cream from its paws. Nobody else has seemed to notice that subtle little tag he has scratched into the wall beneath the lamp post at the home his parents have up in the Berkeley Hills. For those with eyes to see, it is an invitation. More than an invitation, it is a celebration. D can not wait to see the look on his siblings’ faces when everyone in the know shows up for the party.

Midway through the evening, Athena and Apollo start to notice people who they don’t recognize coming through the gate at the garden party, filtering through the more civilized throngs. More to the point, many of these people are dressed in not garden party kinds of clothes. They look like (Athena shudders delicately) BURNERS. There are boots and hiking sandals at the bottom, veils and scarves and ridiculous hats at the top, and a variety of fabrics intermingled in between: leather, lace, tulle tutus, sarongs, silk, satin, gears and fobs and monocles and OH DEAR the steampunks seem to have arrived as well (think of some of the things Delirium wears in the Sandman scenes of the Deathless, go research that later elephant elephant). These … PEOPLE are mobbing the bar and the waitstaff, eating all the canapes and drinking all the champagne cocktails and demanding more and more. Apollo glances at her, an eyebrow raised in well-bred horror. Artemis is leaned against a pillar with her champagne flute, amused as all get out. Of course she is dressed in such a way (elephant elephant) that a couple of women with … interesting and unnaturally colored hairstyles have come over to have a rather intense conversation and are offering to share the contents of a flask. Apollo would be jealous but he is more interested in feeling INVADED.
“Do you think we can get rid of these persons without causing a scene?” he demanded of Athena in a barely audible whisper.
“If it were MY party, I should say yes” whispered Athena, “but it is not MY party, it is Dionysos’s. I mean LOOK at them, they MUST be the people that go to his shows, and he MUST have invited them!”

Dionysos is wearing the faintest hint of a smirk behind his usual gold-tinged sunglasses, and the colored lights swing and flow all around him, moving with the beat of the music as he DJ’s and blends seamlessly from one song and rhythm to the next. Athena scowls in his general direction because while his music may not be her THING, family is family, and family TRIES to support one another. She knows that usually his face is Buddha-like, lost in concentration and a zen like flow state. He loses himself in the music, usually. All that needs to happen now is something like Dita showing up with an entourage…

“Well, if this isn’t where the party started, it sure is where the party is now?” Athena avoids putting her face in her palm in sheer awkward embarrassment, but it is a damn near thing.

Dita Cypress slinks into their yard, an arm around a gorgeous young man on one side and around a brilliantly laughing incandescent blonde on the other. She unwraps from the one to collect a flute of champagne, gives him a thought provoking kiss that he returns with interest before she turns him, pats his bum, and nudges him into the throng. Arm around the lovely laughing lady at her side, she quirks an eyebrow briefly at the three Olympians (middle aged? hrm how to describe them and I need a family name for Zeus’ direct descendants for this fic, middle generation? I do not know this yet elephant elephant elephant). quirks an eyebrow briefly and flashes a brilliant smile at the three of them before kissing the woman at her side with the same level of interest and focus as she had shown the young man a few moments before, and with a caress to the girl’s cheek and a wink, sends her off into the party as well. Dita waggles her fingers at the trio who really aren’t all that much older than she is, really she is NOT that much younger than they are, how scandalous how DARE she… and she heads toward the podium or dais where Dionysos is holding court or rather is being worshipped by a sea of bobbing, dancing and flailing bodies under the flashing flowing colorful lights.

Athena gestures to one of the waiters to bring her more champagne. She is going to need it.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

The end of my teaching career.

it didn't feel like being crabs in a bucket
too lonely an experience for a plural metaphor.


though definitely there was a dragging down experience:
  • anything exceptional
  • anything experimental
  • anything that broke the status quo


I expected we'd be raising each other up
not pulling someone back to toe the line
I expected us all to reach for the stars
not speak only when spoken to

I didn't realize my teaching internship
landed me in a diploma-mill
churning out inferior product
with very few value-add options

Should I have known better?
I didn't.
I have always been too trusting.

I was sent into the trenches
to build bridges with cardboard
and I was guilty when the bridges failed.

when I asked for lumber they said
"There's no budget for that
You'll have to find that yourself."
And some of them smirked.

I was a hero
but I couldn't see it
all I could see was
muddy trenches and disrespect
for miles in every direction

and when I was discharged
grateful and ashamed
I took my papers and went away
glad and sorrowful
that I was too soft for these wars.

I tend my garden on this faraway hillside
watch the struggle from a distance
climb the cliffs seeking perspective -
and maybe some new way to stop the war.


(this is my entry for this week's therealljidol.)

bunny writer
labelleizzy

that bowl I wrote about

That bowl turned out pretty good!
IMG_20141022_170811
So did the rest of my stuff!
IMG_20141022_144538
IMG_20141022_144526
This bowl, below, was the one that just opened up easily and made itself. It's turned out with a really thick base and walls. It's sturdy, not delicate. (Like me.)
IMG_20141022_170831

bunny writer
labelleizzy

Shibusa, n. "Those externals which soothe and make the spirit content are considered shibumi..." (1)

His hands are strong, blunt and square.
He works in silence, for the most part, letting his actions do the instructing, with bare hints of where students should watch and learn.
From a rounded, spinning lump of clay he pulls a graceful mug shape, smooth and even with thin sides.

The Beginner's class gasps when, after separating the beautiful shape from the wheel, he deliberately slices it in half to show the walls of the mug in cross-section, so thin and even with beautiful lines. We exchange glances. It's so EASY for him, after thirty years of practicing his craft, and we know we will struggle to make items that don't either collapse or else have inch thick walls and bottoms.

Several weeks later, I have enough practice on the wheel to only feel mild envy instead of shock when he demonstrates a technique so far beyond my skills that it might as well be rocket science. Still, I watch in awe as he shapes the clay with skill and ease. I notice my mouth is hanging open in admiration and I just don't care.

Grace, skill, and subtle elegance. Clay worked into every fold of his fingers. I want to be able to do that. I will need many more classes and dozens of hours of practice.

Half-accidentally, I pull a beautiful bowl from a lump of clay. I'm not sure how it happened, because I wasn't thinking. Rather, I was living into the feel of the clay beneath my hands, utterly engaged in the slow and mesmerizing process as it changed and opened up.

Just for that moment, in the best possible way, I lost myself.

The second bowl is more of a struggle. The third bowl stretches and warps and collapses.

The following week we are meant to trim our pots, which means to carve away unnecessary thickness at the base and to shape the "foot", or the pedestal our bowls or mugs rest upon.
The first part of the process is upending our greenware and recentering them on the wheel, then we anchor the piece with evenly placed blobs of soft clay. Then, we start the wheel spinning, and carve away at the underside of the piece to form a pleasing and functional shape.

The first of two bowls that had survived the previous week, the bowl I had lost myself in making, trimmed up like a dream.
The second bowl first refused to center, then once I finally anchored it, spun out of control off the medium-speed wheel at the first touch of the carving tool. Of course this knocks a big ugly chip into the rim. Of course the clay is dense and too dry, and so was the anchor clay.

With help from a teacher, we re-center and re-anchor the bowl, and he lends me his own (properly sharp, with a lovely graceful line) trimming tool. What a difference proper tools make! I trim and smooth the base, until again I am looking glumly at the chipped rim.

My friend suggests I even the chip out so it looks intentional, and carve out more chips for a kind of flower edge. I try this, but I do not love the effect. It is part of the learning process, though, so I plan to take even this sad example through the glazing process.

A week later, I am glazing all my recent work. And now? The weird little too-hard wanna-be flower bowl has called for an experimental double-dip glaze with a drizzle of contrasting color across the overlap place.
IMG_20141015_211150
IMG_20141015_210946

I have my fingers crossed, because these pieces haven't been fired yet, but I think in the end this may turn out to be my favorite piece from taking this six week class.
Not because it was easy, but because it was part of the process.
Making one, I was in the zone; making two, I struggled, then I failed in the making of the third.
With this specific piece? At first I didn't love it, then I was actively angry at it, then I tried to redeem it, then I found a means whereby it could possibly be beautiful.

Working to transform raw or broken things into beauty is what I've strived for my whole life.
Starting with myself.

I don't claim to understand the concept of shibusa (2) or how to determine if something is shibumi (3) or not.

But the older I get, and the more often I try new ways of making things, the more I come to appreciate the beauty in the process, in the struggle, to create. I'm coming to appreciate subtle and nuanced, where once I envied bold and blatant. And I also have come to understand there can be beauty in the imperfections. The creative process, the struggle to find meaning, my life itself are filled with little things gone wrong (and right). What we expect to happen can turn out to be something totally different instead, that may also be wonderful. This is true in life as well as in art.

Redemption, transformation, metamorphosis, and growth come both in big gestures and in small details.
I am not my teacher, with his steady hands, his years of experience, and his refined technique. Still, in my state of Beginner's Mind, I can create something unexpectedly beautiful, or beautifully unexpected.

(1) from http://www.mkdkarate.com/senseis-blog/what-is-shibumi-shibusa-shibui
(2) from http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibui
(3) from http://www.studiokotokoto.com/2013/06/18/shibusa-and-shibui-a-severe-exquisiteness/


This has been my reentry to therealljidol for week 25 (hello again!), and the topic I chose was "shibusa."

thinky thoughts
labelleizzy

emptying some brain dust before writing up the actual contest entry.

I am an artist.
*smirk*
Yeah, and HOW many years has it taken me of Making Things to be willing to say that? Too damn many.
Too many years of judging myself harshly, of getting in my own way, of "saving" art supplies and fabric and my time, energy and engagement for "some other time", some time when I was "worthy" of using them.

*shaking head*

Recently I grokked that destruction is a necessary part of creation.
I must destroy the beautiful clean lines of that shrink wrapped notebook if I am to use the notebook.
To make something useful from that gorgeous kelly green silk, I have to cut into it, not leave it stored up in a box in the garage.
If I cut that t-shirt to fit me, and sew it back together? It will look SO much better on me than if I schlump around in a Men's XXL, no matter how cute the graphic.

I have to tear the paper. I have to write on the canvas. I have to stick my hands in the wet clay and PUSH. I have to get out the hammer and the anvil, the beads and the copper and the pliers and the wire cutters, put my hands on the project and CHANGE THINGS.

.
.
.
I'm going to have to learn and relearn this for the rest of my life, aren't I?
Because it's so easy to sit on my ass and just absorb how amazing everything is, without making my own mark.

Chop wood, carry water. Every day. Enlightenment isn't a one time deal. It's invented and created and realized over and over again.
Because I'm human, and I fall asleep sometimes into life but I don't WANNA walk through the world asleep!

I have to keep waking myself up. It's not easy to stay awake to this truth right now.
I'm largely contented, and let's face it: my life is really simple, as Scalzi says, I'm playing in Easy Mode, despite the ways I am weird and not mainstream.

so here is my goal: do one thing everyday that makes me uncomfortable. Destroy something. Make something new from the remains. Speak truth somewhere that it needs spoken. LEAVE MY HOUSE more often, god can I get out of my comfort zone more, please? I won't learn very damn much staying at home reading and writing on the computer. Poke at people until they agree to do things with me.

Take some damn risks. Do something new. Open up wider. Say yes more often, solicit chances to say yes more often.

Say Yes. Get my hands dirty. Get off my ass and MOVE.

Writing is one of my art forms, that's why I've been loving this writing competition so damn much. Someone ELSE is kicking my ass by giving out prompts that I have to challenge myself to meet. It has forced me to try thinking and writing about totally new things, and I've been taking the chance to write in totally new styles as well.

Make the thing. Do the thing. Wake up, wake up WAKE UP!

bunny writer
labelleizzy

The lowest I had ever sunk... (shameful confessions)

This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.
*wince*

I didn't have what I would have thought of as a "happy childhood". Suffice it to say that there was enough pain in my life that I chose to live almost entirely in books from a very early age. Also I think it's fair to say that I had a lot of difficulty making friends even under the best of circumstances. The neighborhood kids and I didn't get along, and where I'm what we now call "geek", they were all what we'd call "jocks". Family dynamics at home weren't "nourishing", and I spent almost all the time I wasn't in school, alone. That didn't change till junior high, when I finally found a safe place to make friends of my own, friends that my sister didn't know about and couldn't mercilessly tease me about.

It will be a surprise to no one that I was regularly bullied almost every day in junior high school.

So, I was humongously awkward. An ugly duckling in so very many ways, lacking in social skills and without confidence to make proper conversation with new people (which was *everyone*) at my new high school.

Somehow, eventually, I did find a few people who warmed up to me, starting with one friend who'd just moved into town and didn't know anyone else, and gradually getting to know some people I'd known slightly in junior high. I still had huge amounts of anxiety around social interactions. Thinking of my freshman year in high school is enough to bring the memory of metallic-tasting panic to the back of my throat, even twenty-five thirty years later.

(God, this is difficult to write.)

There was this small group of what I would now call geeky guys. Robert, Mark, and Erik.

My lack of experience in any kind of social interaction, my extreme anxiety (that I was fighting to overcome on a daily basis), and the, well, let's face it, neglectful home environment, all meant that it was easy for me to mistake attention of any kind for positive attention. My sister and I were used to hitting, punching, hair pulling and scratching each other on a regular basis; my dad was either emotionally distant, physically not there, or verbally abusive; Mom had her hands full juggling the whole household and a full-time job, and my brother was just a kid, four years younger than me...

Any kind of attention, really, was a novelty, and nothing I was used to at thirteen. (I was really just thirteen when I did this. Someday maybe I can forgive myself.)

These geeky guys began to pay me attention. It felt ... familiar. Trading verbal barbs and sarcastic jabs, was second nature. It was how we talked at home.
It did eventually get to be mean, moved from notes in lockers to them learning my combination and leaving things for me. Once a pile of brown apple cores. Once, actually, a dead bird. *shudder* (If I knew then what I know now...I would have done some things differently.)

Once, I returned to my locker, and my books were neatly piled as though on a bookshelf, upright. Which I knew full well was not how I had left them... With a sinking feeling of dread, I noticed wet white glue, and sawdust, all over the bottom of my locker. I guess I was lucky to have found it all before the glue dried and set, in retrospect.
(In retrospect, I now feel a blazing and righteous anger at Robert, the boy who I knew even then was the ringleader.)

At this distance, I've no idea what the chronology of events was, where in the school year these different things fell. I distinctly remember, however, that it was a hot day on the afternoon I missed the school bus home and realized I had to walk four miles home with a heavy backpack and crappy shoes.

I had had a rotten day to begin with and missing the bus felt like the cherry on top of a shit sundae.
This was in the early 80's, before anyone thought to carry a water bottle around with them regularly, and it didn't take long walking in those crappy shoes under the Sacramento late spring/early summer sunlight before I was hot, sweaty, thirsty, and even MORE cranky than I had started out.

I was turtling HARD. Head down, armor up, not noticing the world around me, stewing in my own misery, when someone goes by on a bike.
... and turns around, and heads back towards me, panting.

Pulling somewhat out of my turtle shell, I glance up.
It's Erik. Little blond dude on a bike. He's sweating. I wish *I* had a bike. I'd be home already instead of only halfway home.

He says, "Here!" and holds out a water bottle. There's beads of condensation on the sides, it's obviously nice and cold, it's everything I wish I could have but I have learned that NOBODY does nice things for me, period, unless they're going to snatch it away and yell "PSYCHE!" afterwards.

Something COLD and MEAN shifts in my chest.

I question his motives to his face. I say mean things about the water bottle even, that it's probably dirty. Wide-eyed, he stammers something about he just bought it at the gas station when he saw me walking home and thought I looked hot and thirsty. (He wasn't wrong.) The MEAN in me doesn't let up, and I think I say something about he probably already drank from it and he probably has herpes and as it leaves my mouth just as MEAN as I can make it, the MEAN in me shifts, twists and oozes away, leaving a horror in my soul. Did I actually SAY that?

His face slams shut. His eyes get dark, his jaw juts out, he jams the bottle (delicious cool bottle, that I wanted so much, I want now to say "yes, please", I want to erase the last ten minutes SO BADLY) back in his backpack, wheels his bike around and rides off.
.
.
.
Erik never spoke to me again.
There are things for which there is no apology possible.

And that is the lowest I have ever sunk. That is the person I have striven to make amends for, *shakes head* with basically my entire life.
One single moment of intentional, focused cruelty in a time of my own soul's pain.

I was in the gutter for so long. It took me many years to be able to know that there even WERE stars, much less figure out how to see them.

I'm sorry, Erik. I wish I could have seen your kindness for what it was, instead of what I expected.



This has been my entry for therealljidol, Last Chance Idol, week 3. The prompt is "We are all in the gutter."

You can read my colleagues in Last Chance Idol, and vote for me (and some of the other wonderful writers there), HERE.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

Crossing the T's and Dotting the I's

I never used to think of myself as an artist, which is funny and sad on a number of levels. I had this image of myself as a fuckup, someone who does stuff half-assed, has trouble with completing projects, and I wouldn't let myself justify costuming or calligraphy or writing as "artistic". I'm almost entirely self-taught in those realms, which was part of the problem.

Finally I decided I could call myself an artist once I'd become a part of the Waldorf teaching tradition. My program follows one of Steiner's precepts, that the Teacher as Artist is a goal to strive toward. And it's made clear that the artistic technique is not just meant for the Art of Teaching, though it's a part. I struggled hard to make my work "artistic" as my teachers requested, characterizing rather than defining, showing the gesture or direction of an idea rather than delineating it.

I also struggled with comparing myself to my classmates. I have always been an enthusiastic maker of images, but I had never had much instruction with regard to technique, while half my classmates produced what seemed like masterworks in comparison to my own clumsy efforts.

The first teacher training art class I felt at home at, wasn't even an *art* class.
The second half of the High School Mathematics curriculum taught to the Waldorf Teachers-in-training is Geometry, including the artistic component of Geometric Drawings.
There is a real peace in learning how to be precise. We were explicitly taught the steps and stages for any geometric construction. Bless Patrick for a meticulous teacher, breaking down the techniques with ease and clarity, having us practice until we understood.

24PointConnection GeomDrawing
(image of a 24-point geometric web)

Once I began the process of drawing a geometric figure, I found myself in this incredibly clear-headed space. Like a life-long weight of self-judgment had lifted. Liberating!
I can't even really explain how it felt, what it did to my head, to my sense of self, to be able to grok clearly and completely how to construct this precise and beautiful thing.

flowery fun with geometry
(image titled "Flowery fun with geometry" using many interlocking circles and colors and shading to create a flower shape.)

Being able to create these complex and meticulous drawings sent me into a very Zen space. My head quieted, my focus narrowed, and all there was in the world was me, my hands, the paper, tools, and pencil. Completely "in the Zone", completely in flow-state, I very rarely wanted to stop or even pause in the process. It seemed *easy*, and was definitely FUN.

I had a paradigm shift. No longer could I tell myself "it's too hard, I can't do that, too complicated, too detailed, I'm not ____..." where ___ could be anything from "that kind of artist" or "precise" or "clever like that" or "skilled like that" or even the base canard, "good enough". Those evil little brainweasel voices couldn't be heard over the all-consuming focus on the process of construction, the flow that somehow seemed so easy in such an unexpected place after so long striving after it.

SimpleGeomFlowrWNotes
(image titled "simple geometric flower with notes", seven interlocking circles filled in with blue, pink and green.)

Why am I not doing geometric drawing all the time? It's lovely, it's satisfying, and there are thousands of possible projects to practice.
Why NOT do a thing I enjoy, and that brings me peace? Why NOT enjoy exploring my skills, expanding my image of myself to include calm precision and creation of beauty?

Every day we grow and change. We all transform ourselves into new people, a little at a time. Sometimes the transformation is consciously done, sometimes simple passage of time creates the transformation without us thinking much about what we're growing into, what we're becoming.

If the time will pass regardless, why NOT be intentional about what you choose to do with your transformation?

I wanna get GOOD at the art. And I know it doesn't just happen, I know I have to work at it. I have to LET myself get good at it. I have to be willing to fail and to suck and to throw stuff away sometimes. I have to go GET what I need to get better, I have to take lessons, write scripts for comics, watch YouTube instructional videos, practice little chibi drawings, start doodling on my tablet computer, and with the watercolor paints, and just allow myself to practice and experiment.

And I have to remember that nothing worth having is birthed all of a sudden.

ComplexGeomFlowr1
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 1", initial shading and coloring)

Art in particular is part of a slow and steady process, a conversation between me and the paper, or the clay, or the paint or fabric or the computer screen.

complexGeomFlowr2
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 2", intermediate stage of shading and coloring)

Art for art's sake is fine, I think it's a worthy goal just to bring more beauty into the world, to provoke conversation or thought or change. Art has the ability to wake people up to something they may be unaware of in the world.

complexGeomFlowr3
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 3", completed shading and coloring)

Art can serve an even higher purpose though. Art can bring a chance for transformation and healing, rest and respite, community and peace.
All of these are things that the artistic process has taught me, has brought to me.

This, this making things, making art, changing one thing into another thing by channeling ideas and images THROUGH ME, this is one way I can contribute to the world.
And to make this contribution, means that I can give myself permission to learn these skills properly, to practice the crafts that I love: writing, art, communication, teaching, healing. I can give myself permission to practice them until I am properly good at those skills and can then use them out in the world to the end result of community and healing.

There's so much pain in the world and not nearly enough beauty. Too much loneliness and not nearly enough love, compassion, and beauty.

I can do this. I can remember, and use as fuel for the work, the fact that the things I HAVEN'T done are the things I have most regretted.

Face the Fear and Do It Anyway.

bunny writer
labelleizzy

what I need

"Fair Weather" by Dorothy Parker

This level reach of blue is not my sea;
Here are sweet waters, pretty in the sun,
Whose quiet ripples meet obediently
A marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine. that humbly laves
Untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

So let a love beat over me again,
Loosing its million desperate breakers wide;
Sudden and terrible to rise and wane;
Roaring the heavens apart; a reckless tide
That casts upon the heart, as it recedes,
Splinters and spars and dripping, salty weeds.


I've needed this for a long time. The last time I could be consumed by something, overwhelmed and delighted by something, had to fight with something and getting my choler up, was when I was struggling and working to teach Reading and Drama back in 2006-2008.

It doesn't have to be a love affair in the conventional sense. It doesn't have to be a PERSON. It could be a job, an idea, some issue I can be passionate about...

I need something to fight with, to strive with, or I'm only half-alive. I've been too scairt to say so, but my life has been too EASY. It's beautiful, it's rewarding, this life, but in a lot of ways it's simple. Manageable. Civilized.

Tomorrow I will take some craft supplies and camp out until my car's servicing is done, making stuff the whole time if I can.

That's one.