I love that I am still visited by epiphanies.
I have suddenly discovered that I don’t care if the art I create is what I envisioned, or good, or if I have an opportunity to share it with anyone, or what other people might think of it.
Art is my opportunity to spend time with the beauty I see and hear and smell and touch in the world.
Funny, I’ve known this about writing since I could hold a book, and a pencil. Other forms of expression have been foreign to me though. In part that is because I grew up in an environment where the materials needed to pursue skills in self expression in “legitimate” ways like drawing, painting or music, were too costly to be available to me, or my siblings. Words, now words we could make our own, we could shape and form them, send them out to interact with the universe, see them fly into the distance, die in silence, and on very special occasions return to us, having resonated with another human being. We didn’t need money, or have to travel in the social circles of privilege to gain access to this art form, it was there. It is my Mom who gave us words. She read or recited to us every night, mostly poetry, sometimes she sang to us. Her Mother, my Granny, also read to us every night when we were with her. Their voices have followed me all the days of my life. As children we experienced wealth, and only felt our overt poverty when exposed to the ignorance and greed of the social environment around us.
I fear the personal power of words is now being taken from the poor, as technology dumbs down the population, discouraging bonding between humans, preventing the formation of communities as youth increasingly seek that 15 minutes of fame. But I digress.
On Monday of this week, on a mundane shopping trip to purchase food items, I spied some inexpensive Christmas Cactus plants for sale. I bought one. When I got it home I removed the bright plastic that wrapped itself around the pot, and placed the pot in a green vase, which I then placed near the cafe curtains in the front window. As I sit in my comfortable easy chair, laptop in lap, I find myself frequently glancing up, to soak in the simple beauty of the plant. I notice the change in the blooms day by day; the dance of the two little flies that came stowed away in its wide flat leaves; the ever changing quality of the silhouette as morning lamps give way to dawn which slips away at the end of the day delivering the outlines to where they began. And I find that I want to draw it, photograph it, spend intimate time with it. The process is the thing, the result is an undisclosed and unimaginable byproduct.
I am having the most peculiar day. I feel as if I have been tossed into a rock tumbler for the day. I lay awake last night until 2:00 a.m., at which time I arose and by turns began to putter about on the computer, did some reading, and sat quietly looking at the Christmas Cactus. At about 3:30 a.m. I went back to bed and listened to Attila snoring for an hour or more. The next thing I knew it was 6:00 a.m. and Attila was calling to me to wake up. After Attila left I completely lost track of time, finally remembering to eat my cold breakfast at noon, which was a bowl of oatmeal I had cooked at 8:00 a.m this morning, still sitting on the counter with a spoon at the ready beside it. The mail arrived while I was eating, forcing me to get dressed, in order to go out of doors to fetch it, as I was still sitting in my pyjamas. Forgetting to eat is unusual for me these days, although when I was younger and working on my PhD, I would forget to eat most meals, usually only getting around to eating when I prepared and served my girls their evening meal.
I have completed my Christmas shopping online, and most of it has been delivered to Mist Cottage, although there are a few items yet to arrive. I’ve decided that my grandchildren live in such comfortable circumstances that no gift that we could afford would ever seem magical to them. So I purchased for them gifts that I would have treasured as a child, which has a certain degree of magic for me regardless of how invisible the gifts end up beside the wealth of toys showered on the children by their parents, and the other, more affluent, grandparents. I have never had a natural feel for consumerism, and have never understood what possessions would delight my children, and now my grandchildren, so that I fear that even were we to have an open ended budget I would miss the mark. All we can offer besides our extremely modest material gifts (books that Attila and read when we were their age), are smiles and hugs and our time and genuine love and delight in their existence, which they seem to like more than our material offerings anyway.
Date: 11:00 AM EST Thursday 1 December 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Dew point: 1.4°C
Wind: WSW 30 gust 47 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
“Good taste is the enemy of creativity.”
1881 – 1973