Thursday, September 27, 2012

30 Days, Days Three Through Eight

That's right: My Little Pony Princess Celestia. 

Now that I've posted the third of three parts about my retreat, as promised here's an update to my 30 Day Creativity Challenge project. I'm not sharing everything I've done (but have listed the dates/day number/topic), especially the bits I've written; some things I think I'll only share with my cohorts of this challenge, and other bits I might not share at all. I welcome your comments, always. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012- Day #3= Tablescape.

I had a bit of trouble with this one as I kept thinking about food, which led to me remember that I don't really have a table at which to eat; I mostly sit at my DIY counter top bar, and weather permitting I sit outside on my tiny dollhouse deck in my red plastic Adirondack chairs, or I'll often just stand at the pink Formica counter top. So I walked around my tiny dollhouse, looking for a place to stage my food for the day (um...trail mix, coffee. That's it.), when I spied my journal on the bedside tabletop. See what I did there? 

Probably more important to me than food right now, my nightly bedside journaling has proven to be an immense and comforting outlet for me. So it seems only fitting that my books and journals be my image for this day's challenge.

This is what I see every night before I try to sleep- that beat up table, that stack of books, that lampglow, that plainly dressed bed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012- Day #4= Best Friend(s).

This is where I wish I had curated the list of challenges a bit more harshly. "Best Friend?" What am I, twelve? Ugh. I was feeling incredibly low and frustrated that day, and while I had friends to use as sounding boards, I couldn't pick just one to call "best." I also didn't have the words to explain any of those people without sounding like Stuart Smalley. So I went for a run to try and get some headspace.

I ran through the park, along the shore of Lake Michigan, legs pumping faster than they needed to be, music helping set the tone of my thoughts and the pace of those legs. Sitting outside after my run, I was drinking coffee from a treasured mug from a "best," and it dawned on  me that my Best Friends that day were all right there: music, running (with my favorite threadbare socks, even), and strong, hot coffee with cream. Those are the items I needed that morning, those are the items that helped me get dressed and go to work, those are the items that gave me a bit of strength. If that doesn't describe a Best Friend(s), I don't know what does.

Thursday, September 13, 2012- Day #5= A Favorite Place.

Another hard one! Challenge, indeed. I though about my favorite places- my little rental dollhouse, my parents' house, the beach-any beach, anywhere with my friends and laughter, or anywhere that made me warm all over and brought me joy. As I added more and more places to my list of favorites, I quickly came to the conclusion that my favorite Favorite Place was a feeling of joy and contentment rather than an actual, physical place on a map. And so I decided to describe some moments or scenes that, when I have them in my present thoughts as either memory or fantasy, I am transported. But the picture I'm posting here to go with these words is someplace I recently fell in love with, despite it literally being my back yard for the past 16 years.

A Favorite Place

The warmth of the sun on my bare skin, the sound of the water breaking on the shore, the stillness of the air.

The smell you catch in the grocery store that has you looking around for your grandmother, or mother. It is a certain perfume, or a mixture of garlic and coffee and dish soap from the kitchen, or (I don't know what other words to use).

The darkness of a navy-black sky, with swarms of stars punctuated by the brightest, closest constellations.

The sound of a laugh or a cough or the baritone of a voice you swear is your father’s, but it cannot possibly be, because he is five hundred miles away, asleep in his recliner or out fishing the Hennepin Canal for blue gill and crappie and bass and solitude.

The happy, floating, invincible feeling between a first and fourth vodka gimlet.

A lover’s arm across your body, or the linger of a kiss from their mouth in the crook where your shoulder and neck meet.

The smiles captured in a photograph when your children were smaller, happier, and unconcerned.

Three weeks ago, your Life swirling around, when you had no reason to be anything other than unconcerned.

A song that links to a memory of a place and time and another life and a person you used to be and whom you are grateful to have grown from because it means you have become who you are right now.

Friday, September 14, 2012- Day #6= Favorite scene from a book.

Saturday, September 15, 2012- Day #7= Favorite scene from a movie.

Sunday, September 16, 2012- Day #8= Self Portrait (#2 of 3).

I love this photo for a number of reasons: 1) It is my favorite part of my body, my neck/collar bones, shoulders, decollete; 2) I had just had a day so profoundly needed that I didn't want it to end, and so I love that this is a memento of that day; 3) I love the coloring of this shot, the way the flash of the camera illuminated my body and the room and caught all the right angles to highlight.

I gotta tell ya: even though I intended to use this challenge as a fire starter for my visual imagery/art, my writing has been front and center in my head, making my hands ache from wanting to scratch out the words on legal pad yellow paper before transforming them to computer bits. I've dug out books from my library that I haven't touched in years because of this challenge, and they have helped me focus and write and re-write; reading good writing helps you become a better writer, I'm convinced. The margins of my pages are just as filled as the spaces between the blue lines. For reference, some of those books are : A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver, The Woman Lit by Fireflies by Jim Harrison, and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro. Although I've always loved a well-crafted novel, short stories are my favorite things to read. 

I'll post again soon regarding this challenge, something I've written, and/or maybe even something I've drawn. Until next time, friends: read, draw, doodle, write, daydream, DO.

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